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OECI Ocean Explorers

Charting a path for an inclusive ocean exploration workforce!

Ocean Explorers internship

Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute (OECI) member institutions host undergraduate students in the University of Southern Mississippi's Marine Education Center, Tuskegee University, and Jackson State University-led Ocean Exploration internship program. TheseIntern examining blue tech OECI member institutions include University of Rhode Island, University of Southern Mississippi, University of New Hampshire, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and Ocean Exploration Trust. Ocean Explorer interns gain valuable experience in ocean exploration, data visualization, mapping, deepwater science and technology, and/or science communication and more while providing support for OECI projects and expeditions. Selected students will contribute to research and data collection efforts across OECI partners, while also charting a path for a more diverse ocean exploration workforce. These internships enable students to increase their competitiveness for educational and career opportunities in ocean-related fields. 

Selected students participate in a paid summer-intensive program within the OECI; faculty, staff, and graduate students in ocean exploration mentor participating students. Ocean Explorers interns also may have the opportunity to go aboard OECI research cruises, conduct field research, work in robotics workshops, or process samples in biological laboratories. Internship activities may include seafloor mapping data acquisition, processing and analysis, engineering design and development, at-sea operations, science communication, and content development.  

Internship and Mentor Applications 

Intern and mentor applications for the 2024 summer Ocean Explorer internship are closed. Please check back next year if you are interested! Mentor applications typically open late fall and intern applications open January / February. If you have any questions about the program or application process, please reach out to Meagan Gary at Meagan.GaryFREEMississippi


  • Recruits students from HBCUs who are passionate about exploring ocean career pathways and contributing to research 
  • Is a paid 10-week summer research intensive internship program including a pre-program virtual orientation
  • Pairs selected students with an ocean science mentor with ongoing interactions with co-mentors, near-peer mentors, and peers encouraged throughout and beyond the summer programming
  • Provides the intern a stipend to compensate interns for their contribution to the research project
  • Covers the cost of travel and lodging through program coordination staff
  • Provides food and living cost allowance 
  • Gain marine research experience
  • Collaborate with an expert in the ocean exploration field  
  • Expand their awareness of the variety of ocean careers 
  • Participate in weekly personal and professional development sessions / workshops 
  • Foster relationships and build a support network that expands farther than the summer program 
  • Have coordinator support beyond the summer programming 
  • Develop and deliver a conference-quality presentation on their project at the end of their internship 
  • Have access to support before, during, and after internship from program coordination staff 
  • Gain research support from a paid intern  
  • Have program staff facilitate logistical coordination throughout the internship 
  • Have the ongoing opportunity to provide constructive feedback and brainstorm programmatic improvements
  • Receive resources on innovative mentorship techniques that integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout  
  • Learn from and deepen mentorship skills with students who have been historically and systematically excluded from the ocean sciences
  • Contribute to the accessible programming of the Ocean Explorers program
  • Support a program that aims to diversify the Ocean Exploration workforce and build an inclusive and welcoming ocean science culture

Ocean Exploration Cooperative Institute researchers, if you’re interested in mentoring an Ocean Explorers intern, please reach out to Meagan Gary at Meagan.GaryFREEMississippi

Tuskegee University students, if you’re interested in applying for an Ocean Explorers internship or joining the Ocean Exploration Club, please reach out to Dr. Osa Idehen at

Jackson State University students, if you’re interested in applying for an Ocean Explorers internship, please reach out to Dr. Brent Thoma at

To follow our interns' journeys check out our Facebook and Instagram page!

Contact Us

Marine Education Center
101 Sweet Bay Drive
Ocean Springs, MS 39564

GCRL - Cedar Point

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