Category Archives: Undergraduate Research Opportunities

2019 REU Program in Marine Science University of Delaware

The Summer REU Program in Marine Science at the University of Delaware, is an NSF-Funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program for Summer 2019. Applications are due Friday, February 8th. We especially encourage applications from students from community colleges, institutions with limited research opportunities and from underrepresented groups in ocean science.

Supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Division of Ocean Sciences, this REU program supports ten undergraduate students to conduct research in chemical, physical, or biological oceanography, marine biology or marine geology.  The program will take place at the University of Delaware’s Hugh R. Sharp campus in the resort community of Lewes, located on the shores of the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean. In addition to hands-on research experience, student support includes a $6,200 stipend, campus housing, and travel assistance.

More information and the application can be found on our website. You may also be interested to hear directly from former interns, or see one of our recent field trips.

For more information, please contact:

Joanna York
Director, UD REU program in Marine Science

Spit4Science recruiting undergrad research assistants for next Spring

What is Spit4Science?

  • VCU-wide research project
  • Goal: understand how genetic and environmental factors come together to influence a variety of health-related outcomes in the VCU undergraduate population

Why be involved?

  • Be involved in recruitment, marketing, data collection and analysis, and other research activities
  • Work in teams to develop research questions and analyze Spit for Science data
  • Meet different faculty involved in the project

Class Details

  • Application only
  • Three credits
  • A-F grading system
  • Students from all class, levels and majors are encouraged to apply

Questions? Please contact

Apply via

Applications due by Monday, October 29th at 5:00 PM.

Cancer Research Opportunity Summer 2019

VCU Biology received the following communication:

We invite your best students to apply for our NIH/NCI-funded (5 R25CA023944-35) Pediatric Oncology Education (POE) Program. The program offers a unique opportunity for pre-doctoral students preparing for careers in the biomedical sciences, medicine, and pharmacy to gain biomedical and oncology research experience. Students participate in basic or clinical oncology research, research and clinical conferences, and a core lecture series designed specifically for them. All participants make a PowerPoint presentation on their research project and submit a report on their research project written in the style of a journal in which their faculty mentor publishes.

A primary goal of the POE program is to encourage students to pursue a career in cancer research. Thus, we are particularly interested in highly qualified students with a serious career interest in cancer research, either as a clinical scientist or laboratory-based research scientist. The St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences was recently established to offer training in leading-edge scientific fields paired with unique mentoring in the St. Jude clinical experience. Highly motivated POE students would have opportunities to join the third class of the Graduate School in August, 2019.

All POE program applicants must have research experience at the time they apply. The POE 2018 class average undergraduate GPA was 3.85. Our POE 2018 class of 55 students from 44 schools in 25 states were selected from over 500 applicants. POEs must be United States citizens, non-citizen nationals, or possess a visa permitting permanent residence in the United States (required by the funding agency). All must have completed at least their college sophomore year by the time they participate. POE medical students spend a minimum of 10 weeks in the program. The minimum tenure requirement for all others is 11 weeks. All POE applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.40 (on a 4.0 scale) in math and science (biology, chemistry, and physics) and at least a 3.40 overall. The subsistence allowance will be $400/per week for undergraduates, and $480/week for all others. Fully furnished group housing will be provided at no cost for non- local participants.

The POE home page contains links to the program application. The deadline for receipt of all 2019 application materials is February 1, 2019. Early application is highly recommended, since completed applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Members of under-represented ethnic minority groups and women are particularly encouraged to apply, since one of our major long-term program goals is to increase the diversity of persons engaged in oncology research and practice.

Andrew Kirk: Lotic Ecosystem Ecology

Andrew Kirk: VCU Center for Environmental Studies
Dr. Daniel McGarvey
Lotic Ecosystem Ecology

What were the primary factors that influenced your decision to participate in Undergraduate Research?

I was introduced to the film Never Cry Wolf (1983) where a researcher, Farley Mowat, is dropped into the Canadian wilderness to monitor how wolves impact the elk in the area. Seeing this film planted the seed for me to return to college, switch my major to Biology, and find something I was passionate about. Pursuing ecology and animal organismal courses further increased my desire to jump into research.

Did you register for academic credit? Participate in a research program? Or Volunteer?

I registered for academic credit following my stint as a volunteer undergraduate field assistant to Dr. McGarvey. He and I talked about setting up an independent study. However, both of us were made aware of the Undergraduate Research & Thesis program that exists within the Biology department headed by Dr. Sarah Golding and I took part in the program.

How did you find your mentor?

While taking Population Ecology in the spring of 2013 I met Matt Rouch, a M.S. student that works in McGarvey’s lab. He mentioned that they needed help collecting fish and macroinvertebrate samples in the mountain streams of West Virginia. I jumped at the chance, met Dr. McGarvey for the first time when he interviewed me for 1 of 2 spots, and I was selected to assist him that summer.

Untitled2For you, what were the benefits of a research experience?

Honestly, the overriding benefit was that it was life changing. Instead of graduating in the fall of 2013 with a vague appreciation of ecology and a job as a shoe salesman (no joke), I am now pursuing my Master’s in Biology here at VCU. Besides that minor detail, I was able to pick the brain of Dr. McGarvey concerning both research and the life of a scientist after receiving a degree. And of course, I learned new skills such as setting up and breaking down study sites, electrofishing, bug sampling, preparation of a scientific manuscript, and identification of insects and fish.

What would you say to a student who is considering Undergraduate Research?

Do it! If you’re at VCU wander around the Life Science Building. Go up and down the stairwells and keep an eye out for fliers looking for undergraduate help. Talk to your professors about their research (you’ll find they’re up to very fascinating work!) and see if you can chip in any way. And most importantly, find a subject that intrigues you because otherwise you’ll just slog through the process.

At what point in your studies did you start your research experience?

I was a late bloomer. I started my research experience the summer between my junior and senior year.

Please also provide a short bio below (include a brief description of your career goals)
Every since I was a kid I loved spending time outside in the woods near the Po River of Spotsylvania, Virginia. In my spare time I hike around the Appalachian Mountains, kayak, run, and volunteer at a local Richmond dog rescue. After obtaining my Master’s, I will either pursue a PhD. or find a job in either a state agency or environmental consulting group before returning for a PhD. No matter which direction I go, I intend to continue researching lotic and mountainous ecosystems.

Please provide links to any news articles, publications etc related to your experience

Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting, 2014

Presentation: Rouch, M.G., McGarvey, D.J., Kirk, A.: Annual Production, assemblage composition and biomass of fish in three southern West Virginia Stream

Poster: Kirk, A.J., McGarvey, D.J., Rouch, M.G.: Benthic macrointertebrate assemblage structure and biomass in pristine streams of southern West Virginia.

Rouch, M.G., McGarvey, D.J., & Kirk, A. 2014. Summer fish assemblage structure and biomass in southern West Virginia streams. (in review).


Matthew Hurd: Braunschweig – Germany

Matthew Hurd: Braunschweig – Germany

What were the primary factors that influenced your decision to study abroad?

I never thought Id be the kind of person who would study abroad. In fact, I never thought I would leave Richmond. I was becoming competent in the German language by practicing religiously on Skype with Germans I had met through a language exchange website. These Germans were all STEM students (a pharmacist, a mathematician, a chemist and a computer programmer). By learning about their experiences in Germany, I quickly became inspired by how the country has become a world leader in STEM education. I wanted to experience firsthand how the country operated and why it was so successful, so I decided to make an appointment with the study abroad office (GEO).  The rest is history.

What program and destination did you choose?

What manifested from this decision to meet with GEO was something I never expected. I ended up studying abroad in Braunschweig, Germany for ten months.  Technische Universität Braunschweig is an engineering and science university with a focus on practical, applied learning.

What classes did you take while abroad and how would you compare them to taking courses on campus at VCU?

I transferred back second semester Biochemistry, Ecological Biochemistry, and Plant Biochemistry. I also completed a Molecular Genetics laboratory course. The most challenging part was the lab work. German biology students are rather advanced in lab and analytical skills as their education focuses on intensive, hands-on approaches. I had to interact and write my tests and lab reports in German. It was extremely challenging at first because my German lacked the vocabulary to express scientific ideas, but I overcame this with the help of my German peers. As a result, my competency in the language skyrocketed.

Bachelor students in Braunschweig have an intensive curriculum. Their first year consists of biology, biochemistry, organic and inorganic chemistry, plant and animal sciences, genetics and microbiology. This is all with a laboratory experience, too. They only have to do one or two electives for their whole degree! This is quite different from an American Bachelors education in which the focus is more on liberal arts and theory. I was way behind when I started, but I worked hard to gain these skills and competencies in the laboratory.

Additionally, I attended German language courses and lectures in fields such as genetics, geomicrobiology, physics for biologists, and environmental toxicology. I even studied Spanish and Swedish! I was happy to study here. I think the laboratory, analytic and practical education complimented VCUs theoretical approach. When I returned to VCU, I was able to take my new laboratory experience and use it in Dr. Wenheng Zhangs lab. 

What research did you participate in while abroad?

All biology students in Germany are required to do thesis work. In fact, the top German universities require such an experience for the acceptance into a Masters program, so many foreigners (like Americans) may be excluded. Thesis work entails much more than your own project. You are expected to work nine to five every day in the lab for three to five months.  Perhaps the most exciting part of my time in Germany was meeting a post-doc who invited me to do research for five months. Starting in May, I will work full-time in her lab assisting current research studies and undertaking my own research project. Her lab focuses on understanding and mapping specific pathways in the cell that are involved in the inflammatory response. Personally, I will research the cross-talk between Glucocorticoids and Interleukin-6 on the expression of a relatively unknown gene Redd1. Im extremely excited to improve my laboratory and research skills and to work in a collaborative environment. My advisor is a biochemist, more or less. We will be using molecular biology and biochemical approaches to answer our questions. Im thankful that I was able to take all the biochemistry and molecular biology and get the related lab experience for it in Braunschweig.

For you, what were the benefits of studying abroad?

I learned cross-cultural skills and experienced how another country operates, both culturally and academically.  I became even more proficient in German and had the chance to travel around Germany and other countries including Czech Republic, Denmark and Sweden.  I experienced first-hand why Germany is an economic and scientific leader of the world. I dont know what is in store for my future, but I know my study abroad and international research experience will help me in graduate school or professional work.  I hope everyone reading this ignores your study abroad anxieties and make an appointment with the GEO office to discuss your possibilities.  You never know what will happen.

What would you say to a student who is considering studying abroad?

For prospective study abroad students, I have advice for you based of my own experiences. My time in Germany wasnt a cakewalk. I did have many set-backs and challenges.

  • Start your research early. Due dates for scholarships and applications are usually way in advance.
  • Work closely with your GEO and biology department advisor. Your GEO advisor will help you find programs and funding opportunities and help you navigate the logistics. Before you go make sure your prospective coursework will transfer back. Understand how your experience will affect your intended graduation date and discuss getting prerequisites done for classes you may take abroad.
  • Find a way to make your experience abroad work FOR you! Although I had a semester left at VCU, I found work in Dr. Zhangs lab. I was able to use my laboratory experience in genetics to assist in her lab. People with international experience stand out academically and professionally as well-rounded and motivated individuals.


VCU Bug Lab Internship

Like Bugs?

Want lab experience?

The “VCU Bug Lab” is looking for a few new research
interns (unpaid) to assist with insect rearing and field
collecting this summer and fall. Applicants must be
reliable and cooperative, and available at least 8-10 hrs a
week, especially on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

For more information stop by the Bug Lab (033 LSB; enter
through 029 LSB) or contact Dr. Karen Kester:

Spit for Science recruiting undergrad research assistants for Fall 2018

Spit4Science is now accepting applications for the Fall 2018 undergraduate research team. I wondered if you all might be willing to spread the word about this opportunity? I’m attaching our informational flyer that also contains a link to the application.

VCU-wide research project
Goal: understand how genetic and environmental factors
come together to influence a variety of health-related outcomes
in the VCU undergraduate population

Be involved in recruitment, marketing, data collection and
analysis, and other research activities
Work in teams to develop research questions and analyze
Spit for Science data
Meet different faculty involved in the project

Application only
Three credits
A-F grading system
Students from all class levels and majors are
encouraged to apply

Questions? Please contact

Apply via 

Applications due by Monday, March 26 at 5:00 PM.


Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is now accepting applications for our 2018 Horticulture Research Internship.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is now accepting applications for our 2018 Horticulture Research Internship.

Job Description

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden’s Horticulture Team is seeking an inquisitive, dynamic, hard-working and enthusiastic research intern who is excited about spending the summer learning the art and craft of horticulture while implementing and completing a plant-based research project. The intern will work in all Garden areas, assisting staff and volunteers with the challenging, hands-on tasks of managing and curating a wide variety of seasonal displays, garden areas, plant collections and departmental initiatives. When not scheduled to conduct research, the intern can expect to weed, rake, groom, prune, plant, mulch and haul debris in seasonal extremes and all weather conditions on a daily basis.


Research Tasks

  • Work with Director and Manager of Horticulture to execute a summer research project, designed to address a current challenge faced by the Horticulture Department (examples of past topics: water quality monitoring, integrated pest management resources and strategies, food crop production, medicinal plants and benthic macroinvertebrate population surveys)
  • Compile research into a user-friendly resource to share with the department, Garden and guests
  • Prepare and present a report of experience, procedures and findings to Garden staff and guests

Horticulture Tasks

  • Assist horticulturists in all areas of the Garden with wide variety of primary garden care tasks, including planting, mulching, grooming, watering, fertilizing, weeding, etc., using best horticulture practices in accordance with established Garden standards
  • Participate in routine group tasks such as leaf blowing walkways and string trimming weeds
  • Perform routine maintenance on Garden power tools and equipment such as filling gas cans, re-stringing trimmers, cleaning and sanitizing tools, and keeping equipment organized and tidy

To apply, please see the full 2018 Horticulture Research Intern job description and forward a resume and cover letter to George Cowart, Horticulture Manager, at

Would you mind pushing out or posting the following the attached job description?

For additional information, please visit the employment page of our website.

 Thank you so much,



 Laurel Matthew
Senior Horticulturist

804.262.9887, ext. 333 804.929.5857

1800 Lakeside Avenue
Richmond, VA 23228

2018 Call for Applications for VCU IMSD undergraduate research training program

Calling future Scientists!
Are you passionate about science, ready to immerse yourself in research, looking for a community of like-minded peers, craving career development opportunities and interested in pursuing graduate education?
The Center on Health Disparities is excited to request applications for:
The VCU Initiative to Maximize Student Development (IMSD) undergraduate research training program.
We are looking to recruit 10 eager young biomedical or behavioral researchers from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in the biomedical sciences who are excited to engage in a research intensive curriculum and a long term biomedical or behavioral research experience.
More details about what the program has to offer can be found below.
The deadline for applications is: March 16th 2018
Prospective students can apply online here:
If you have any further questions about the program please contact myself
Dr. Sarah Golding, Director of the VCU Undergraduate IMSD program
For questions regarding the application process please contact.
Ms Khiana Meade
IMSD Program Coordinator
We look forward to reviewing your applications!

The VCU Initiative for Maximizing Student Development undergraduate program (IMSD-ugrad) provides research training in the Biomedical and Behavioral sciences for individuals from groups traditionally underrepresented in biomedical research.  IMSD is designed to prepare students to apply for PhD programs in the Biomedical or Behavioral Sciences. IMSD Scholars are typically admitted as rising sophomores or juniors and are involved in program activities through graduation. The program provides:

¨ Lab Skills “bootcamp”
¨ Up to 2 Full years of Mentored  Research!
      – 2 x 10 week (40 hr per week)  Summer Research Fellowships
      – 12 hr per week Semester Mentored Research
¨ Opportunity to travel to and present at a national scientific conference
¨ GRE preparation
¨ Career development counseling
¨ Community of like-minded peers
¨ Local and National Networking

 Program Specifics:
The VCU Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) research training program is hosted by the Center on Health Disparities (CoHD), VCU School of Medicine. IMSD is part of a federal initiative to increase the diversity of the future biomedical and behavioral workforce. Funding for this program comes from National Institute of General Medicine IMSD program

Applications for 2018 are open now and close on March 16th 2018. Apply online:

Successful applicants must have a strong desire to pursue a PhD in the Biomedical or Behavioral Sciences. Applicants must have at minimum 3 remaining semesters at VCU but are encouraged to apply as early as their freshman year. A GPA over 2.8 in major is preferred. Eligible applicants must be current full-time VCU undergraduate students, and must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents or non-citizen nationals. Proof of citizenship status or resident status will be required. Applicants can be from any Science major (eg. BIOL, BNFO, BME, CHEM, CLSE, PSYCH).

Successful applications will be expected to participate in a 1 week “Molecular lab skills bootcamp” from May 14th-18th to prepare them for their laboratory experiences.  Students will receive help with securing a research mentor but are encouraged to start this process before being admitted (this will be seen as a positive!).

There are 4 key elements to our training program:
Intensive summer research program – IMSD scholars must dedicate 40 hours a week for 10 weeks (May 29th – Aug 3rd) in the summer to research. During the summer program scholars participate in an array of enrichment activities such as; seminars (on careers, research, graduate school), Discussions with professors, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows, and other research themed topics. Students must participate in the CoHD GRE preparation course.(offered in July). We provide a small amount of financial support for the IMSD summer research program. Scholars must arrange and pay for their own housing during this time. Scholars can participate in 2 consecutive summers of research via the IMSD program.

A llong-termmentored research experience – After the initial summer in a research lab, IMSD Scholars are expected to dedicate 10-12 hours of time to research during the semester in addition to their academic commitments.  We provide a small amount of financial support for this experience.

Research intensive curriculum – IMSD scholars will receive specialized advising to help  select research based

classes during your normal academic schedule to compliment the training we provide. We will help you select these within your specific discipline but strongly recommend BIOL392 Introduction to Research, and an honors thesis if possible.

Mentorship and Community – IMSD undergraduate is one of 4 research training programs in the CoHD family. We aim to act as mentors to your future, to help provide the additional support you need to make your dreams become reality. We hope to introduce you to a community of likeminded peers with whom you can form a network. We anticipate the friends and connections you make through IMSD and other CoHD research training programs will last a lifetime. In order to achieve this we require you to attend an array of enrichment activities offered via our research training colloquium (~3 hours a month). These meetings are typically 3-5 pm of Friday afternoons; we request that you schedule your classes/work around this time to maximize your ability to participate. Scholars are required to attend 75% of IMSD events.

We look forward to receiving your applications! Please email with any questions.

IMSD Undergrad FLYER 2018 FINAL







Forest Field Technician

The Gough Forest Ecology Lab ( at Virginia Commonwealth University seeks paid undergraduate research technicians for the summer 2018 field season. Technicians will contribute to National Science Foundation supported research at the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS) aimed at advancing understanding of disturbance effects on forest growth and carbon cycling ( Summer residence at the Field Station in Pellston, Michigan is required ( Our lab team and the UMBS community are highly collaborative, with all members expected to enthusiastically participate in group field research activities and lab gatherings.

Applicants should submit a 1-page cover letter describing how this position is aligned with their interests, and a curriculum vita with GPA and references included by February 15 to Chris Gough,