For more than 20 years, VIMS-ESL researchers used grant funding to support 1-2 summer internships for local high school and college students each year. As part of a privately funded initiative, VIMS-ESL has expanded this summer internship program to hire 5 high school and college students from Accomack and Northampton Counties each year. This has been supported by donors to the Bonnie Sue Scholarship Fund.
During the summer that they spend working at ESL, interns primarily assist ESL staff with ongoing research projects. Recent projects have focused on: aquaculture of clams, bay scallops and oysters; habitat needs of juvenile marine fishes; water quality; and general marine ecology and monitoring.
Former ESL summer interns go on to receive undergraduate and advanced degrees in biology and environmental science. Many return to the Eastern Shore after college and find employment in the local aquaculture industry, teaching and research.