Opportunities Abound for Bermudian Students to Gain Research Experience

Each year, around this time, high school students are faced with the often-daunting task of deciding what to do in the upcoming summer months. Volunteer? Study abroad? Work? Intern? While the final decision rests upon many factors, Bermudian students interested in pursuing careers in the ocean or atmospheric sciences have to look no further than the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS). Each summer, as part of its Ocean Academy, BIOS runs two programs for high school students that provide unique opportunities to learn and work at the research station.

The Marine Science Internship (MSI) Program is targeted at students aged 16+ who hold advanced open water SCUBA diving certification, and who are interested in pursuing college-level studies in the ocean sciences. This two-week internship is open to both international and Bermudian students and the small session size (6-10 students per session) allows for individual attention from faculty and instructors.

During the program, students gain practical experience in scientific diving techniques, as well as a variety of laboratory protocols and analysis procedures. The first week typically introduces students to photoquadrat analysis and video transects—two techniques used to look at community assemblages on coral reefs. At the same time, students have the opportunity to work on their fish identification skills using belt transects, roving divers, and underwater visual census techniques. In the second week of the program, students survey algal diversity, investigate Sargassum communities, and—this year—will practice their skills with remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and automated underwater vehicles (AUVs) through a variety of hands-on labs.

For Bermudian students aged 18+ there is yet another opportunity: the BIOS Bermuda Program. Since 1976 more than 100 young Bermudians have taken part in this program, with many applying their summer experiences toward further university studies.

Each summer ten budding scientists are selected to receive paid fellowships (stipends plus laboratory expenses) that allow them to work on a specific project of interest under the mentorship of BIOS scientists. The internships run full time for 8 weeks and include an opportunity for participants to present their research in a traditional academic seminar. Recent Bermuda Program interns have worked on a variety of topics in ocean and atmospheric sciences, including operational meteorological observing and data analysis, the investigation of sea urchins as models for anti-aging theories, microbial communities within fire sponges, and metals in Sargassum seaweed. 

This year’s Ocean Academy programs have been significantly bolstered by a generous donation from the Bank of Bermuda Foundation. Funds will be used to provide additional learning resources for participants, including bursaries for Bermudian students that are able demonstrate financial need. BIOS is pleased to have the Bank of Bermuda Foundation as a community partner in its Ocean Academy programs, which support the Foundation’s goal of improving the quality of life within our island community.

To learn more about the Marine Science Internship (MSI) Program at BIOS, please visit http://www.bios.edu/education/marine-science-internship/. Deadline for application to the 2014 summer program is Tuesday, April 15, 2014. To learn more about the Bermuda Program at BIOS, please visit http://www.bios.edu/education/bermuda-program/. Deadline for application to the 2014 summer program is Tuesday, April 1, 2014.  All interested and qualified students are encouraged to apply to these programs for an unforgettable summer learning experience!