Join the Global Change Limnology Lab
|Undergraduate Student Opportunities||Graduate Student/ Post-doc Opportunities|
Our lab recognizes the value of providing experiences for undergraduate participation in research. We offer many unique opportunities for undergraduate students to gain hands-on research experience through immersion in the process of science. Students see the process through from start to finish by
- visiting the literature to find an area of research that piques their curiosity,
- determining what is known and where there are gaps in the research,
- developing a research question and hypotheses,
- designing and carrying out experiments,
- analyzing results, and
- presenting research to other lab members or at a research conference.
When students first begin conducting research, members of the lab provide guidance through pairings with graduate students and frequent discussions with Dr. Williamson. As students become more familiar with their research topic, they become more comfortable working independently. Weekly lab meetings facilitate discussion of lab research projects and provide valuable feedback from other lab members. Independent Study Research can be conducted for credit by registering for ZOO 320 (for grade), or ZOO 277, 377, and 477 (credit/no credit, specific course depends on year in school).
Undergraduate Summer Scholar Program
Summer research opportunities also are available for undergraduate students. Miami University offers research credit and funding for summer research projects through the Undergraduate Summer Scholar (USS) program. As participants in the USS program, students conduct a 9-week research project. In the Global Change Limnology Lab, this often involves travel to some spectacular field sites during a portion of that 9-week period. Recipients of USS awards earn 6 research credits as well as a stipend and funding for research materials and travel. Because 9 weeks often isn't enough time to become familiar with the literature and appropriate techniques related to an in-depth research project, students are encouraged to sign up for 1-3 research credits during the spring semester prior to their USS research experience so they can hit the ground running when the 9-week research period begins. Most students also benefit from a follow-up project in the fall during which they analyze their data and are involved in writing up their work for a paper that often is part of a larger publication.
Past Undergraduate Awards
Kate Hackett was selected to be a 2012 Hughes Intern. She studied how optical properties of water from different sources change over time by incubating water samples in Lake Lacawac (Pennsylvania). Kate says "my experience was one of the highlights of my undergraduate career. I was able to take my research experience to a new level by planning and running my own independent experiment. Everything about this experience was truly hands on and it challenged me to think critically and expanded my scientific education while providing me with amazing friends and memories that I will not soon forget!"
Claire Meikle, who earned a USS award in 2011, expanded her work on parasites and zooplankton
to test the effects of UV on an amphibian parasite. Through the USS program, she was able to work with a new species,
and collaborate with another lab in the department. Claire explains that "the USS program is a great opportunity for students to work closely with graduate students and faculty and
to experiment with techniques. My USS project gave me the opportunity to expand my research and investigate new projects and venues of study, motivated me to learn about a new subject,
and above all allowed me to develop my capabilities as a researcher and collaborator."
Cody Green earned a USS award for summer 2009. Cody's research focused on reconstructing historic DOC patterns in Emerald Lake using sediment cores. He coupled patterns from the field with analyses using advanced instrumentation in the lab to contribute to a broader research question- how do changes in climate affect the diatom and zooplankton communities of alpine lakes?
Sam Lee received a USS award for summer 2008. According to Sam, "the USS program allowed me to participate in something I would never have otherwise had the opportunity to experience. I had the opportunity to work in the best "office" I could imagine as part of a priceless, hands-on learning experience of every aspect of the research process. The only downside is that you can only participate in the USS program once!"
Mike Cohen also was awarded a USS for summer 2008. Mike says, "the greatest part of the experience was getting to be out in Pennsylvania and Lake Tahoe and working long days outside. While most summer jobs keep people indoors, I got to spend my time outside working on projects that most people would never have the opportunity to experience. I would definitely recommend the USS program to other undergraduate students because it is the research experience of a lifetime, and it will help students decide whether or not research should be their career future."
From May through August, the Global Change Limnology Lab is busy collecting large amounts of data and numerous samples from the field that must be analyzed and processed throughout the school year. During the academic year, undergraduates often are hired to help with these tasks as well as culture maintenance and helping the lab manager with other general lab tasks. To inquire about available positions, contact Erin Overholt.
Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows
Dr. Williamson advises graduate students seeking Master's or PhD degrees and frequently supports postdoctoral fellows. PhD students have the opportunity to work towards a degree in the Department of Biology or the new Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology (EEEB) program. The EEEB program enables PhD students to cross disciplines through partnerships with a variety of departments, including Botany, Microbiology, Zoology, Geology, and Geography. Contact Dr. Williamson if you're interested in pursuing a graduate degree or learning more about postdoctoral opporunities in the Global Change Limnology Lab. Visit Miami University's Graduate School web site to find out more about the the university's graduate program.