Sustainable Engineering Internships

"My summer on Appledore opened my eyes to the importance of developing sustainable technologies. Working on the island’s renewable energy grid sparked my interest in the energy problems the world is facing. SML is the perfect place to learn about renewable energy because it is essentially a model of real world systems, but on a small scale making it easy to understand. That summer proved to be a life changing experience and I am forever grateful to have had this opportunity."

– SEI 2013 intern, Eric Mauer (University of Delaware)

How do power, water, and sanitation systems on a small island help us understand larger issues in sustainability?

The unique location and nature of Appledore Island and Shoals Marine Laboratory provide an unparalleled opportunity for engineering students. This paid internship enables up to four interns to work side-by-side with SML staff and a variety of professional engineers to address the engineering challenges encountered when operating and maintaining  electrical, drinking water, wastewater management, and salt water systems on a remote island. Interns are expected to deliver a public presentation and written report with recommendations for improvements and/or changes to existing infrastructure based on specific project assignments.

The Sustainable Engineering Internship (SEI) program is sponsored in part by Unitil in honor of SEI mentor and co-founder, Mike Dalton.

Dates: June 19 - July 17, 2017

Symposium: July 15, 2017

Stipend: $125/week
Includes room & board for 4 weeks, and two roundtrips from Portsmouth, NH to Appledore Island. Interns are responsible for their own transportation to/from Portsmouth, NH.

Project List for 2017 TBA. 2016's Project List is Below:

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of SML’s recent LED lighting installations.
  • Evaluate the performance of a newly installed salt water pumping system.
  • Work with professional engineers from a groundwater consulting company to help SML find alternative freshwater sources.
  • Research and recommend a reverse osmosis system that can be powered using excess solar energy in order to supplement SML’s drinking water supply.
  • Evaluate the performance of SML’s rooftop rainwater collection system used to water Celia Thaxter’s historic garden.
  • Determine the effectiveness of electrical load shedding equipment installed on SML’s well pump.  Make suggestions for additional electrical equipment to load shed.
  • Design a wash down system for rooftop photovoltaic solar arrays.  Predict achievable electrical gains though system implementation.
  • Evaluate SML’s existing energy producing systems (wind, solar and diesel) and help to outline design criteria for future green energy upgrades/implementation.
  • Study the effectiveness of SML’s grease trap and make recommendations on how to further reduce fats, oils and greases from entering its wastewater system.  

Internship Mentors:

Ross  Hansen, Director of Facilities, SML
Mike Rosen, Director of Operations, SML
Tom Johnson, Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Laboratory
Mike Dalton, Unitil, University of New Hampshire
Dr. Nancy Kinner, Professor, University of New Hampshire
Lee Consavage, Seacoast Consulting Engineers

Sustainable Engineering Interns at the Shoals Marine Laboratory

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Interested in applying? Things you should know:

Application deadline: 2017 internships are currently filled. Check back in the fall for deadlines for summer 2018 internships.

  • Applicants must be entering junior or senior year during fall semester 2017 or a graduate student. No SML experience required.
  • Applicants should be prepared to upload (as separate files): Cover letter, resume/CV and unofficial transcripts
  • Two letters of reference should be sent directly to Ross Hansen,



Sustainable Engineering Internship Year End Reports

At the conclusion of each session, the sustainable engineering interns compile a report outlining the summer's projects, outcomes and recommendations for future projects. Reports from 2006-2016 are below.

2016 SEI Report

2015 SEI Report

2014 SEI Report

2013 SEI Report

2012 SEI Report

2011 SEI Report

2010 SEI Report

2009 SEI Report

2008 SEI Report

2007 SEI Report

2006 SEI Report