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Internship Program: Integrative Biology and Ecology of Marine Organisms

by Valerie Cleland on October 22, 2012

Blinks – NSF REU – BEACON Internship Program

Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Integrative Biology and Ecology of Marine Organisms

Revised: 02-21-2012

Program Description: Friday Harbor Laboratories’ Blinks – NSF REU Summer Internship Program seeks to link undergraduate students with scientist-mentors as collaborators in marine science research projects. The program takes advantage of the pristine environment, remarkable biodiversity, and the scientific and technical resources at University of Washington’s marine science research facility. We have combined the NSF REU program with the Blinks Research Fellowship program, which targets groups who are historically underrepresented in the marine sciences. With support from the United Negro College Fund, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the American Society for Cell Biology, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, and the Anne Hof Blinks Memorial Fellowship, the Blinks-REU Program offers a full immersion research experience for motivated undergraduates, post-baccalaureates and graduate students. In keeping with the University of Washington’s policy of encouraging diversity in its student body and including underrepresented groups, the program seeks 10-15 students of diverse backgrounds and interests to participate in a eight to twelve week summer research project in the marine sciences. By linking fellows with marine scientists in a 1:1 research experience, fellows learn both the process and the substance of scientific research. As the research progresses, fellows will be encouraged to become semi-independent collaborators. The experience will expose fellows to the life and work of a marine science research laboratory. The program will incorporate workshops, seminars and training sessions in addition to hands-on research.

The mentors and projects vary from year to year according to the developing research interests of faculty and graduate students. Research projects are designed by the scientists to be achievable projects which dovetail with their research plans. Project descriptions are posted below. Fellows will work semi-independently for approximately 40 hours per week.

For summer 2012, the BEACON Program will fund up to four students, bringing the Blinks-REU-BEACON cohort up to 15 or 16 students.

As participants in the FHL community, students will participate actively in FHL community activities, e.g. attend the weekly seminars, eat in the Dining Hall and live in the student dormitory. Early in the summer session there will be a meeting of student participants with graduate students and mentors to share perspectives on graduate programs and participation in academic life, with a brief description of ongoing projects, and a question/answer session. At the end of their internship, fellows will present their research in a short powerpoint talk. Fellows will also write a scientific paper describing their work, and revise it based upon feedback from the mentor.

The Setting: Friday Harbor Labs is University of Washington’s marine science field research station. Located north of Puget Sound in the San Juan Islands, FHL takes advantage of a remarkable diversity of marine habitats and organisms. FHL hosts 10-12 courses per year and approximately 100 independent researchers during the year. The 484 acre campus is the site for thirteen lab buildings, a dining hall, 3 dorms and other housing units.

Research at FHL emphasizes marine invertebrate zoology, phycology, fisheries science, conservation biology, cell and molecular biology, biomedical sciences, oceanography and other scientific disciplines. Investigators and students use diversified field resources as well as modern analytical technologies such as a nucleotide sequencer, scanning laser confocal microscopes, scintillation counter, centrifuges, HPLC, TEM, SEM and other equipment. The Labs is equipped with a 58′ research vessel, numerous smaller boats, cold rooms, and an extensive seawater system serving numerous lab buildings. The facility includes a computer lab, networked research labs, wi-fi connectivity, a well equipped stockroom, a 17,000 volume library, and SCUBA facilities.

Financial Support: Participants will be provided with financial support to meet costs of room, board, round trip travel and a monthly stipend of $1000.

Eligibility: The Blinks Endowment supports students who bring diversity to the FHL student body in any phase of their undergraduate or graduate career. The NSF REU Site grant supports U.S. citizens or permanent residents during their undergraduate careers.
To Apply (Deadline: March 1)

  1. Fill out the FHL REU Application form to apply for participation in a specific research project. Please select “REU-Blinks Program” under course options for Summer A term (although the program lasts eight to twelve weeks). In the ethnicity field, please be sure to indicate if you’re from an underrepresented group. Note: please do not fill out the financial aid form.
  2. Apply to work with a specific mentor by writing a one-page statement which describes your background, your career objectives, and how this internship will help you achieve your career goals. You can submit up to three statements.
  3. Send official copies of your transcripts.
  4. Send two letters of recommendation from faculty members who are familiar with your work.

Please e-mail all application materials to Scott Schwinge(

Scott Schwinge
Administrator Friday Harbor Laboratories
620 University Rd.
Friday Harbor, WA. 98250
phone: 206-616-0708 or
FAX: 206-543-1273

Students who are selected will be notified in late March. The duration and dates of each internship will be determined by the mentors’ research schedules and students’ availability.

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