Washington Program Provides Veterans With Potential Paths in Science
Veteran interns work alongside NOAA scientists and other fisheries experts to gain valuable education and job experience in fisheries science.
Currently Open Veteran Internship Opportunities
- Mount Adams Institute VetsWork Internship - Seattle, Washington
- Mount Adams Institute VetsWork Internship - Lacey, Washington
About NOAA Veterans Conservation Corps Fisheries Internships in Washington
Partnering with the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, the NOAA Veterans Conservation Corps Fisheries internship program focuses on individualized attention to veteran interns, emphasizing development of skills that are adapted and responsive to both veterans and NOAA program needs, including field monitoring, data analysis and report writing.
The program honors John Beal, a Vietnam veteran who overcame post-traumatic stress syndrome through the conservation and restoration of Hamm Creek and advocating for the restoration of the Duwamish River. In reflection of John Beal, internships always feature at least some work outside, because John and the VCC program recognize the enormous benefit of ecotherapy to veterans.
Veterans in this program have opportunities to experience a wide range of science-based assignments, including the potential to collect field data, develop reports, and assist with research papers in collaboration with fisheries scientists at NOAA and its partners. Additionally, the program helps participants access federal veteran benefits such as the GI Bill for higher education and college credit, and leverage those with state and local education or benefits for other needs, including housing and mental health access.
The program helps develop additional expertise and educational credits to assist in stronger employment opportunities. Job placement of graduating interns is tracked and reported to ensure a strong linkage between the internship experience, employment, and community integration.
What Will the NOAA Veteran Conservation Corps Fisheries Internship Program Accomplish?
Interns have been engaged in a variety of experiences, including helping with West Coast salmon recovery efforts, conducting fisheries research, monitoring and growing shellfish and kelp, and other activities that improve fisheries and the marine ecosystem. Interns also benefit by collecting, analyzing, and reporting valuable ecological data, habitat characterizations, and restoration project success. They learn these skills while participating in a transformative experience of working outdoors on meaningful environmental projects..
Veterans also benefit from these internships by diversifying their job experience, obtaining technical training and coaching for job placement, and receiving mentoring from conservation professionals, all while earning a monthly stipend.
“We've had a really great experience working with our intern so far. Not only is he reliable, punctual, and detail oriented, but he is also a great problem solver and is always thinking about how something could be done that much better. ... I've learned a lot from him about his experience in the military and why he chose to serve. It's been a truly eye-opening experience for me to get to hear from a perspective quite different from my own, and I'm so appreciative that he has been gracious enough to answer all my questions and been so open with sharing his thoughts.” – Puget Sound Restoration Fund
NOAA and partners have hosted 14 interns at various NOAA Research Stations and with NOAA partners in Washington State since the program began in 2016.
In 2023, several internships are filled with the Puget Sound Restoration Fund, Snohomish Conservation District, and NOAA's Northwest Fisheries Science Center. New developments include a marine science internship at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in honor of former Mukilteo Station Chief Casey Rice. This internship will dedicate the final month of the position to research presentations, networking, and building professional relationships, to reflect Rice’s commitment to public service. A new, cutting-edge Riparian Restoration and Agroforestry Internship with the Snohomish Conservation District has been filled this year. This position is primarily focused on assisting the SCD agroforestry program and NOAA in the coordination of long-term projects focused on community-based design, installation, and maintenance of complex riparian agroforestry restoration projects.
How Does it Work?
The NOAA Veteran Conservation Corps Fisheries Internship Program operates out of NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center Research Stations in Washington, as well as with NOAA’s partner organizations such as the Puget Sound Restoration Fund and the Northwest Straits Commission. The internships are flexibly designed in duration and hours to best suit the needs of the intern and supervisor.
A unique element of this program is the opportunity to build strong relationships with colleagues, potential employers, and academic personnel working in the restoration and species recovery fields. The interns become part of a Washington statewide Veterans Conservation Corps network supporting the next steps in their career, whether it’s working in the fisheries field or finishing up a degree in natural sciences, or even moving on to another more targeted internship opportunity.
NOAA intern supervisors receive military cultural awareness training and formal guidance from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs. A separate NOAA coordinator also supports the veteran’s experience, and serves as a mentor and additional support available to respond to veteran needs.
Meet Our Partners
NOAA’s current and past partners in this Veteran Corps internship program include:
- Washington Department of Veterans Affairs
- Puget Sound Restoration Fund
- Snohomish Conservation District
- Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission
- Northwest Straits Commission
- Washington Sea Grant
- Blue Dot Sea Farms
To browse open internship opportunities, visit the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs internships page.