Share your expertise and enthusiasm while indulging in your passion for the wilder side of science 

2017 Research Opportunity

Alaska Whale Foundation is offering a position at its field station on Baranof Island, Southeast Alaska to a student who is enrolled, or intends to enroll, in a graduate program in biology (or similar) and is looking for a research project to undertake.  The student will have the opportunity to lead the analysis of one of several existing datasets that examine aspects of the foraging ecology of humpback whales in Southeast Alaska.  As well, the student will gain experience working in the field by assisting in several ongoing whale research projects.  AWF may then work with the student to seek funding for additional field work in 2018 to complement the analysis. 

The principal datasets come from multi-year whale abundance and distribution surveys in conjunction with hydroacoustic (prey) surveys in Frederick Sound and lower Stephens Passage, Southeast Alaska.  Experience with GIS and spatial analysis techniques will be an asset. 

The successful applicant will be invited to join the AWF research team from April – July 2017.  This is a volunteer position; however, AWF will cover the student’s transportation from within the US to the field station and room and board during their stay. Please upload a CV and cover letter as one document here no later than January 31st 2017.

You will be contacted by AWF when we review your application in February. 


There is always room for individuals with professional skills on the AWF team, and by assisting with the necessary operations of a nonprofit you will help ensure that AWF biologists and educators have more time to dedicate towards the organization's programs. Whether you have experience in accounting, graphic design, non-profit law, or song writing, AWF wants to hear from you. Please fill out our Professional Volunteer Form and we will contact you to discuss opportunities for getting involved. 



AWF often invites students to assist with field and lab work.  Internships vary each year and can range from short ‘off-season’ work to full summer field positions.  The work is varied, and can include whale behavioral observations, fluke matching, sound analyses and prey sampling. If you are interested in interning with AWF please fill out our Internship Form and we will contact you with more information as opportunities arise. 


Volunteer Testimonials

My summer working with the Alaska Whale Foundation is definitely one of my most treasured experiences, full of amazing scenery, wildlife, and people. Conducting field research helped me hone my skills as an observer and as a budding biologist - not to mention that there are few species and places so inspiring as humpback whales and Southeast Alaska!
— Lindsey Nielsen, College of the Atlantic
Never could I have guessed the academic and aesthetic wonders that were awaiting me at AWF’s research station on the Five Fingers islands. The opportunity to bring my studies and dreams to life at the lighthouse is one I will never forget or, more importantly, take for granted
— Emma Blouin, University of Alaska Southeast
It was thrilling to live among the largely unexplored islands and biological systems around the Five Fingers area. And what a great research crew! We had so much fun chatting over dinner each night, indulging in nerdy science discussions and brainstorming details of the research project. Humpback research is definitely fascinating in its own right, but this frequent collaboration made it even easier for us to develop a strong sense of commitment to the project and further our development as biologists
— Jenny MacDougall, University of Alaska Southeast
As a volunteer with the Alaska Whale Foundation, I had the opportunity to observe humpback whales and a multitude of other amazing wildlife, all among the beautiful scenery of Southeast Alaska. It was an invaluable learning experience for me as a graduate student. AWF taught me some wonderful field research skills and provided great mentoring. And I got to see whales every day!
— Colleen Weiler, Oregon State University