Faculty in the Biology Department maintain active research programs and are often looking to recruit interested students to work with them during the school year and summers. Here are some ways to explore those opportunities:

Summer research at Colby

Many Biology faculty take on multiple students during the summer as paid research assistants. The application process begins early in Spring semester, and positions are posted through Davis Connects at this link.

Students doing summer research at Colby are invited to participate in the Colby Undergraduate Summer Research Retreat (CUSRR). A full day student symposium, the CUSRR is an opportunity to present your research to your peers and faculty in a capstone experience, topped off with a whitewater rafting trip!

Independent study

As a Biology major, up to 4 credits of independent study with a Biology faculty may be counted towards your major. Independent study may be a good opportunity to work more closely with a faculty member that you’ve taken a class with, try out a project of interest.

Funding your research ideas at Colby

Davis Connects is a great resource for finding funding at Colby, and we recommend students attend one of their info sessions to learn more. For example, student research projects have been funded through Davis Connects and the Buck Lab for Climate and Environment and the Linde Packman Lab for Biosciences Innovation.

Research experience via classes

Biology courses at Colby are themselves research experiences, from designing and implementing experiments in lab to researching and executing a literature review. Other research-intensive experiences are available for credit as well. Consider applying for the Bigelow Sea Change Semester, or focus on a research-oriented study abroad program. There are many summer courses worldwide that are also designed to be immersive research/learning experiences, like the summer field courses at Shoals Marine Lab.

Externally-funded research experiences

While we love having Colby students do research with us, there are also many opportunities off campus. For example, the NSF summer REU program is specifically designed to provide research experiences for undergraduates by embedding you for a summer in a research program across the US.


How do I reach out to a faculty member about research?

Faculty don’t just do research during the summer and need assistance in the lab year round.

First, look into what research the professor is already doing – either posted on their professional website or by looking up their published work on Google Scholar/SCOPUS. Think about whether you are interested in doing the kind of research they do. For example, do they do computational research but you would rather do fieldwork? You might not be a good fit for each other!

Second, send a brief email to the professor asking about opportunities for doing research. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a response or if there are no openings for doing research! There are many ways to get research experience.