ProTECTOR Inc. Volunteers and Interns

ProTECTOR Inc. has been featured in the 2013 MOON Volunteer Vacations in Latin America.
Thanks to Amy Robertson, the author!


"Kudos to you for your excellent, and much-needed work!!" - Amy Robertson

To find out more about ProTECTOR Inc. Volunteer and Intern opportunities, and to find out how you can apply, see the ProTECTOR Inc. Volunteer and Intern Guide here.

2021 - 2023 ProTECTOR, Inc. Intern Guide

2021 - 2023 Volunteer and Intern guide


newDates for 2023 Internships

Honduras: June 4- July 6

Jamaica: July 4 - Sept 21

      Thailand: July 9 - July 28       

ProTECTOR Inc. Volunteer/Intern Application for 2020 - 2023 in Word Here

Leslie Roberson 2010  

"In Honduras, there’s much more to conservation than passing laws. However, there is reason for optimism that well-planned conservation efforts, can succeed. I partnered with ProTECTOR Inc., one of the few organizations in Honduras that is focusing on coupling scientific research and community development. ProTECTOR Inc. is working in a very difficult environment, attempting to combat the decline in turtle populations amidst the wide scale degradation of the entireecosystem. The members of ProTECTOR realize that sea turtles are one part of a complex system. Although I witnessed many discouraging things, I was also introduced to many individuals making remarkable progress. I collaborated with Honduran biologists passionate about saving their country’s natural resources and eager to introduce me to the scientific community in their country."

Lesley Roberson

Leslie oberson


Haruka Ito 2010

"I went on this internship 4 summers ago, when I was just starting my undergraduate career. It was great to use my love for scuba diving and get research experience! At the time I had no idea how much this short "research vacation" would impact my scientific career. Looking back I know that these 10 short days led to my experiences at conferences, presentations, and even publication! It's gotten me to my masters program, and I know this internship was definitely worth it!"

Haruka Ito

See publication resulting from work by Haruka Ito and Dr. Stephen Dunbar, PDF here.

See 10th anniversary SWOT report article on photo ID, PDF here.

Current reflection (2019):

"I am so astounded by the fact that one summer internship has made such a huge impact on my career. Thank you very much for providing me with that experience when I was young. I am forever grateful!"

Ken Lindsay 2010

"I really enjoyed meeting you and getting out to El Venado. I realize that dealing with some aspects of culture there can be a challenge, but I also found it very interesting to be part of the process. I hope to be able to join you again in the future, and for a longer time than just a week next time."

Ken Lindsay

Ken Lindsay


Marta Llorca 2010

"I liked being able to help and train people who live there in order to devote their efforts in conservation of species and respect for nature. My days in Honduras have helped me to realize how fragile the natural world can be and how we must strive to cherish, and appreciate it. I encourage everyone that has the opportunity to work on a project like this to participate in the conservation of nature, starting with our inmediate environment."

Marta Llorca


Oliver and Anna Nash 2010
"We loved the opportunity to work alongside Steve Dunbar and his ProTECTOR Inc. team. What struck us most was the collaboration between the community members and the research team - they all had so much fun, but were doing great research work together! We're glad that some of our contributions have gone to help improve the turtle Center there at El Venado, and we hope for many more years of successful turtle research and conservation at this wonderful spot."
Oli Nash is the author of the nature adventure book,The Primate Puzzle
Oli and Anna Nash


Alejandro Lopez and Marta Llorca 2010
volunteer Marta & Volunteer


Christina Martin 2010
  Christina Martin


UNAH Students 2010
UNAH Students Students from the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH) worked with the project over several days at Punta Raton to gain research experience. Jose Vindel (center) and Jimmy Valle (far left).


UNAH Volunteer Club 2011
Dorian Arguijo, Carmen Nunez, Melissa Ramirez, Lidia Salinas, Hanna Roque, Samaria Castellanos, Steve Dunbar  


Tyler dos Santos 2011

"I've learned a lot on my trip to Honduras with ProTECTOR Inc. While the politics involved behind the conservation were a shock to me, it's good to see a group that is still dedicated to help, even through all the difficulties. I hope my four weeks down here will help make a difference in the project, and we'll be able to see the populations of turtles rise over time. Thank you so much, for the opportunity to help out and learn so much about the biology world."

Tyler dos Santos

Tyler became a graduate student at LLU. See his page here.



Christine Ha 2011
Christine Ha

"I was very excited and happy to be in Honduras. I really enjoyed walking the beaches and seeing turtles. For me, being at the Center at Punta Ratón was kind of like camping indoors. The Center was not bad at all, just mosquitoes drove me crazy. I also enjoyed my time at El Venado. The people there were all so talkative and friendly. I felt like I was taken care of very well. I would surely recommend other people to come and volunteer here. I myself am thinking of organizing a group to come to El Venado and Punta Ratón next summer."

Christine Ha


Katelyn Schiller 2011

"My favorite thing was working with the turtles, but I also enjoyed connecting with the community. They were very sweet and kind to us. I felt that us being there encouraged the people from the community and showed them what it's like to have enthusiastic visitors at the centers. They saw our energies and that reminded them of why they are doing what they do. When we touched the eggs and squealed with delight, we hope it energized them. I am thankful to ProTECTOR Inc. because they did everything they could to accommodate me."

Katelyn Schiller

Katie Schiller


Larry Williams Bracho 2011
Larry Bracho

"There were real challenges working among the communities of the south coast. There is a lot of poverty, and unemployment there. But I had a great two months working alongside Steve and the other ProTECTOR Inc. team members. I saw they had a real interest in conservation of the turtles, and in helping the people in the communities. Working with Noemi, Sami, and the other volunteers, made me feel a part of the ProTECTOR Inc. team. Everyone did whatever they could to help me have a great experience here."

Larry Bracho


Christi Linardich 2011

"During the few weeks that I spent working with Noel, tagging and tracking hawksbill sea turtles I was able to log an amazing 39 dives. Roatán, Honduras has unforgettable diving with a population of hardworking, but fun-loving people. It's not surprising that tourists from the world over travel there. Groups such as Protector are a step in the right direction to educate the locals and tourists about the nature of the turtle's plight. I was glad to be a part of not only that, but helping in the scientific quest to decipher more about the behaviors of this charismatic animal."

Christi Linardich

Christi Linardich


Amy Tan 2012
Amy Tan  


Avril Williams 2012


Robyn Reeve 2012
Robyn Reeve  


Ariana Cunningham 2012

"I feel that the research opportunity ProTECTOR Inc. gave me was one of the most unique experiences of my undergraduate carreer and I greatly enjoyed your leadership, program, subject matter, and fellow volunteers."

Ariana Cunningham

Link to project report and poster page

Ariana Cunningham

You can find more details the project Ariana was involved with by viewing her poster pdf here.

Ariana's honors thesis may be viewed in her pdf here.

Ariana's honors PowerPoint presentation is available as a pdf here.


Dustin Baumbach 2012


"During the summer of 2012 I volunteered on both the North and South coasts of Honduras. On the north coast at Cuero Y Salado I helped in both beach profiling and turtle monitoring, which helped to first teach me about turtles and their natural habitat. This was my very first experience with turtle habitat and I found it to be very informative and helped to start building a basis for the types of habitat where turtles may nest. I then traveled to the south coast of Honduras to help out with the Olive Ridley veda. This was amazing because it was my first interaction with turtles and gave me several ideas to help develop my current Masters and future Doctorate research. I had such a fun time getting to observe hatchling swim patterns along with recording nesting female data, which I believe gave me a new passion for sea turtles in general."

Dustin Baumbach

Dustin became a graduate student at LLU. See his page here.


Ken Lindsay 2012

"I have volunteered with several different sea turtle protection projects in Central America and the Caribbean over the past five years. My time spent in Honduras has been different from the other projects that I've been involved with. While many projects are just about data collection and have limited interaction with the local community, working with ProTECTOR Inc. one quickly becomes immersed in the community. We walked the beaches with the locals at night, working together with each turtle that was encountered. During the day we had plenty of interactions as well. We worked, talked and laughed often with the local people, who are very invested in the sea turtle egg protection project. I left feeling I had a good understanding of the community and of their daily lives. While life in remote Honduras is very different from home, the reward of knowing that I am helping turn the tide towards saving the Olive Ridley turtle in the Gulf of Fonseca, gives me the desire to return.

The other aspect of ProTECTOR Inc. that is different from other projects, is the quality of research that is taking place under Steve Dunbar's guidance. Steve and his students are asking new questions and seeking answers to currently unknown aspects of the sea turtle's life, with the hope of offering greater means of protection in the future. Steve was very willing to share the details of the projects with me, and made me feel that I was an integral part of the team."

Ken Lindsay



Christian Hayes 2013

Christian Hayes


"My time in Honduras this summer was, without a doubt, one of the most enlightening and formative experiences of my life. I spent a month on the southern coast of Honduras aiding Noemi Duran in her research and a variety of activities, including tagging turtles, teaching English to Honduran children, and setting up a children’s day celebration. At one point I even got to dress up in a turtle costume and help construct a turtle piñata for the kids. During my brief stay I also saw the abject poverty of some of the Honduran people and felt the pressing need for continued work in this area. The work being done in Honduras by ProTECTOR Inc. is truly a worthwhile cause that I look forward to continuing in the future."

Christian Hayes

Christian became a graduate student at LLU. See his page here.


Kyungje Sung 2013

"This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to work as a ProTECTOR Inc. Volunteer and Undergraduate Research Student under Dr. Dunbar in the beautiful island of Utila . I worked with turtles to observe the effects of pollution on their movements, and collaborated with the dive shops on the island to collect turtle sightings data in and around Utila. Overall, it was a great experience! It was amazing to witness the hatchlings as they crawled to the ocean despite the many obstacles in their paths. I also had the chance to see see much of Utila; snorkeling with the many fish among the reefs that surround the island, and hiking through the various mangroves that teem with all kinds of critters. I would highly recommend to anyone to participate in such a wonderful program! "

Kyungje Sung

Kyungje Sung

You can find more details the project Kungjie was involved with by viewing her poster pdf here.

Kyungjie's honors thesis may be viewed in her pdf here.


Lelyn Castilo 2013


Liesl Cole 2013

"Working with the turtle hatchlings on Utila was a fantastic experience. The people at ProTECTOR Inc. and BICA: from Ana to the rotating cast of volunteers were helpful and interested in the improvement and protection of the turtles habitat. Getting a chance to live on a tropical island, dive and work with the hatchlings was wonderful." 

Liesl Cole


Samantha Serna 2013

Samantha Serna

"I just returned from a week long volunteer trip in Honduras with Dr. Steve Dunbar. This specific project involved conservation work with Olive Ridley turtles in the small community of El Venado, Choluteca, which lies along the Gulf of Fonseca. As I worked alongside Dr. Dunbar and the people of El Venado, I felt as though I was a welcomed part of the team. By day I enjoyed walking throughout the community, conversing with the adorable children, constructing items needed for the research, and reading/relaxing in the hammocks. By night we all walked the beautiful moonlit beach in search of turtles and nests. When we found one, we would tag the turtle, measure the turtle, collect the eggs, redeposit the eggs safely in the hatchery, and perform various other aspects of research. Dr. Dunbar operates in a manner true to his website's call for real volunteers. I was never a spectator to his work, rather I was warmly and eagerly welcomed as a "colleague." Dr. Dunbar invited me to join him in almost every aspect of the daily objectives and happenings. If you want a hands on experience with turtles and research you will not be disappointed. 

Dr. Dunbar was also an invaluable source of information on sea turtles, research practices, conservation, and Honduras in general. He has a wholistic understanding Honduras, as a country and people, which truly enriches his research and your experience as a volunteer. I left the country with a broader worldview and a much deeper understanding of the people, animals, politics, economics, and history of Honduras. Dr. Dunbar graciously answered question after question as I soaked up every bit of information I could; it is evident that he truly loves his work and is dedicated to understanding the country where he conducts his research. If you could imagine everything you might walk away with from an experience such as this, just know that in actuality it will far surpass your predictions and expectations. It did for me and I will never forget this experience!"

Samantha Serna


Gabriela Ochoa 2013
  Gabriela Ochoa


Marsha Wright 2014
Marsha Wright

"Working with the ProTECTOR Inc. organization over the past two months has truly been an eye opening experience. Not only was I able to spend time on the beautiful island of Roatan participating in marine research, but also I was able to meet new people and learn many life lessons through my interactions. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and would love to do it again."

Marsha Wright

Marsha became a graduate student at LLU. See her page here.


Linda Baeza 2014

"My summer spent in Honduras was defiantly a once in a life time experience. I learned a great deal about myself and what I’m actually capable of accomplishing. On the island I was given the opportunity to learn how to scuba dive. With this new found skill I was able to assist two of the grad students with their research on the majestic hawksbill. Being able to observer these beautiful creatures pushed me to want to do more for them and other endangered species. I was also given the tasked of data collectionn from the dive shops on the island. This information was very helpful to us because it gave us a better idea which dive sites experienced a greater number of hawksbill sightings. We were also able to utilize a new program which helped us specifically identify almost every hawksbill we found on our dives. Overall, volunteering for Protector is something I will carry throughout my career and my life."

Linda Baeza

Linda Baeza


Rodney Smith 2014
Rodney Smith

"My time in Honduras working with the ProTECTOR Inc. beach monitoring on Utila was a great experience. The chance to experience a new culture and get experience in conservation while working with one of the ocean's coolest creatures was amazing. I wont say it was fun in the sun all the time but it was certainly a worthwhile experience. It opened my eyes to the need and difficulties of conservation in the world."


Rodney Smith


Selina Anaya 2015

"The short amount of time I spent on the island of Utila as a ProTECTOR Inc. Intern was an experience that I will never forget. Each day there, was full of new adventures and surprises that made me fall in love with the Island. During my stay I collected sand temperatures of a polluted area with different pollution densities. While collecting data, I was able to see a Hawksbill nest, which was an experience in itself. By the end of the trip I learned many things about myself, including my interest in Marine Biology. Overall, I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to be able to be a part of ProTECTOR Inc. and collect data that I hope will be useful for the protection and conservation of sea turtles.  A big thank you to Dr. Dunbar for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful program, I would love to do it again. "

Selina Anaya

Selina became a graduate student at LLU.

Selina Anaya


Roberto Reyna 2015
Roberto Reyna

"My experience in Utila working as a ProTECTOR Inc. Intern was great! As an undergraduate biology major, getting to put my knowledge and skills to work in the field was a great payment after studying in the classroom for the past three years. I had the opportunity to practice my Spanish and get to meet great people on Utila in the Bay Islands of Honduras! The science and work I put into my project while on the island were a big part of my trip, but another part was getting to experience the culture and interacting with scientists on the island. The trip was a blessing and has influenced me in such a way that now I will be pursuing my PhdD in biology! "

Roberto Reyna


Diana Espinoza 2015

"My time in Utila this summer with ProTECTOR Inc. is an experience I will never forget. Even though collecting data from local dive shops was a bit of a challenge, I was able to interact with people from different cultures that shared their passion for marine biology. The people were very friendly and helpful throughout our stay. Additionally, participating in the tagging of juvenile hawksbill sea turtles was an exciting experience, as well as witnessing the releasing of new hatchlings. Overall, I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be part of the group of volunteers in ProTECTOR Inc. during the summer."

Diana Espinoza

Diana Espinoza


Sara Holloway 2015
Sara Holloway

"As I sit on the plane waiting for my departure, I decided it was time for me to write about my experience. I just finished six weeks of helping Loma Linda’ University graduate student, Dustin Baumbach, with his research in Roatan. We were stationed in West End, a touristy little town with white sand beaches, palm trees, and colorful stores along the street. But my trip was not a vacation, I was there to work. The plan was to study Hawksbill sea turtles through observation, capture, measurements, blood and tissue sampling, tagging, and of course finish off with releasing the turtles back into the wild.  But this plan didn't work out. Instead of daily diving in a picture perfect coral reef with lots of hands on experience with turtles, I had a front row seat in conservation conflict and resolution. I did get to observe and help tag a couple of turtles, but our diving was cut short due to some issues with permits and misunderstandings. Days before my departure, some important steps were taken in educating the local marine park and dive shops about the importance of doing research on the local population of sea turtles. Hopefully, soon a better understanding of the benefits of turtle research will affect the policies and values of the people involved with marine conservation in Roatan."

Sarah Holloway


Emily Manzano 2016

"My experience as an intern for ProTECTOR Inc. in Utila, Honduras was unforgettable. It was a great opportunity to learn about the nature of field research, its challenges and rewards, and to learn about a different culture, as well. It was incredible to share in the passion of local organizations and individuals for nature while monitoring the nesting beach and while sharing the purpose of my research with  new friends and strangers, alike. Having the opportunity to be so close to such beautiful creatures has given me a greater appreciation and sense of responsibility for our planet."

Emily Manzano

Emily Manzano


Ryan De La Garza 2016
Ryan De La Garza

Going to Honduras and doing research as a ProTECTOR Inc. Intern, was one of the best things I have ever done in my life.  I met lots of incredible people who enjoy working in the scientific field and made many new amazing friends among them.  The people in Honduras were so nice and always willing to help.  The research that I performed as an intern for ProTECTOR Inc. gave me the opportunity to branch out from classroom learning and execute scientific procedures with my own hands through field research; that’s an experience that is invaluable and I would encourage anyone to do the same. I have the utmost gratitude for those that I worked with and for ProTECTOR Inc. that gave me the opportunity to expand my education and perspectives through such an amazing experience.

Ryan De La Garza  


Daniel Trujillo 2016

"I really enjoyed being here, the turtles are some of the sweetest, loving creatures that I have ever met. My time diving was absolutely breath taking, Its an amazing thing to see all the things I've been studying right before me. I have plenty of gorgeous footage of these Hawlksbills. Overall my time in Roatan was life changing and I hope I can join the ProTECTOR Inc. Intern Team for further research in the future, maybe even as one of your students. Thanks to the ProTECTOR Inc. Internship Program for accepting me. I was thrilled with everything I got to do in the program."

Daniel Trujillo

Daniel Trujillo


Justin Cruz Le Duc 2016
Justin Cruz  


Kevin Mahoney 2017

"Just wanted to send a quick update. Yesterday I finished up with my 10 dives. I wanted to thank you for the opportunity. It's was great getting to see real world science and conservation at work. Very inspiring! It would be great to help your organisation where I can."

Kevin Mahoney


Samantha Read 2017


Ken Lindsay 2017

This is Ken's third trip as a ProTECTOR Inc. Volunteer.

"Thanks for asking me to come to Honduras and help with the satellite tagging, it was a fun adventure for me. I'm always happy to be able to come and help with your research and to work with the turtles, as well as to hang out with you."

Ken Lindsay



2018 Interns and Volunteers


Robert Gammariello 2018
Robert Gammariello

"While I was stationed on Guanaja as a ProTECTOR Inc. intern, I participated in the first surveys of the nesting population on the island and worked with the local people in educating them as to why sea turtles are so important.  It was an amazing experience to be able to help the community establish their own conservation program and see so many hawksbill sea turtles nest.  Besides working with the community, I was also conducting research on the visual capabilities of the hatchling hawksbills.  This was my favorite part of the trip, as working with hatchlings has always been a dream of mine.  I am thrilled to have been able to conduct my own research and help the local community grow in appreciation for the beautiful turtles they have in their waters.  I look forward to continuing my research on the sea turtles of Honduras as a graduate student at Loma Linda University and look forward to working with ProTECTOR Inc. in the future."

Robert Gammariello

Robert became a graduate student at LLU. See his page here.


Emily Hardin 2018

"I had the opportunity to spend a little over a week with ProTECTOR this summer. Over my short time there, I was lucky enough to witness a hawksbill sea turtle false crawling in Utila, observe juvenile green and hawksbill behavior while diving in Roatan, explore the Bay Islands, and participate in meaningful research. What made this experience even more amazing was that I was able to share it with others who have the same passion for conservation as I do!"

Emily Hardin

Emily Hardin


Emily Hyatt 2018
Emily Hyatt

"Prior to becoming a graduate student with Dr. Dunbar at Loma Linda University, I had the opportunity to spend 5 weeks on the Bay Island of Guanaja. It was an eye-opening experience and a tremendous opportunity to better understand the relationship between conservation biology, socioeconomics, and policy.  Over the course of my internship, we were able to work with the local people to put protections in place for the future of Guanaja's turtle population, and we were rewarded with promising and expeditious positive results. This experience has given me newfound hope for the critically endangered Caribbean hawksbills and a greater appreciation for the measures taken to protect sea turtles around the world."

Emily Hyatt

Emily became a graduate student at LLU. See her page here.


Maia Bonardelli 2018

"I had the opportunity to spend two wonderful weeks with ProTECTOR, Inc. as a ProTECTOR, Inc. Volunteer, which was an amazing experience. My first real dives in the Caribbean ocean and hundreds of fish everywhere is something I will never forget. The team work was a great experience. I learned that the sound of "plonk" and a bounce, was not someone sneaking up on the porch, but a mango or two falling from the tree. I got to discover the amazing island of Roatan and witnessed multiple hawksbill and green sea turtles. I learned so many amazing things about diving, turtles, fish, and how boat traffic affects sea life. I would go back any day! Thanks to Stephen, and a wonderful mix of dedicated turtle lovers, for the extraordinary experience!!"

Maia Bonardelli

Maia Bonardelli


Ashlyn Lewis 2018
Ashlyn Lewis

My experience with ProTECTOR, Inc. was beyond measure an absolutely wonderful and life changing journey. Not only was I given the chance to jump out of my comfort zone and do things that I had never even dreamed of doing years before, but I was granted the ability to learn hands on and experience the underwater world and field biology first hand. Looking back there has truly been nothing more rewarding than spending my summer with ProTECTOR, Inc. Not only did I gain a great amount of insight into how deeply my love for biology is, but I found a deep passion for research. Dr. Dunbar allowed me to mold my very elementary skills and shaped me into the hopeful biologist I am today. I truly hope that any student that wishes or even thinks that they may want to take part in this immersive and amazing experience dive in and allow themselves the opportunity. There is nothing better than experiencing a new country and culture while diving under water and experiencing such a beautiful and undervalued world that so many people never get the chance to see.

I learned so much and had so much fun working on my research project and it would be nothing short of amazing to be included again. I'm insanely excited to see where the combined data lead us.

Ashlyn Lewis


Lindsay Marston 2018
Lindsay became a graduate student at LLU. Lindsay Marston


Ashley Marrow 2018
Ashley Morrow

"This summer, as an upcoming fourth year undergraduate student, I had the opportunity of interning for ProTECTOR Inc. in Roatán, Honduras. During my time in Roatán, I studied mutualistic and commensal feeding relationships between the Hawksbill sea turtle and various fish species. Participating in sea turtle research has shown me the importance of sea turtle conservation efforts. Conducting this research over the past summer has also broadened my scope of interest as I look toward to my future graduate studies. My time spent observing sea turtles in their natural habitat has been truly life changing. I am looking forward to the opportunity to share my experience and new understanding with others in the field. I also hope to attend and present our findings at the upcoming 2019 ISTS symposium with Dr. Dunbar and his graduate students."

Ashley Morrow


Shannon Marcy 2018
Shannon became a graduate student at LLU. Shannon Marcy


Rob McAllister 2018
Rob McAllister  


Dustin Gienger 2018

"Working with ProTECTOR, Inc. and Dr. Stephen Dunbar in Honduras was a great experience which helped me learn about marine vertebrates and reef ecosystems. I had many great opportunities to interact with endangered species and learn about common techniques used in conservation biology. Both seeing Dr. Dunbar and having the chance myself to interact with the local community members and NGOs, and assisting them in conservation activities were real highlights of the experience." 

Dustin Gienger

Dustin Gienger

2019 Interns and Volunteers

Jo Shannon, 2019 Volunteer

"I was able to travel to another country and get hands on experience working with scientists and other students. I had an amazing time helping any way I could and learning about things in another country; definitely a once in a lifetime experience! I saw so many cool things and got so much from the trip. Professor Dunbar is an amazing teacher and the trip was well worth it! I am so glad I got to participate in this program."

Jo Shannon


Laura Freeman, 2019 Volunteer

I became interested in traveling to Honduras after taking two of Professor Dunbar’s community courses at Loma Linda University. Though I am a nurse by trade, I grew up watching Jacques Cousteau and jumped at the opportunity to channel my inner marine biologist. Also, my father was a veterinarian and I’ve always enjoyed working with animals. During my time in Roatan, I was able to assist Prof. Dunbar with measurements, blood draws and observation of the turtles for injuries, parasites, and epibionts. It was very much a trip down memory lane assisting with the turtles. While my time in Roatan was focused on coral reef ecology and turtle conservation, the result of plastic pollution on the ecology of the coral reef had the most lasting impact on me.

One of the exams I assisted Prof. Dunbar was examining turtle scat. Prof. Dunbar walked me through the process of sifting through the scat with a makeshift strainer created by one of the ProTECTOR, Inc. Interns. Eventually through the process of sifting and cleaning off the solid material, remnants of coral sponges became evident. The study was to prepare the samples to potentially find tiny pieces of plastic that the turtle had ingested as a byproduct of the sponges. It is easy to discount the significance of plastic litter, however the reality of plastic finding its way into the food chain packs the most punch when it is observable in samples from an animal’s gastrointestinal tract. Of all of the experiences I had in Honduras, that one experience had the most impact on my life, and I have used that opportunity to educate my peers on the effects of plastic pollution.

Laura Freeman



Mark Oliinik, 2019 Intern

"I spent 4 weeks as a ProTECTOR, Inc. Intern in Honduras, on the islands of Roatán and Utila. I spent around a week in Utila. While in Utila we would go out at night for around 8 hours and walk the beach. Here we were able to take blood samples from the turtles, take body measurements, tag the turtles, and document them nesting. In Roatán we would dive throughout the day, take stool samples from the turtles, and document their feeding. This trip was a great way to see how biological research is done and create many good memories and experiences." 

Mark Ollinik


Sean Richards, 2019 Volunteer

"During my time in Honduras as a ProTECTOR, Inc. Volunteer, I had the opportunity to engage in research with the resident juvenile turtle population. Having a love for SCUBA diving, I've always enjoyed visiting and exploring underwater environments. As such, this trip was a great opportunity for me to not only observe the habitat and animals, but to take an active part in their protection. Additionally, our involvement in conservation gave others, both locals and tourists, the opportunity to watch and ask questions, learning more about the importance of our actions. From this, more people can be made aware of the conservation issues involved with sea turtles, and those messages can be spread in ways that would not usually be available."

Sean Richards

Sean became a graduate student at LLU. See his page here.


Nellie Covert, 2019 Intern

"The time that I was able to spend in Honduras with ProTECTOR Inc. was priceless. I enjoyed every moment of this internship, and I learned a lot. Initially, I had several questions about what this internship would be like. Dr. Dunbar does keep everyone busy, and it can be hard work. However, there is so much to be learned about conserving marine wildlife, and this is a great way to gain hands-on experience. ProTECTOR Inc. does a fantastic job of educating not only interns and volunteers but has also put forth efforts to teach Hondurans and tourists about their work. During my time there, Dr. Dunbar started a series of talks open to the public explaining his work in Roatan and the Marine Reserve. This internship is a great option for anyone that is considering work in the marine sciences. I am very grateful to have had this opportunity and am looking forward to continuing my education in Marine Biology."

Nellie Covert

Nellie became a graduate student at LLU.


Razvan Orban, 2019 Volunteer

"I loved being able to be a ProTECTOR, Inc. Volunteer to save sea turtles! I really enjoyed learning about transect lines and all the steps needed to record information about a specific turtle. I helped the ProTECTOR, Inc. research team capture turtles, then tag them, weigh them, take blood samples from each one, and finally release them!
Just the fact that I was playing a small role in helping the sea turtle population in Roatan fills me with such joy. I hope I can be involved with Steve and his ProTECTOR, Inc. research team in the years to come, so I can continue to learn about, and contribute to, sea turtle conservation!"

Razvan Orban


Miranda Wredberg, 2019 Intern

"Azure water, Spotted Eagle Rays, Hawksbill Sea Turtles, science and friends: what more could an undergrad intern ever want? This was my first introduction to scuba diving, coral reefs, endless salt water, and Honduran food, including rambutan and mangosteen. I was so blessed to be able to grab the opportunity to live in Honduras for a month with peers and scientists alike. I have gained valuable research experience from Roatán, Honduras, and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in marine life or conservation. This was a breathtakingly amazing experience. The day after I returned home I already missed the proximity to the ocean and the daily diving routine. Working within the ProTECTOR, Inc. program is an invaluable experience no one will regret taking."

Miranda Wredberg


Sebastian Tulai, 2019 Volunteer

"I was lucky to participate in the turtle research project in Roatan. I felt happy helping others and studying animals to see how we could save ocean life from going into extinction. We scuba dived every day on an amazing reef and in the deeper parts we saw many other animals I had never seen before like barracudas, groupers, and lion fish. I met smart, kind, and hardworking people who I enjoyed being with for ten days."

Sebastian Tulai


Stephen Wilkinson, 2019 Intern

"My trip to Roatán was a great experience. I was there working with ProTECTOR, Inc. for 4 weeks. We were diving 3 times a day, 6 days a week (if possible) gathering observation data of turtles before capturing and taking samples. The work we did with the sea turtles was amazing to be a part of and fun to work hands on with them. The trip as a whole was also a great learning experience. It really opened my eyes to what marine research is like. For students looking into biological research, this is a great trip to take to get a taste of what it’s like to be a researcher. Towards the end of the trip I suffered a minor ear injury from diving which caused vertigo leading to me missing out on the last week of diving. Along with my injury, Hurricane Dorian was hitting the Bahamas and Florida at that time, pulling currents from the island causing the water to become murky. Because of the bad conditions we decided to leave a week early. Even though we ran into some difficulties, the trip was still a great experience teaching me a lot.

Stephen Wilkinson


Tori Bolin, 2019 Intern

"I’m so appreciative of this internship and the diverse experiences it provided me. I learned so much about sea turtles, the realities of scientific research, and the culture of the Bay Islands. This internship is truly unique in that you can develop your own project, help graduate students with their research, and get hands on experience with different sea turtle species. Before my month in Roatán, I was unsure about what direction I wanted to take my graduate education, but now I feel confident that marine sciences are right for me. I am looking forward to the future of ProTECTOR, Inc. and hope I can continue to be a part of it."

Tori Bolin

Tori became graduate student at LLU.


Voicu Tulai, 2019 Volunteer

"Together with my son Sebastian (15) we spent a week volunteering with ProTECTOR, Inc. in Roatán, Honduras in Jun 2019. From the moment we initially contacted Steve for the application we were impressed by the level of attention and the time he put into answering all our questions and making us feel welcome and comfortable. Steve was detailed in his explanations, very patient, and helped us learn a lot about Hawksbill turtles, general scientific process, as well as managing the relation with the local community. We dived a lot, learned a lot and enjoyed every minute - all in all it was an unforgettable experience for my teenage son and his dad!"

Voicu Tulai


Walker Johnson, 2019 Intern

"Having the opportunity to be in Honduras for a month as an intern working alongside Dr. Dunbar and being able to work with the turtles was an experience that I will forever treasure. I was able to do things that many only dream of. While there, we ran into many problems that were not foreseen. But the cool thing about Dr. Dunbar and ProTECTOR, Inc. is that when working with them, you learn to be flexible and just kind of go with the flow. My favorite part of being in Honduras was being able to get my divers license and dive with the turtles, observing them underwater. Diving opened my eyes to a whole new world! I also enjoyed being able to spend time in Utila looking for nesting turtles and tagging them with the help of our friends at BICA. Getting to know the islanders and forming relationships with them over the time I was there was something that I found very rewarding as well."

Walker Johnson


Zoe Aguila, 2019 Intern

"I had the opportunity to spend 4 weeks with ProTECTOR, Inc. as an intern in Roatan, Honduras. It was an unforgettable experience that was both educating and a lot of hard work. We did up to three dives every day for 6 days out of the week gathering data about both the coral reefs and the sea turtles. During the month I spent there, I was able to receive my open-water dive certification and also conduct  research on the symbiotic feeding relationship between the hawksbill sea turtle and different fish species. This experience allowed me to develop an appreciation for the complex relationships that are present in marine habitats and to understand the importance of conservation for sea turtles. If anyone is considering pursuing a career in the marine sciences, this internship with  ProTECTOR, Inc. is the best way to get a hands-on, rewarding experience."   

Zoe Aguila


2022 Interns and Volunteers

Carolina Germakova, 2022 Volunteer

" I'm so grateful to have found a serious and excellent volunteer opportunity that I trust and can recommend to everyone who wants to experience nature, diving, science, and to enrich your brain with the knowledge of a professor who has been working on his project for more than 16 years. His passion, service, motivation, and scientific mind makes me admire what it is to be a marine biologist. From this volunteer experience I was not only able to take part in    sea turtle research, but also learn, in my case, about other sea creatures, about how to be efficient, dedicated, collaborate with other volunteers, and most importantly, have fun. I really think that all people should experience something similar."

Carolina Germakova 

Carolina Germakova


Dominic Tulai, 2022 Volunteer
Dominic Tulai  


Voicu Tulai, 2022 Volunteer
  Voicu Tulai


Treson Thompson, 2022 Intern
Treson Thompson  


Ben Streit, 2022 Intern
  Ben Streit


Jayden Wilson, 2022 Intern
Jayden Wilson

Christian Long, 2022 Intern

Christian Long





 Mallori Lloyd, 2023 Intern

" This was an amazing opportunity for me to gain field experience and understand more about how field research works in a real and tangible setting. From this trip I learned so much about sea turtles and gained valuable skills in sample and data collection and interpretation. I was also able to make create amazing friendships with the other volunteers! I am very glad I decided to pursue this volunteer opportunity with Dr. Dunbar."

Mallori Lloyd 





 Emma Carlson, 2023 Intern





  Being in Honduras was an opportunity I’m so thankful I was able to experience. Learning about sea turtles and other animals, being involved in hands-on research, and having the ability be a co-author on a scientific manuscript were all amazing opportunities. I was also able to enjoy other fun things such as scuba diving, watching the sunsets, exploring and looking for different animals, and making friends with other interns. I definitely won’t forget all the memories I made and all the interesting things I was able to learn. Overall, it's an experience you don't want do miss. 

Emma Carlson 





 2024 Interns and Volunteers

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