Paid Research Opportunity in Wildlife Epidemiology for the 2023/24 Year

“Working in the Hart Lab has been a great experience! Our whole team is really fantastic and we’ve got a great dynamic, too, which makes the whole experience really enjoyable and a comfortable place to ask questions and learn!” –Tita Curtin ’24

Why should you consider research with the Hart Lab?

  • You’ll do the actual research!
  • Gain experience with marine field work, lab work, statistical analysis, presentations, and more!
  • It’s NIH-funded and offers networking opportunities.
  • Honors Immersed and Bachelor’s Essay potential.
  • It’s paid!

Learn more: Click below for more details and application instructions. The deadline to apply is May 1.

Research opportunity:

I am seeking a research assistant to help with a study that will investigate microplastic and phthalate exposure in wild bottlenose dolphins and their prey.  Undergraduate students involved in this study will participate in fieldwork with the project lead (Dr. Leslie Hart, Public Health), assist with sample preparation (including fish dissection), assist a graduate student with laboratory analyses of fish and bottlenose dolphin samples, perform literature searches and reviews, curate databases, and assist with statistical analyses and the preparation of manuscripts, reports, and presentations.  The project team will meet weekly to set monthly goals, assess project needs, evaluate project status, discuss challenges, schedule deliverables, and review topic-related journal articles.  Training on statistical methods and scientific methods will occur throughout the academic year during these weekly meetings.

Timeline and time commitment:

Students interested in this project should be prepared to assist with research during the 2023-2024 academic year and summer 2024.  Preference will be given to students interested in assisting for the 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 academic years (including summer 2024). Because sample collection, processing, and analysis will occur throughout the year, students will dedicate approximately 10 hours per week during the academic year and 20 hours per week during the summer months, at $11/hr.

Students engaging in this research opportunity will:

  1. Participate in field research
  2. Prepare biological samples for laboratory analyses
  3. Develop new ecotoxicological laboratory skills
  4. Perform a targeted literature search and develop a literature matrix
  5. Formulate testable research hypotheses and perform statistical analyses
  6. Enhance their scientific writing and presentation skills

Student Testimonial:

"Working in the Hart Lab has been such a great and rewarding experience. It has allowed me to learn what it is like working in a professional environment while still letting me develop and learn the skills I need in said environment. It's also given me experiences I never thought I would get to have during my time as an undergrad student like give an oral presentation at the South Carolina Public Health Association Annual Conference. speaking of experiences, it has been so rewarding to be able to get some experience with hands-on research rather than lectures or one and done labs. It's really satisfying to improve at things like dissecting fish by doing it again and again instead of doing it once in a class and never again. The best part of this experience has to be working with this team though. everyone in this group has been very supportive of each other. If I'm ever struggling or need assistance with something, I know that I can just ask for some assistance or some advice and I'll receive it." –Eric Conger '24

"Working in the Hart Lab has been a great experience! I’ve been able to really develop a professional network from getting presenting our research at both the South Carolina Public Health Association Annual Conference and the CofC expo. I’ve also had the opportunity to really dig in and understand our research by getting my hands dirty. From fish dissections, to digesting the organic tissue and physically counting microplastics under a microscope, we’re really the ones who are doing it all – not just doing data entry or analyzing the work someone else has done. Our whole team is really fantastic and we’ve got a great dynamic, too, which makes the whole experience really enjoyable and a comfortable place to ask questions and learn!" –Tita Curtin '24


  • US Citizen
  • Full-time student at the College of Charleston
  • Research assistants will be expected to commit at least 10 hours per week during the academic year and at least 20 hours per week in the summer
  • Research assistants will be expected to travel (domestically) for fieldwork (funding will be provided)

If you are interested, please send questions and the following materials to Dr. Hart ( by no later than May 1, 2023

  • Updated CV or Resume that includes all extracurricular activities and employment plans (for academic years and summers)
  • Year of Study, Major, Academic Achievements
  • Unofficial Transcript
  • Statement of Interest (500 words) that includes all of the following:
    • Previous research experience, if applicable
    • What you can offer to the project and how long would you like to work on this project?
    • What you would like to get out of this experience?
    • Why you are interested in participating in this (or any) research?
    • Please describe your specific time management strategies
    • Any other relevant information that you would like to share