SSC Pacific Marine Mammal Program
Internship Opportunities

The Marine Mammal Program offers two types of student internships at the Navy marine mammal facility in San Diego:

  • Animal Care and Training
  • Veterinary Medicine

Interested students are chosen from all over the country to participate in these voluntary internships that provide valuable exposure and experience in various aspects of marine mammal training, husbandry, and research.

Animal Care and Training Internship Program

In the Animal Care and Training Internship Program, students provide support to Navy Marine Mammal Program Staff while getting a dynamic educational experience in the field of marine mammal care and training. The internship program is designed to give undergraduate students hands-on experience with marine mammals. Students will be responsible for a number of support tasks with dolphins and sea lions throughout the course of the internship. These responsibilities will include diet preparation, sanitation, and equipment and facility maintenance. Interns may also have the opportunity to assist the marine mammal training staff in husbandry and open ocean training. In addition, they will provide support to the animal care staff in animal physicals and assist with a number of different marine mammal research projects. Lectures and field trips will also be conducted throughout the term to enhance the learning experience. It is particularly suited for juniors and seniors in fields such as biology, zoology, marine science, animal behavior, psychology, and veterinary science. This is a volunteer program and students must commit to 40 hours per week for 16 consecutive weeks.

Veterinary Medical Externship

The Veterinary Medical Externship is designed for veterinary students, preferably during their senior level or fourth year at an accredited veterinary college. Four students are selected each year to participate in the 4-6 week externship; only one student is on-site at a time. During this time, they are given the opportunity to observe and participate in various clinical activities under the direction of the veterinary staff. In addition, they are expected to select and complete a clinical project in marine mammal medicine during their stay.

Interns training a young dolphin to boat-followFood preparation

Diet preparation is a cornerstone of any animal care program.An intern washes off the enclosures in the morning

The internships are voluntary, and students are responsible for their own transportation and housing arrangements. Students must be U.S. citizens in U.S.-accredited schools within the United States.

Students interested in the Animal Care and Training internship are encouraged to send a resume, letter of intent including career goals and reasons for wanting the internship, an unofficial or official copy of their transcripts, proof of medical insurance, proof of U.S. citizenship, and a minimum of three letters of recommendation from professors or employers to the address below.

Students interested in the Veterinary Medical Externship should also send a letter to the address below. This letter should include reasons for wanting to participate in the program and dates of availability. It is recommended that applicants list at least three prioritized availability dates. In addition, students must submit a curriculum vitae, two letters of reference, and proof of U.S. citizenship.

Attn: Coordinator of Volunteer Opportunities
Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific, Code 71510
53560 Hull Street
San Diego, CA 92152

Or fax it to (619) 553-2678.

For further information about any of the Navy Marine Mammal Programs internships, please send an email to

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Updated: 1/20/2011 12:17 AM EST   Published (1.0)