Graduate students lead many research projects in my lab. Graduate students are accepted in my lab only when funding is available, and I can typically accept 1-2 new graduate students annually. Thus, this is a highly competitive process. When I have graduate assistantships available, I advertise them on the American Fisheries Society and Texas A&M job boards. Successful applicants typically have experience relevant to the advertised project and superior communication and quantitative skills (R, Python, etc.). It is also possible for you to locate funding such as the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program. If you are interested in applying for fellowships and scholarships on your own and are seeking research ideas, I am happy to discuss your fit and project feasibility with you. My graduate students may obtain a degree in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, or Ecology through the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology.
Undergraduate students can gain research experience. There are some paid hourly positions particularly for those with Work-Study awards, but more undergraduate students get involved as volunteers. Experience may include assisting field sampling, laboratory experiments, and data entry and analysis. Some undergraduate students have developed their own projects, and presented their research or even published papers in peer-reviewed journals as the first authors. I encourage undergraduate students to present their research at the annual Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity Showcase at CSU (April) and Colorado-Wyoming Chapter American Fisheries Society meeting (February). Please contact me if you are interested in gaining research experience.