The Friends of Sengekontacket, dedicated to the preservation of Sengekontacket Pond and its barrier beach, has expanded its summer internship program to two positions.

Two 2017 interns were selected from a field of 15 applicants. Justine Cassel is a graduating senior at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School with a strong interest in marine science. Christopher Parsons is a MVRHS alumnus who is graduating this year from the University of New Hampshire with a major in environmental conservation. Chris has worked as a lab technician, wildlife intern, and research assistant. The two interns will begin work in early June.

The organization’s internship program, now in its third year, provides budding scientists with opportunities to participate in pond science. The 2015 intern, Kallen Sullivan of Oak Bluffs, used part of her time in the program to study invasive jellyfish, which enabled her to co-author a scientific paper on the subject.

Program goals include supporting shellfish programs to reduce nitrogen levels, including monitoring the phytoplankton population; helping with the Martha’s Vineyard Commission’s efforts to monitor and improve water quality in Vineyard ponds; and assisting in a shoreline reconstruction project at Felix Neck. Interns will gather water and soil samples and plant marsh grasses.