William J. Goodger Memorial Internship Program

The William J. Goodger Memorial internship is an exciting opportunity for students who are interested in increasing their hands-on experience and knowledge of marine mammal behavior and related research. Recruitment begins in the fall quarter. The internship requires participation in training and programmatic activities with Friends of the Elephant Seal (FES) and California Polytechnic University (Cal Poly) for up to 20 hours a week during the Winter and Spring quarters.

Interns complete docent training with the Friends of the Elephant Seal and participate in interpretive activities with the public and in citizen science projects at the Piedras Blancas northern elephant seal rookery. Cal Poly research activities are a key part of the experience and faculty and interns assist in behavioral observations, population counts, as well as weighing and tagging weaned pups. Additional opportunities are available to participate in various school and community outreach activities about elephant seals. The experience culminates in a presentation to the Friends of the Elephant Seal docents.

Objectives:  Upon completion of the internship, interns will be able to:

  1. Describe the life of the northern elephant seal, including natural history, seasonal events and migrations and population dynamics at Piedras Blancas.
  2. Complete basic docent training and provide interpretive services to the public through the Friends of the Elephant Seal.
  3. Participate in elephant-seal related projects, including supervised research activities, population counts and resightings of northern elephant seals.
  4. Create appropriate presentation materials and report project findings in a public presentation for docents.
  5. Summarize project findings in a written report, including graphics and tables, suitable for publication on the Friends of the Elephant Seal website.
  6. Evaluate internship learning experiences and relate them to future career interests.

To request more information:  [email protected]

Dr. William Kneeland
William J. Goodger Memorial Internship Coordinator
Friends of the Elephant Seal
250 San Simeon Ave, Suite 3B
San Simeon, CA, 93452

About William J. Goodger (1941-2018)

Dr. William “Bill” Goodger served as a Friends of the Elephant Seal docent, member of the Board of Directors and Research Committee. He attended Michigan State University, where he earned a B.S. and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1964. After practicing small animal medicine, he earned two Masters Degrees and a Doctorate from the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine. He served as a professor of Epidemiology in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, as well as working with United Nations and the USDA in South America and Asia for over twenty years. In 2012, he founded the Friends of the Elephant Seal internship program. With the expansion of the Piedras Blancas northern elephant seal colony, the internship program has expanded as well, offering a wide variety of educational, citizen science, community outreach and research activities with elephant seals.

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