Undergraduate Student Employees

Environmental DNA (eDNA)

Maine-eDNA Index Sites

Full-time, starting May 2022

Overview: Environmental DNA (eDNA) is like a genetic fingerprint of a freshwater or marine ecosystem. We are seeking undergraduate student employees to join the Maine-eDNA team, a state-wide, multi-institutional initiative establishing Maine as a national leader in environmental monitoring, ecological understanding, and sustainability of coastal ecosystems (https://umaine.edu/edna/). The primary responsibility of the undergraduate employees will be to conduct field sampling at freshwater and marine sites, providing the opportunity for students to learn about field work as well as molecular genetics. As part of the Maine-eDNA team, undergraduate employees will gain hands-on research experience and other professional skills to advance their careers. These positions are full-time (40 hours per week $12.90/hr except in Portland which is $13.00/hr) during May through August, with the option to continue working part-time during the academic year. We are considering all candidates for full-time positions in the summer months, with a preference for candidates who will continue working part-time on Index Site sampling during the fall and winter.

Job Description: Undergraduate employees will contribute to a major objective of the Maine-eDNA project by participating in Index Site sampling in one of five regions in the state (Casco – with University of New England and University of Southern Maine; Damariscotta – with Darling Marine Center and Bigelow Laboratory; Penobscot – with UMaine Orono; Downeast – with UMaine Machias; and Hurricane Island). Within each region, undergraduate employees will work in small teams to conduct uniform sampling and metadata collection at established freshwater, estuarine, and/or marine sampling sites (i.e., Index Sites). The undergraduates will be involved in preparing for Index Site sample collection, working in the field to collect water samples and environmental measurements at Index Sites, processing samples back at the laboratory using standard protocols, and entering Index Site metadata into a database. Index Sites will be sampled once a month from May to October and then twice during the winter months (Dec-March). Index Site sampling is expected to be the employees’ top priority during the student employee, occupying about 50% of the employees’ time on the project during May-August and up 100% of their time on the project in September, October, and winter. When not working on Index Site sampling activities, employees will participate in other aspects of the Maine-eDNA project as defined by their supervisor. In addition to being supervised by the Index Site sampling team lead(s) in each region, each employee will be assigned a graduate student and/or research scientist supervisor as overseen by senior personnel.

Qualifications: Successful candidates will be motivated students interested in scientific research in freshwater or marine environments, with strong academic track record in coursework related to Maine-eDNA objectives, and an interest in using molecular eDNA tools in environmental or ecological research. Students should have demonstrated experience in working independently in a research laboratory, ability to conduct scientific research in a careful manner, and interest in conducting field work. Although not required, students with experience in laboratory analytical chemistry, molecular methods, computational science, or bioinformatics is a plus. Applicants should have a willingness to work in uncomfortable conditions, outside of the hours of a typical business day and have the ability to lift at least 25 pounds. Applicants must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at a university or college. Students who will graduate with their Bachelor’s degree in spring 2022 (or have graduated prior to this) are not eligible. Applicants must be a Maine resident or, if not a Maine resident, attending a university or college in Maine. Successful applicants should ideally have a valid driver’s license and an acceptable driving record.


To apply, please send the following application materials to Maine EPSCoR at maine.epscor@maine.edu: (1) Cover letter explaining interest, qualifications for this position and work location preference (Casco – with University of New England and University of Southern Maine; Damariscotta – with Darling Marine Center and Bigelow Laboratory; Penobscot – with UMaine Orono; Downeast – with UMaine Machias; and Hurricane Island), (2) current resume or CV, (3) a copy of unofficial academic transcript, and (4) a list of the names and contact information of three references of anyone familiar with your work performance including teachers. Applications are being accepted immediately until positions are filled. We anticipate making decisions about successful candidates by March 31, 2022, with a start date in early to mid-May.

Please feel free to share this opportunity with your local institution, as this is open to all undergraduate students (enrolled at least half time) in Maine, regardless of their institution. Applicants must either be enrolled in a Maine college program or be a resident of Maine.