• Seining  Volunteer Caroline Herath catches an American eel while seining with a group of students.  © S. Maples/VIMS.
  • Boat Tour  Volunteers learn about the marine environment durring an educational outing.  © S. Maples/VIMS.
  • Poquoson Seafood Festival  VIMS graduate student Hadley McIntosh staffs the VIMS booth during the Poquoson Seafood Festival.  © S. Maples/VIMS.
  • Group Tour  Graduate students Brandon Conroy and Jami Ivory interact with students during a tour of the Zooplankton Ecology Lab.  © S. Maples/VIMS.
  • Fisheries Collection  Professor Eric Hilton talks with a guest during a tour of the VIMS Fisheries Collection.  © S. Maples/VIMS.
  • After Hours Lecture  Professor Carl Hershner addresses the audience during a VIMS After Hours lecture.  © D. Malmquist/VIMS.
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Get involved at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science by becoming a volunteer. Positions are available as needed in public outreach and occasionally in laboratory research and fieldwork.

Also note that a limited number of paid positions may be available at VIMS through our Summer Aide program, depending on faculty need and funding.


All volunteers must:

  • Be at least 16 years of age
  • Complete safety training before beginning in their position
  • Gain a basic knowledge of VIMS' mission and goals

Outreach volunteers must:

  • Be friendly and have effective communication skills
  • Be comfortable in a dynamic environment
  • Have a valid driver’s license and good driving record

VIMS Public Outreach Volunteers help create lasting connections with public audiences through fun and educational programs. Below are some of the opportunities available to Outreach Volunteers.

Fair/Festival Volunteer: Staff VIMS’ booth to share information about events, research, and Bay animals. Setup and breakdown includes lifting and bending. Paired with an experienced staffer, student, or volunteer.

Visitor Center Docent: Share VIMS' research with visitors through hand-on activities, aquaria, and exhibits.

Tour Guide and Support: Lead or assist a guide with walking tours of VIMS’ campus, sharing our history and mission with adults and older children, civic clubs, middle- and high-school students, and other organizations. Tours include laboratory visits to speak with scientists about current research, providing continuous learning opportunities for volunteers. Tours are offered on weekdays only.

Special Program Volunteer: Assist a VIMS Outreach staff member with educational programs offered on VIMS’ campus and at other locations. Setup and breakdown includes lifting and bending.

Registration Volunteer: Staff reception desk at evening lectures and other similar events.

Marine Science Day Volunteer: Help with our annual open house. Assist with children's activities, reception/welcome booth, costume contest, set-ups and various other tasks.