The Ocean Exploration Internship Program (OEIP) addresses the OECI theme of increasing the utility of ocean exploration (OE) information by engaging and encouraging the next generation of ocean explorers, scientists, and engineers. This paid internship program, coordinated by the University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) Marine Education Center (MEC), engages undergraduate students from Tuskegee University (TU) in the field of ocean exploration and research. Selected students contribute to research and data collection efforts across OECI partners, while also charting a path for a more diverse ocean exploration work force.
The Ocean Exploration Club (OE Club), composed of several dozen TU students and coordinated by MEC staff and TU faculty, explores various STEM-related topics and connects to OECI research themes. A relationship between the MEC, the TU student body, and TU faculty has been cultivated through the OE Club and enables OEIP student recruitment. Selected students participate in a summer-intensive program within the OECI; faculty, staff and graduate students in the field of ocean exploration mentor participating students. OEIP students also have the opportunity to go to sea aboard OECI research cruises. Internship activities may include seafloor mapping data acquisition, processing and analysis, engineering design and development, at-sea operations, science communication, and content development.