I am inviting applications for a graduate position that includes support as a research assistant. The appointment is to begin Summer 2021 in the School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). This position includes a research component aimed at conducting meiofaunal studies in coastal region of South Texas or genetic and taxonomic studies of mesophotic octocoral taxa of the Gulf of Mexico. The project plan will be co-developed by the applicant and Dr. Erin E. Easton with consideration of project feasibility and the successful candidate’s research interests. The successful candidate will join a collaborative team of researchers in a rapidly expanding marine science program located in one of the fastest growing, culturally diverse regions in the nation, situated minutes from South Padre Island, Laguna Madre, and the Gulf of Mexico.
Duties may include assisting with general laboratory tasks, organizing and participating in field trips to collect samples and environmental data, characterizing sediment habitats and infaunal communities, using microscopy for morphological analyses and taxon assignment, producing and analyzing genetic data, and conducting statistical analyses of these data, among others. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in biology, ecology, marine sciences, or a related field. Successful candidates must demonstrate an aptitude for research and ability to work independently. Prior field experience in or on the water and laboratory experience working with genetic markers, marine or ecology research, and statistical analyses is preferred. The successful applicant will be expected to enroll full time (Fall and Spring) in the UTRGV Ocean, Coastal, and Earth Sciences (OCES) Master of Science (MS) program pursuing the thesis option.
The available assistantship has a stipend of $15000 and a tuition scholarship of ~$7700 per year (full in-state tuition for fall and spring) for a period of two years. The project is supported through the NOAA-funded Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems (CCME). Funds are available for research supplies, conference travel, and participation in a required CCME Center-wide Core Competency Course (in Florida in July 2021 or in TBD location and dates in summer 2023) and a required 12-week NOAA Experiential Research Training Opportunity (NERTO) at a NOAA facility (TBD).
Interested applicants should send to Dr. Erin E. Easton (firstname.lastname@example.org) (1) a copy of their CV, (2) GPA and GRE scores, (3) a written statement (two pages max) of graduate research interests, and (4) contact information for two references. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. For more information on the Easton lab, visit https://eastonbenthos.org/ and https://www.utrgv.edu/seems/directory/faculty/erin%20-%20easton/index.htm
As per the NOAA award terms and conditions, students supported under this program must meet the following eligibility criteria: (1) students must be U.S. citizens, (2) be full-time postsecondary students, (3) have and maintain a minimum 3.0 grade point average, and (4) not be engaged in full-time employment outside the program and/or academic institution. Because this is a position funded by NOAA’s Educational Partnership Program for Minority Serving Institutions (EPP-MSI), preference will be given to students representing minorities. Funding to support students under this grant is provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce under award #NA16SEC4810009.
In addition, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in biology, ecology, marine sciences, or a related field. Successful candidates must demonstrate an aptitude for research, capability to work in the field, and ability to work independently. Prior laboratory experience working with genetic markers, marine or ecology research, video analyses, and statistical analyses is preferred. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.2 is preferred and minimum new GRE scores of verbal 150 and quantitative 153 are required. GRE requirement may be waived given the current state of the pandemic. The successful applicant will be expected to enroll full time (Fall and Spring) in the OCES MS program. The successful applicant is expected to work in the laboratory at the Port Isabel campus at ~20 hr/wk but may need to attend classes at the Brownsville or Edinburg campus.