Learn about the Programs
Mystic Aquarium’s intern program is designed to provide college students and recent college graduates with a dynamic educational opportunity while simultaneously providing career experience. Our unique program combines independent project research, public educational outreach, and work experience in the department of choice; all under the guidance of an aquarium supervisor. We accept 1-3 interns per semester in each department, allowing a close working relationship between intern and accomplished aquarium staff.
The internship program reflects our mission, “to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean planet through conservation, education, and research.” Internships are available fall, spring and summer in most departments throughout our institution, allowing students of all academic majors to experience the unique character of the aquarium and enhance their personal and professional development.
Internship Fields – Click to learn about each program!
Human Resources | Joint Internship in Aquaculture | Pinniped and Beluga Whale Husbandry | California Sea Lion Husbandry | Penguin Husbandry | Fish and Invertebrate Husbandry | Reptile and Amphibian Husbandry | Dive Operations Internship | Animal Rescue Program | Water Quality Lab | Research | Education and Conservation | Media and Public Relations | Marketing | Digital Media | Development & Special Events Intern | Other Departments
Carefully review all of the Internship Requirements and Instructions. Complete the Internship Application. Be sure to provide us with the best e-mail and phone number for contacting you. Select a first and second choice internship. (For the Spring and Fall semesters a third choice may be selected.) See the list of internship opportunities on the initial internship webpage: e.g., 1st choice: Fish & Invertebrate Husbandry, 2nd choice: Penguin Husbandry. Acceptance Requirements The student must be enrolled in or recently graduated from college in order to participate. Internships are open to both undergraduate and graduate students. If the student’s college offers credit for internships, it is the student’s responsibility to arrange for the credit. Mystic Aquarium does not/cannot provide any sort of financial compensation, housing, or medical insurance.
If you have any questions about the Intern Program, please contact us at 860.572.5955 ext. 306.
Application packet deadlines:
Spring semester: September 30
Summer semester: January 31
Fall semester: May 31
Mystic Aquarium seeks an unpaid intern to assist the Human Resources department with special projects and day-to-day activities. This internship will give the student valuable, real-world experience. Well-suited candidates should have an interest in human resources. Students should be currently enrolled at the college level, or be recent graduates, and plan to pursue a career in a related field. Candidates must be reliable, have excellent communication skills, and have the ability to succeed in a team environment. Each intern, under the guidance of a human resources staff member, will complete a project over the course of the semester. This is an unpaid position with a flexible schedule based on the candidate’s availability, and may be completed for college credit based upon the college’s guidelines. This experience is invaluable for a person looking for a career in administration, business management, or human resources!
Joint Internship in Aquaculture
Mystic Aquarium has partnered with the Marine Science Magnet High School of Southeastern Connecticut to offer a Joint Internship in Aquaculture. The Joint Intern will learn aquaculture techniques from experienced aquarists during a two-week training period in the Mystic Aquarium’s Fishes & Invertebrates Department. For the remainder of the semester, the Joint Intern will be based at the Marine Science Magnet High School, where he/she will conduct:
Aquaculture Operations: Phytoplankton culture; zooplankton culture; broodstock fish management, conditioning, and spawning; egg incubation; larval fish rearing; growout; system maintenance; and water quality monitoring
Aquaculture Research: Literature review; experimental design, data collection & analysis
Aquaculture Education: Presentations for students of the Marine Science Magnet High School, as well as Mystic Aquarium staff and volunteers; and design and implementation of laboratory activities for students of the Marine Science Magnet High School
The Joint Intern will participate in Mystic Aquarium’s
Intern Education Program: Orientation, weekly career development seminars, at least one intern social, and semester-end project presentation and evaluation
Research and Veterinary Services Department: Journal Club, Ridgway Research Seminar Series, research and data progress meetings
Eligibility: The candidate must hold a Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) in a related field (e.g., Aquaculture, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, Marine Science, Zoology, etc.). The candidate may be either a recent college graduate, having received his or her BS or BA within the previous two years, or the candidate may be a current graduate student, actively enrolled in an academic program in a related field leading to a Master of Science, Master of Arts, Doctor of Philosophy, or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.
Pinniped and Beluga Whale Husbandry
Interns will work closely with trainers to assist with food preparation, record keeping, exhibit maintenance and enrichment for the aquarium’s collection of Steller sea lions, harbor seals, northern fur seals, spotted seal and beluga whales. Interns must have a flexible schedule, work 5 days a week, and be able to life 50 pounds.
Assist staff with preparing diets for collection animals
Cleaning and maintenance of exhibits and back-up areas
Assist with enrichment
California Sea Lion Husbandry
The Foxwoods Marine Theater staff feeds, trains, and cares for the Aquarium’s collection of California sea lions. The staff also performs during daily presentations educating the public about the species.
Assist staff with preparing diets for California sea lions
Cleaning and maintenance of exhibits and back-up areas
Assist with environmental enrichment for California sea lions
Assist with public presentations
Assist with the training of husbandry/show behaviors
Assist husbandry staff and veterinary staff with medical procedures
“Observations on the Effects of Enrichment and Medication on a Stereotypic Behavior in a Juvenile Female California Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus)”
“Administering Environmental Enrichment to Juvenile Male California Sea Lions (Zalophus californianus)”
Penguin interns must have a flexible schedule and work 5 days a week 7:30 to 4:00. Must be able to lift 50 pounds. Interns will be working with our collection of African penguins to assist with food preparation, vitamin dispersal, record keeping, exhibit maintenance, enrichment, basic husbandry care and feeding of our colony. Interns may also be asked to participate in training, media opportunities and in encounter programs.
Assist staff with preparing diets
Cleaning and maintenance of exhibits and back-up areas
Assist Husbandry staff and veterinarians with medical procedures
Assist with the training of husbandry behaviors
Fish and Invertebrate Husbandry
The Department of Fish and Invertebrates is responsible for system maintenance on exhibit and holding systems, animal feeds and maintaining clean work areas. This is accomplished through daily maintenance of systems, detailed analysis of specimens and careful data recording.
Feeding of the fish and invertebrate collection
Maintenance of aquariums (algae scrubbing, water changes, water monitoring, filter maintenance, H2O chemical analysis, etc.) under aquarist supervision
Cleaning back-up areas and equipment
Exhibit plumbing and life support operation
Daily checks and record keeping
Analysis of trace elements in a live coral reef exhibit
Operant conditioning of an octopus, Octopus dofleini
Elasmobranch gut transit study
Reptile and Amphibian Husbandry
Under the direction of Fish and Invertebrates, interns will feed and maintain the exhibits and holding tanks for the reptiles, amphibians and insects within our collection.
Feeding the reptile, amphibian and insect collection
Maintenance of terrariums (scrubbing, water changes, water/air monitoring, filter maintenance, water analysis) under supervision
Cleaning of food-prep and other back-up areas
Assistance with new exhibit construction and collection of specimens
Life support operations
Possible assistance with fish and invertebrate care and husbandry
Assist with the development of the new frog and reptile exhibit
Development of new reptile and amphibian husbandry care and research
Hands-on exhibit building
Acquiring and researching animals for the new exhibits
Development of standard operating procedures
Dive Operations Internship
The Mystic Aquarium has an opportunity for a dive operations intern. Interns will learn to assist the Dive Safety Officer run daily dive operations. Interns will be trained to provide daily support to the staff and volunteer divers both above and below the water. Through hands-on training our intern will become competent in the care and maintenance of our dive equipment and will gain experience about maintaining aquarium exhibits.
This internship is geared towards those interested in Aquarium Husbandry and running a Dive Safety Program through an Aquarium, University, or Research facility.
Prerequisite to Apply:
– Preferred Divemaster Scuba Certified or above (AI, Instructor etc.)
– At least 50 logged dives in varying conditions
– CPR/AED/O2 certification preferred
Applicants must be dependable, have excellent communication skills, be able to regularly lift at least 50lbs, and be comfortable speaking with the public in formal and informal settings.
Applicants are expected to pass a physical, swim test, and scuba skill assessment for the position.
The application deadline for this internship ONLY is February 28, 2017.
Animal Rescue Program
Mystic Aquarium responds to reports of live and dead marine mammals and sea turtles along the shores of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Fishers Island, N.Y. A rehabilitation facility is operated for pinnipeds, and occasionally cetaceans and sea turtles. Interns should be working toward a degree in marine biology, veterinary medicine or a related field. Recent graduates seeking experience in these fields are accepted. There is a minimum requirement of 40 hours per week. Interns must be motivated and responsible and have computer experience, organizational and communication skills, and the ability to work well with others. The duration of the internship varies by season (12 weeks for the summer; 16 weeks for the spring; 16 weeks for the fall).
Work with both live and dead pinnipeds, cetaceans and sea turtles. Work may be done under extremely adverse weather conditions.
Assist in the collection of Level A data for the NOAA Fisheries Service
Assist in rescue and salvage responses
Participate in post-mortem work and necropsies
Assist in care for animals undergoing rehabilitation
Assist in weekly seal physicals
Complete a project for the animal rescue program
Composting: An Eco-Friendly and Cost Efficient Mortality Disposal Method by Melissa Wands
Evaluating cortisol levels in harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) pups undergoing rehabilitation by Jackman Eschenroeder & Robyn Lee
Cross-Seasonal Nutritional Study of Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina) Pup Formula from 2009-2012 by Melinda Kilty
Assessing Public Awareness and Interest in the Seal Rescue Clinic Display by Meghana Pendruthi
Water Quality Lab
The Water Quality Lab staff works closely with the Life Support Technicians in order to maintain exceptional water quality in all aquatic exhibits at Mystic Aquarium ensuring proper habitats for all animals.
Perform all tests required to maintain critical parameters in marine mammals pool systems
Perform all tests required to maintain critical parameters in fish and aquatic invertebrate exhibits
Monitor all chemical feed pumps
Record keeping and data entry
Assist with ensuring compliance with state discharge permits
Our research team conducts research in many aspects of marine animal health, husbandry, ecology, and conservation. This is accomplished through detailed analysis of behavior, specimens, data records and a combination of field, in-house, and laboratory-based research projects that focus on animal census, behavior, ecology, infectious disease, neuro-immunology, and physiology.
Videorecord, observe, describe and analyze animal behavior
Prepare chemical solutions and biological reagents
Assist with specimen collection
Management of biological specimens
Assist with biological assays and experiments
Data entry and database management
Data analysis, table and graph construction
Data collection of marine ornamental fish industry contacts in the Northeast
Description and quantification of beluga whale behavior
Description and quantification of fish behavior
Analysis of hydroacoustic surveys of forage fish at sub-tropical reefs
Video census of pelagic reef piscivores
Identification of rare Caribbean reef fish and assessment of
Ecological exploration of submarine canyons and seamounts for
conservation and management
Validation of an automated hematology analyzer for use with cetacean
and pinniped blood
Gut passage rates in multiple elasmobranch species
Health related research of Chukchi Sea and Bristol Bay belugas
Health assessment of wild bottlenose dolphins
Education and Conservation
Education and Conservation department internships offer valuable real world, on the job experience in marine life education. Learning opportunities for interns include increased knowledge of marine science topics, marine conservation issues, curriculum design, activity development and implementation, teaching, and classroom management skills. Candidates must be reliable, have excellent communication skills, enjoy working with people of all ages, and have the ability to succeed in a team environment. Each intern, with an education staff mentor, will complete a project during their internship. These are unpaid positions with flexible schedules based on the candidate’s availability and may be completed for college credit based on the college’s guidelines. This experience is invaluable for a person looking for a career in education or marine science!
Assist Aquarium teachers in teaching classroom and field programs for students of all ages.
Travel with Aquarium teachers to present outreach programs at local schools.
Present public programs within the Aquarium.
Assist with the design and preparation of class materials.
Whenever possible, teach portions of Aquarium classes.
Positions available include working with early childhood, school, summer camp or public conservation programs
Development of unit: “Exploring the Titanic”
Activities developed for schools to use while on an aquarium fieldtrip
Sustainability audit of our facility
Website enhancement to include content on sustainable fishing, protected marine areas, invasive species and aquaculture.
Development of the concept and construction of a “Touch Box”; incorporating a tactile experience for visitors.
Media and Public Relations
The media and public relations department is responsible for media relations, social media platforms, website management and production of the organization’s tri-annual member magazine, annual report and monthly e-newsletter. We are seeking an efficient, motivated intern that can work independently when needed. Ideal candidates are pursuing a course of study in public relations or communications, are creative, have strong oral and written skills and have the ability to interact professionally with media, the general public and aquarium staff.
The media and public relations intern will assist with media events, social media platforms, copy writing, organizing the aquarium’s photo library, online event calendar listings, participating in strategic brainstorming and administrative tasks.
The Marketing Department coordinates community relations activities, advertising, conducts marketing studies and creates special events. Mystic Aquarium’s Marketing Department seeks a motivated intern. Ideal candidates area pursuing a course of study in marketing or communications, are creative, have strong oral and written skills and have the ability to interact professionally with media, the general public and aquarium staff.
The marketing intern will assist the department’s staff in event planning, writing copy for marketing materials and website, maintaining the Aquarium’s website, organizing the Aquarium’s photo library, participating in strategic brainstorming and administrative tasks.
The marketing department is seeking a talented individual to join our Digital Media and Production team during the spring and summer to assist with digital content development, archiving, graphics packages and other day to day activities as needed. The right candidate will have some experience with the following software and hardware:
Avid Media Composer
Final Cut 7 and X
Final Cut Server (Assist with organizing and archiving highlight footage and broll)
Adobe Creative Suite
Mac and PC systems
Sony HDV Camera and deck
Proficiency in live productions both online and studio are preferred with camera assistance in the field on an as needed basis. We are looking for an enthusiastic team player who will join our team.
Schedule is flexible. Applicants must be available a minimum of two days each week. Interested individuals should send an application, cover letter, resume, transcripts, letter of recommendation, writing sample and other supporting portfolio and /or reel material.
Development & Special Events Intern
The Development Department of Mystic Aquarium is seeking a motivated individual to work alongside the team in its efforts to fundraise for the nonprofit organization. The Department is responsible for pursuing grants, donations and major gifts, as well as organizing special events and managing the donor database. The ideal candidate will be pursuing a course of study in nonprofit management or event logistics, and have strong communications skills. Creativity, attention to detail, and the ability to interact professionally with donors, the general public, and staff are all critical to this internship opportunity.
The Development & Special Events Intern will assist with special event coordination, cultivation efforts, logistical coordination of VIP visits, and administrative tasks. Schedule is flexible within Monday-Friday normal operating hours.
If you are interested in one the departments below, please submit ONLY a completed application form. The Intern Coordinator will contact you by phone to discuss possible internship projects within the department of your choice. If an opportunity is available you will be asked to submit all application materials.
A short description of each department appears below.
The Guest Services Department is responsible for ensuring a quality visit for all our guests. Ticket sales, group entry and exhibit interpretation are all handled through Guest Services.
The Advancement Department coordinates fundraising for the Aquarium, a nonprofit organization, by pursuing donations, grants and major gifts. Staff from this department also assist with the organization of special events.
The Facilities Department provides life-support services for all exhibits and maintains a comfortable environment for visitors and staff. This department maintains mechanical, electrical and refrigeration systems and assists with the design, installation and maintenance of gardens and grounds around the Aquarium and outdoor exhibits. The Housekeeping function comes under the Facilities Department as does Safety and Security.
The Membership Department is responsible for developing a constituency for Mystic Aquarium by serving, motivating and maintaining current members as well as soliciting new members. This department is responsible for selling and renewing memberships, admitting members when they visit, communicating with members via digital and print correspondence, developing various programs, events and promotions, as well as providing excellent customer service to ensure the satisfaction and retention of our members.