University of Vermont

Internships & Careers

dolphin The Dolphin Research LogoDolphin Research Center

Location:  Grassy Key, Florida.

DRC is a not-for-profit education and research facility located in Grassy Key, Florida.  It is home to a family of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions.  "Over half of our family was born at the Center, while the other members either have come to us from other facilities, or were collected long ago by other management."  Their volunteer and intern program includes a variety of opportunities in animal care and training, animal husbandry, dolphin/child therapy, education, research, medical care. Descriptions of internships are described below:

Animal Care and Training:  This position is a support role to our animal care and training staff, and may involve: assisting the trainers during dolphin and sea lion training sessions, conducting segments of public tours, preparing fish and vitamins for our animals, assisting with data collection for on-going research projects, the repair and maintenance of training equipment, and attending department staff meetings. NOTE:  Performing daily animal training sessions is not a part of this position.

Animal Husbandry:  This position is a support role to our animal care and training, husbandry, and medical staff, and may involve: food and vitamin preparation, the stocking and inventorying of food and husbandry supplies, assisting with fish deliveries, maintaining husbandry files, training and supervising other volunteers on food preparation and husbandry procedures, assisting with data collection for on-going research projects as needed.

Dolphin/Child Therapy:  This position is a support role to our dolphin assisted therapy staff, and may involve: the preparation, repair, and maintenance of session equipment, assisting program participants and their families as necessary, recording session notes and maintaining session records, preparing program participant folders, assisting with data collection for on-going research projects and handling information requests and other correspondence.

Education:  This position is a support role to our education staff, and may involve:  assisting with the coordination of students involved in the week-long DolphinLab program, file and records maintenance, handling information requests and other correspondence, preparing DolphinLab participant notebooks, assisting with other public educational programs as necessary and attending department meetings and recording minutes.  This position may also involve teaching workshops and seminars, observing and assisting with outreach presentations, assisting with library and resource maintenance and assisting with data collection for on-going research projects.  The Education Intern may also be required to develop and complete a special project that will both benefit the Education Department and enhance his/her experience.

Medical Care:  This position is a support role to our professional medical staff and may involve:  food and vitamin preparation, maintaining husbandry and medical files, databases and other associated records, assisting with medical procedures and observations as needed (including stranded animals and necropsies when necessary), assisting with data collection for on-going research projects and attending department staff meetings.  NOTE:  Performing actual medical procedures is not a part of this position.

Research:  This position is a support role to our research department and may involve:  the preparation, repair, and maintenance of research equipment, coordinating and assisting with data collection for on-going research projects, summarizing and analyzing research data, maintaining research records, assisting DolphinLab students with behavioral data collection sessions, training and supervising other volunteers during data collection sessions.  All research at DRC is non-intrusive and is normally observational or behavioral in nature.  Research studies vary widely in nature and availability.  For information on past or current research projects at DRC, contact the research department at  For information on the research internship, contact the Volunteer Resources Department.

Career Development:  In addition to the regular intern positions described above, we occasionally offer a short-term Career Development Internship specifically for students receiving college credit.  Typically here for 4 to 6 weeks, career development interns spend more of their time working with other volunteers on a variety of general support duties for the organization, in addition to working for a specific department.

Along with the above duties, all interns can expect to assist with general volunteer duties, including such tasks as food and vitamin preparation, general facility maintenance and housekeeping and the handling of information requests and other correspondence.  They might also assist with the teaching of educational seminars and workshops.  Each intern is assigned a staff member from their department who serves as their coach/supervisor.  Together with their coach, interns develop a list of specific educational goals and objectives which they work towards completing during their internships.  Interns are required to keep a written journal of their daily experiences and they review these with their coaches during regularly scheduled meetings.

The internships are typically held in the following time frames.  Applications may be accepted after the deadline set for each term, however the selection process will already be underway and priority consideration will be given to timely applicants.


January-April October 1

May-August February 1

September-December June 1

To apply for an internship position, complete and send to us a completed Volunteer Application (see their website below), the enclosed Intern Supplementary Application, as well as all other information described on the form.  You may also send any additional information which you feel would be beneficial to us in processing your application.  Be sure to note on the application which intern position(s) you wish to apply for.  The number of available intern positions is very limited; usually we can only accommodate one intern in each department at a time.  Once received, intern applications are given to specific department coaches for review and selection approximately three months prior to the internship start dates.  Please refer to the Volunteer Opportunities documentation for more general information about positions with our Volunteer Resources Department.  Further details and application can be found at:  DRC - Volunteer Program

Dolphin Research Center
58901 Overseas Highway
Grassy Key, FL 33050-6019
Phone: (305) 289-0002 (program reservations)
  or:   (305) 289-1121 (offices)
Fax:  (305) 743-7627

Website:  Dolphin Research Homepage
Internship information Internship Application
Testimonial: Amanda Pallotta
This internship is also listed under the following headings:  Other Animal-Related 

Last modified April 06 2009 01:43 PM

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