Research internship for Sarasota-Manatee Students has successful first year

Mote Marine Laboratory — an independent research institution that hosts interns from around the world — teamed up with Sarasota-Manatee universities during the 2014-2015 school year to offer 13 local university students an intensive marine science internship experience.

The new Mote REU-USFSM Program grew from the ongoing educational partnership between Mote and University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM), and it draws upon Mote’s 11 years of experience hosting the prestigious, national-level Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) internship program.

Mote’s 2014-2015 REU-USFSM Program hosted seven USFSM students and two New College of Florida students in fall internships throughout the Lab. Then in spring 2015, three USFSM students and one New College student participated.

Overall, this Program accepts applications from students at USFSM, New College, Ringling College of Art and Design and State College of Florida.

Interns worked with a variety of Mote programs including Behavioral Ecology & Physiology, Ecotoxicology, Ocean Acidification, Marine Biomedical Research, Marine Microbiology, Marine and Freshwater Aquaculture and Mote’s Marine Policy Institute. Each new REU-USFSM intern received a stipend and worked closely with Mote’s Ph.D. scientists on at least 160 hours of active, ongoing marine research.

The students agreed that this internship gave them the hands-on lab experience they were seeking, according to final evaluations and surveys administered by Mote. All the students reported that their science communication skills increased and they deemed the internship a helpful educational opportunity that would contribute to their future career goals.

“I greatly enjoyed every part of the project I worked on,” said New College junior Lisa Crawford, who interned with Mote’s Behavioral Ecology and Phyisology Program. “I was included in the planning phases and entrusted with the most important parts of the apparatus and testing. I am confident that my critical thinking skills have improved and that I have a better understanding of experimental design and scientific writing. I made several contacts with Mote that I am sure will be very helpful as I continue to pursue a marine biology career.”

“I was able to build rapport with other scientists regardless of age or education because we worked on a common goal,” said USFSM junior Rafael Brinetti, who interned with Mote’s Ecotoxicology Program. “This taught me the importance of cooperation.”

Some interns gained scientific experience outside the lab, gathering data in the field and reporting on their work at scientific summits. Several interns joined Mote scientist Dr. Nicole Rhody at the Roskamp Institute’s Student Research Day on June 12 to present their projects to high school students interested in pursuing research careers.

The REU-USFSM Program earned Mote a spot on the 2015-2016 Employer Recognition Wall in the Career Success Center at USF Sarasota-Manatee. There, 15 local organizations were recognized for recruiting USFSM students for internship opportunities.

Funding support for all REU-USFSM interns is provided by the State of Florida with the goal of advancing STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math).

Mote — a world-class independent marine science institution — is dedicated to fostering the next generation of marine researchers. Learn more about Mote’s science and education missions in the Lab’s the 2020 Vision and Strategic Plan at www.mote.org (click “About” and scroll down).

USFSM — a separately accredited, four-year institution in the University of South Florida System — combines personalized education with the opportunities of a high-impact, global research university. Learn more at: http://usfsm.edu/

  • The Mote REU-USFSM program is gearing up for its 2015-2016 class. Updated information will be posted by mid- to late summer 2015 at www.mote.org/interns.

Once again, we will welcome applications from students at USFSM, New College, Ringling College of Art and Design and State College of Florida.