Maine-eDNA Undergraduate Student Employment Opportunity

Undergraduate Student Employees

Environmental DNA (eDNA)


Full-time, starting May 2023

Overview: The Maine-eDNA program is seeking undergraduate students to join our team, a state-wide, multi-institutional initiative establishing Maine as a national leader in environmental monitoring, ecological understanding, and sustainability of coastal ecosystems ( Students will have the opportunity to participate through internship experiences in a range of research projects including fieldwork (for example, eDNA sampling at freshwater and marine sites), laboratory work and/or work in other STEM fields. As part of the Maine-eDNA team, undergraduate employees will gain hands-on research experience and can participate in additional professional development opportunities. These positions are full-time (up to 40 hours per week; $13.80/hr or higher) during May through August, with the option to continue working part-time during the academic year.

Job Description: Undergraduate employees will contribute to the Maine-eDNA project by participating in research internships in one of five regions in the state (Casco Bay – 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 be matched with a research team and participate in one or more of a variety of projects.  These projects include:

Index Site Sampling – an ongoing uniform water sampling and metadata collection project conducted at established freshwater, estuarine, and/or marine sampling sites (i.e., Index Sites). In this project, 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.

eDNA Projects – students will have the opportunity to work with teams focused on a range of eDNA focused research.  To date, interns have been involved in a wide range of studies applying the tools of eDNA to examine marine and freshwater organisms such as fish, sharks, mammals, lobster, crabs, scallops, sea slugs, other invertebrates, plants, algae and fungi.

STEM projects – opportunities will be available in eDNA aligned STEM fields that include experiences with a broad range of scientific research projects.

In all projects, undergraduate students will work in a team setting and closely with research project team lead(s), graduate students, other undergraduates and/or related research scientists.

Financial support for housing or transportation can be provided to enable participation.

Qualifications: Successful candidates will be motivated students interested in scientific research in freshwater or marine environments and an interest in using molecular eDNA tools in environmental or ecological research. Ideally, 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 but we will also consider candidates with evidence of potential to develop regardless of prior experience. 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 2023 (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, but in some cases projects may be virtual or hybrid in nature and thus can be conducted remotely and/or by using public transport.


To apply, please send the following application materials to Maine EPSCoR at (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), and statement about housing need, (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, 2023, with a start date in early to mid-May.

Please 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.