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Undergraduate Research

Working in the Schwartz Lab

We are committed to maintaining a positive, supportive, diverse and inclusive research group. We value persons of every race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and cultural background.

Undergraduate Research  in

Dr. Tonia Schwartz’s Laboratory of

Functional Genomics

Undergraduate research is a valuable experience for students that allow them to use and apply the knowledge they are learning in their classes, gain experience and marketable skills, and learn to be a professional scientist. We encourage students to get involved in research as soon as possible. We love having undergraduates in the lab and help us with research! But, it is important to realize that it takes time and energy to train new people in the lab and determine if we can trust them with our experiments and data collection. As such, we typically take on students that intend to be involved in research for multiple semesters. Often times students are in the lab for 2-3 years.


Options for Involvement

1. Volunteer

2. Research Credit: BIOL4980 Independent Research

3. Undergraduate Research Fellowships

4. Research technician paid from a grant

We have many options for undergraduate students to be becoming involved in the Schwartz Lab. Typically they start off volunteering and working with a graduate student on their project so we can "test each other out".  Once they have some experience and understanding of the on-going projects and determine if research is for them, then they typically transition to more responsibilities on the research project related to a larger project in the lab through Research Credit, a Research Fellowship (paid), or as a paid research technician. Depending on the semester students will often transition between research credit, paid positions when available, and volunteering,


Often students will start out volunteering in the lab to learn techniques, attend our lab meetings, and generally learn what research is about. Depending on the students interest and time they can commitment this can range from  very low commitment with occasionally helping with big experiments, shadowing a PhD student, to larger committments of full engagement in a long-term experiment, or even conducting their own experiment after they skills and knowledge.

Research Credit: BIOL4980

This is a great option for juniors and seniors that have already been working in the lab and have a idea of what type of project they would like to do. We design an independent research project around your interest in the context of projects on-going in my lab.


Expectations for Research Credit: conduct independent research, write a scientific paper, give a presentation, attend lab meetings

  • Approximate hours of work per week: 

    • 5 hours per week for 2 credits,

    • 7 hours per week for 3 credits,

    • 9 hours per week for 4 credits.


  • Syllabus is here

Research Fellowships (Paid) and Independent Research Projects

If you are interested in doing a longer term research project with more independence, I encourage you to look into a Paid fellowship for a year, or a summer. 

   Auburn University, Undergraduate Research Fellowships:

Research Technician (Paid)

If we have a research grant that includes funds to higher undergraduate researchers, we will hire students (typically those that have already proven themselves in the lab) to conduct research with us for 5-20 hours per week.

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To Apply to work with us

Please send me (Dr. Tonia Schwartz, the following so I can assess whether you are a good fit for the lab and the position.

1.  A CV or resume detailing your past work and research experiences.

2.  A cover page (2-3 paragraphs) explaining:  

  • why you are interested in doing research, and why you think your interest fit with my laboratory and the position.

  • the type of project you would like to work on.

  • the type of skills you would like to obtain: bioinformatics, molecular lab bench skills (working with DNA/RNA), working with animals organismal, bioinformatics, writing & synthesizing literature, etc.)

Current Paid Openings


Animal Care Technician

We are looking for someone that is passionate about conservation and love reptiles to help with our Gopher Tortoise Project.


This is a paid position, starting at $10/hour for 7-10 hours per week including some weekends and some holidays.


Dwarf Reptile Molecular Lab Work

We are looking for someone that has good attention to detail and wants to learn molecular lab skills to help with our SMAL project studying the island dwarfism in reptiles.


This is a paid position, starting at $10/hour for 7-20 hours per week. Learn more about this position here. 

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