Research assistant internships are a great opportunity to obtain biology field experience and hands-on experience working with nesting sea turtles! Assistants are responsible for assisting the project coordinator in all aspects of running the project. It is crucial that assistants bring a positive attitude to the project, work well within a team, be adaptable to a variety of situations, and be prepared to partake in ALL aspects of the project.
Research assistants are trained to conduct nightly 3-4 hour beach patrols, in which they take biometric data from nesting sea turtles, tag their front flippers, and move their nests to a protected area if there is one available. Other responsibilities vary among the projects, and include the following:
- Assisting in the training of new volunteers
- Leading volunteers and tourists on night patrols
- Conducting morning censuses to check the status of in-situ nests
- Recording physical data such as precipitation levels and temperatures
- Building and maintaining the project hatchery
- Monitoring the hatchery during the night or day for emerging hatchlings and intruding predators
- Exhuming nests and collecting data on unhatched eggs
- Maintaining and cleaning the station house
- Cooking group meals
Research assistants are expected to stay at the project site for the entire period for which they are selected. Preference will be given to potential applicants that meet the following requirements:
- Advanced university student or recent graduate in biological sciences or related fields.
- Conversational Spanish and English
- Independent, reliable and responsible
- Motivated and positive
- Able to adapt to unexpected situations and unfamiliar cultures
- Able to undertake physical labor during night and day in extreme weather conditions
- Experience working within a team
- Strong interpersonal communication skills
- Comfortable working in the outdoors or in isolated settings
- Previous experience with sea turtles or conducting field research
Since many of the research assistants’ responsibilities are physically demanding, they are expected to be in good physical and medical shape. Also, since our projects are in isolated locations where access to medical treatment can be challenging, participants must disclose any medical conditions or possible risks before confirming their placement with our program.
Research Assistant Availabilities for the 2018 Season – dates haven’t been decided upon for the next season. Here are the dates from the 2017 Season, which will likely be similar.
Assistants must be able to commit for a minimum of 2.5 months. Dates are flexible depending on availability.
- First Term
- Early: June 13 to Sept 1, 2017
- Late: July 11 to Sept 29, 2017
- Second Term
- Early: Aug 29 to Nov 17, 2017
- Late: Sept 26 to Dec 15, 2017
- Third Term (Corozalito Only)
- Nov 14, 2017 to Jan 31, 2018
Research Assistant Costs
Research assistants pay a monthly fee to cover their meals and lodging. This contribution is different for each project, depending on the variety of the former and comfort level of the latter.
- San Miguel & Costa de Oro: $1400 USD for the entire term (about $120/week)
- Corozalito & Bejuco: $1100 USD for the entire term (about $95/week)
A travel assistance package is available to buy for an additional cost of $280. This includes airport pickup/drop-off, first and last nights in hotel, transport to and from bus stop and bus tickets.
To apply, send an email to Daniela Rojas (firstname.lastname@example.org) which includes:
- Cover letter indicating:
- Time frame(s) and project(s) you are applying for.
- Why you are interested in the position.
- Your personal strong points.
- List of the email addresses of at least 3 references
After you have submitted your application we will contact you for a Skype interview. You will then receive an email indicating if you have been accepted for the position. We are now accepting applications for the 2016 season.