We focus on innovative, relevant science, while also working to increase public engagement and inform equitable, inclusive, science-based solutions for people and nature. We believe that work-life balance and good time management make for better science without burnout. We do not subscribe to the demoralizing job scarcity mindset. Instead, we see that there are many rewarding jobs in science (academic and non-academic, being equally valuable). These jobs can be yours with thoughtful preparation and strategic planning. If this sounds like a good fit for you, read on for opportunities.
I am happy to support postdoctoral fellowship applications for our institutional fellowship, due January 15, 2021. Please contact me with your CV and research interests to begin that conversation. I am also happy to support applications for external funding and I may have some funding for work on existing projects to complement it. Please get in touch.
Graduate student opportunities
I accept PhD students through the Interdisciplinary Program in Marine Biology (MARB-IDP; TAMUG) OR the Ecology and Evolution Interdisciplinary Degree Program (EEB; TAMU). The deadline for applying is late fall/winter. Please see program links below for more info.
I accept MS students through the MARB-IDP (TAMUG) only. I only accept thesis (research-focused) MS students. Like PhD positions, MS positions are funded (tuition, fees, stipend)
Undergraduate opportunities and internships for TAMUG undergraduates will be available on a rotating basis. Please contact me with your interest and availability.
When positions are available, I accept PhD students through the Interdisciplinary Degree Program in Marine Biology at TAMUG (“MARB-IDP”) and through Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at TAMU (“EEB”; College Station, transitioning to TAMUG after year 1), and MS students through MARB-IDP only.
Positions are funded through a combination of research assistant-ships, fellowships, and TA-ships. Final acceptance into the lab is dependent on being able to ensure a funding plan is in place to support you. Students should have research interests related to global change in benthic, coastal marine or estuarine communities and ecosystems, and/or invertebrate fisheries. For Ph.D. positions, applicants should have some research experience, preferably (but not necessarily) in coastal/marine systems, or data science experience if you plan to focus mostly on modeling. My lab works largely in oyster, mussel, and seagrass beds, and other benthic communities dominated by invertebrates. A willingness to work in the field and conduct both field and laboratory experiments is encouraged. Alternatively, you may be interested in ecological modeling.
We are committed to equity, inclusion, and diversity in science. It is part of my mission and the lab vision to help change the face of marine science by training and supporting the next generation of BIPOC, LGBTQ+, disabled, and/or female-identified marine science leaders. Feel free to ask me more about this. We also encourage applicants who may be older than stereotypical graduate students. More about research in my lab can be found here. I suggest getting in touch with me early in the fall if you are considering applying in winter for the following year’s admittance (Here’s a helpful blog post on inquiring to potential graduate mentors.)
How to inquire about and apply to my lab
Prospective students should begin by reviewing the research themes in my lab. Then, look at the program website and application requirements at TAMUG and/or TAMU. If you are interested in applying, please send me a very short email with your general interest, intent to pursue a PhD or MS, and your CV. Be sure to include academic and non-academic work on your CV, and be clear what was paid and what was volunteer-based, and dates. Title attachments with your last name (e.g., “Jurgens_CV.pdf”).
If I think my lab could be a good fit for your interests and experience, I will ask you to then send me an email with concise answers to the questions below and a writing sample (this can be a paper or thesis you wrote). I will follow up with top candidates to discuss moving forward. It is best if you start this process early. Please apply for an application fee ($50) waiver if you need one (see the program websites). Please note that the GRE is NOT currently required for either program. Research shows that it is a poor and biased predictor of graduate success. (If you must submit GRE scores for other applications, you may want to see these free study resources and GRE fee reduction information).
- What are your research interests and why? (You do not need to have an exact thesis/dissertation project proposal, but I encourage you to provide examples of potential projects you would be interested in pursuing. It is important to tell me why you have the research interests you do. What inspires you to think you want to work on these questions for your career?)
- Are you pursuing a Master’s degree or a PhD and why do you want that degree? What do you hope to do with it? (There is no “right” answer here, but it will help me understand your particular career goals.)
Include all prior jobs on your CV, including non-academic ones, and note if you were in school at the time. Prior work experience, regardless of the job, is looked on favorably, as are the experiences and skills built by first-generation, transfer and re-entry students, BIPOC students, and those with dis-or-different abilities. I strongly encourage BIPOC students, students with disabilities, neurodiverse, non-traditional or re-entry, multilingual, and LGBTQIA students to apply. You belong in science and your unique experiences are needed. Science will better serve humans and nature when the breadth of humanity is represented and the interests of all communities are respected. In this lab, we also realize there are many extra challenges for people who contribute to diversifying marine science, and we know that most science spaces and institutional systems are not currently set up for equity and inclusion. We are working to change that, and we persist although the change is too slow (as it is with all social justice movements). We welcome all who want to help, which sometimes looks like just showing up as you and doing science. We are prepared to support you and value your unique skills and perspectives.
Is this the right lab for you?
I am best suited to advise students interested in field and laboratory-based experimental ecology, especially studies of interactions among organisms, populations, communities, and the physical environment.
I make a deep commitment to every student who works with me, and each will receive a substantial amount of my time and our lab’s resources. In return, I require students joining my lab to be curious, focused, deeply motivated to accomplish their degree, have plenty of initiative, and be willing to ask questions. Successful students will have personal resilience, solid oral and written communication skills, little fear of math, be able to work independently and as part of a diverse team, and be mature enough to take responsibility for your own success. You should also be willing to seek and receive feedback from a variety of sources to further develop these and other skills. I am happy to work with people who would like to apply their training outside academia. It is helpful if you know what kind of job you are hoping to pursue so we can best craft a professional development plan for you.
My goal is to support graduate students as they develop into scientific leaders who will launch themselves creatively and thoughtfully into investigating problems facing people and nature. I strive to create a supportive, engaging environment for students to build their skills and develop their own research niches.
Choosing a graduate advisor is serious business. A good fit with an advisor makes graduate training, and all the steps along your future career path, more fulfilling and much smoother. I strongly recommend talking to previous mentees of any advisor you are considering, including me. I am happy to put you in touch with students I’ve mentored so you can get a better sense of my advising style.
Marine Biology at Texas A&M Galveston
TAMUG has great resources for graduate study in marine ecology. It is the ocean-focused branch of the main campus of Texas A&M (in College Station). Located right on the water, we have a wet lab with running seawater, a fleet of small boats, an extensive scientific diving program, a collegial group of Marine Biology graduate students, plentiful TA opportunities, access to graduate courses online across the TAMU system, and a fantastic faculty with broad expertise. Galveston is a fun, diverse beach town close to Houston (a great city for food and culture), on an island with extensive history, parks, bayous, and beaches. Cost of living is low. And yes, we have a very good hurricane evacuation plan.
EEB at TAMU
EEB is a fantastic program. Students coming in to my lab through EEB at TAMU will spend their first 2 semesters on campus at College Station before moving to Galveston. I made a similar transition during my PhD and, though there were challenging aspects, it broadened my network of friends and colleagues, and led to great, lifelong connections. Feel free to ask me about this option further.