Internships at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (CCMI) provide an exciting opportunity for early career scientists to gain real life experiences in marine science education, communications, research, and field station operations. We maintain active field research and education programmes in the Cayman Islands supported by a team of scientists, educators, outreach and communications coordinators.

Information about current internship positions available can be found HERE. Read on below for bios of current and past CCMI interns.

Ocean Science Scholars

The Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Ocean Science Scholars Programme supports students at the beginning of their science careers, serving to inspire, mentor and create a flow of opportunity for local students with an aptitude in this discipline.

This programme provides for two local, Caymanian students annually to come to the Little Cayman Research Centre for a period of 3 to 6 months and work alongside researchers and educators, building skills and opening doors to future educational and professional opportunities.

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Cassandra Macdowell
Ocean Science Scholar - Marine Education Intern

Cassandra is a young Caymanian from Cayman Brac who has a passion for education and environmental conservation. After graduating high school, Cassie volunteered with the Department of Environment to tag and monitor Sister Islands Rock Iguanas as well as managed and assisted in developing the green iguana culling initiative, Green GO, on Cayman Brac. She has also volunteered with the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, including working on multiple stingray surveys in Grand Cayman and travelling to Mexico with the team to film a documentary on whale sharks and manta rays.

Cass was awarded the Rising Star Award at CCMI’s Festival of the Seas Gala in 2018. She has since completed an internship as an Ocean Science Scholar (spring 2019) with CCMI in Little Cayman. She then served as a field officer for the Blue Iguana Conservation Programme in Grand Cayman for almost a year before returning to the water, where she worked as a dive master and photographer. We welcome Cass back for a second internship through the Ocean Science Scholars Programme.

Dimitri Myles - Diving Pic
Dimitri Myles
Ocean Science Scholar - Marine Education Intern

CCMI’s first Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Ocean Science Scholar Marine Education Intern was Dimitri Myles, a 19-year-old Caymanian who matriculated from Caymanian government schools, East End Primary School and Clifton Hunter High School. He attended CCMI’s Edmund F. and Virginia B. Ball Caribbean Marine Ecology Camp in 2015 and returned to the programme in 2016 as a camp counselor’s assistant. Dimitri began taking courses toward an associate degree at the University College of the Cayman Islands, where he was a member of the Eco-Club. At the same time he became certified as an open water scuba instructor and began work with Ocean Frontiers on Grand Cayman. He has also taken advantage of any opportunities available, including volunteering with Guy Harvey to research the stingrays at Stingray City, volunteering with DoE turtle nesting and shark logging as well as helping to maintain the coral nursery at Ocean Frontiers. Dimitri applied for and was accepted as CCMI’s Marine Education Intern, a position he held from October 2018 through January 2019.

Dimitri developed new skills and grown as a young professional during his time with CCMI. He became a confident public speaker, delivering lectures to student and citizen science groups as well as to the local community through the Reef Lecture Series. He also gained skills in task management, logistical organization, group coordination, and teaching. Dimitri put his scuba instructor experience to use guiding students on snorkelling excursions and scuba dives and took on an added level of complication as some groups were conducting surveys and collecting data in water. During his internship, Dimitri assisted with a dozen education programmes and gained experience by assisting with research and maintenance of projects in CCMI’s coral nurseries and with visiting scientists from the Smithsonian Institute. With this new boon of skills and experience, Dimitri now plans to finish his associate degree at UCCI and then continue on to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Marine Science. He hopes to be able to attend James Cook University in Australia (where he has already been admitted). Dimitri hopes to return to CCMI throughout his academic career as an intern and potentially as a researcher or educator in the future.

Art & Phyllis Grindle Foundation Interns

Sophia Bio Pic
Sophia MacVittie
Marine Research Intern

Sophia joined the CCMI team in May of 2019. She is originally from New York City and completed her BSc in Marine Science with a minor in Chemistry at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. She also spent a semester abroad at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. During her undergraduate career she conducted research on a small-scale aquaponics system, as well as working in Israel studying chimerism in corals of the Red Sea, and working with anemones as a model for understanding changes in the coral holobiont. Sophie is also an SDI Open Water Scuba Instructor. Sophia will be assisting with the various research projects being conducted, including helping to support coral nursery projects, and the projects of visiting scientists. She is incredibly excited to share her passion for marine research and to have the opportunity to work towards a more resilient future for coral reef ecosystems.