Current AAUS/OWUSS Interns

2022 Lee H. Somers Scientific Diving Intern

Yuen M. Azu
Amherst College

Read Yuen's final internship report

Yuen M. Azu, 21, grew up exploring the rivers and Great Lakes of Michigan but became fascinated with the ocean after snorkeling in the tropics. This experience motivated her in high school to apply for the Ocean Career Exploration and Nautical Sciences summer program at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, which introduced her to different careers in the marine field. As she began working on her Biology degree at Amherst College during freshman year, she enrolled in the Five College Coastal and Marine Science Certificate program. She also obtained her Advanced Open Water scuba certification through Project Deep at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, completing her checkout dives in the Florida Keys. From those dives she realized that she wanted to study coral reef ecosystems. The next summer through late fall she interned at Mote’s International Center for Coral Reef Research and Restoration, Florida, returning again the following summer. In the Coral Sexual Reproduction program at Mote, she researched fecundity and disease resistance in staghorn corals and sexually propagated Acroporids. During her junior year, she studied abroad at the Center for Marine Resource Studies (Turks and Caicos Islands), where she discovered her passion for underwater data collection. Yuen is thrilled to be the 2022 OWUSS/AAUS Dr. Lee H. Somers Scientific Diving intern; working towards the AAUS Scientific Diver credential will be an indispensable step for her future career in coral reef research. 

University of California, Davis will host this year’s intern. Yuen will be working with Diving Safety Officer Jason Herum at the Bodega campus and a team of researchers working in Lake Tahoe.



 2022 Mitchell Scientific Diving Research Intern

Phoebe Churney
 Maine Maritime Academy

Read Phoebe's final internship report

 Phoebe Churney, 20, is from Brunswick, ME. She is a rising senior at Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) pursuing a dual major in a 5-year program for Marine Biology and Small Vessel Operations (USCG 200-T Mate License) with minors in Physical Science and Oceanography. She became PADI Junior Open Water certified in 2016 and has since become an AAUS Scientific Diver and is in the process of completing her PADI Divemaster’s course. 

During the summer of 2021, Phoebe was invited by Dr. Alan Verde of MMA to conduct research on octopuses at Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory (RBML) in Anacortes, WA. While at RBML she worked as a Scientific Diver-in-Training and completed 46 scientific dives that involved transect dives for density and bottle preference data of Octopus rubescens and night dives to collect Muusoctopus leioderma. Phoebe also worked as a water quality analyst for an ocean acidification project and held the position of Lead Aquarist for the laboratory. Based on her work with octopus husbandry and other aquarist experiences Phoebe was awarded the 2021-2022 Marine Aquarist Society of North America undergraduate Student Scholarship. Currently, Phoebe is preparing for her independent undergraduate research project for Fall 2022 that involves the impacts of salinity on the metabolism and sediment bioturbation of sand dollars. Phoebe was thrilled to be chosen as the 2022 AAUS/OWUSS Mitchell Intern!

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences will host this year’s intern. Phoebe will be working with PI Doug Rasher to document the impacts of climate change on kelp forests within the Gulf of Maine.