Florida softshell turtle, Apalone ferox, photo by J.D. Willson

M.S. Opportunity in Biology - salamander ecology and climate change

James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA and Gothic, CO
Closing Date
Review of applications will begin immediately.

The lab of Dr. Kelsey Reider at James Madison University is seeking a new M.S. student to study ecology of amphibians and climate change in the West Elk mountains of Colorado. The successful candidate will develop research questions that assess responses of tiger salamanders to environmental changes in the aquatic and terrestrial environments.

The field-based position may require summer travel to Gothic, CO for field work at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory and Mexican Cut Nature Preserve. An alternative lab-based project will involve analysis of long-term data and require advanced data management and statistical analysis skills in R. 

The position includes paid field work to begin in Summer 2021. The anticipated start date is 1 June 2021 for the summer employment period prior to beginning the graduate program, and this date is somewhat flexible. The graduate program begins in Fall 2021 and ends in Spring 2023. The program will also cover a field research stipend in Summer 2022. A stipend of $6,120 will be provided in fall and spring semesters through a mentored teaching assistantship, with tuition waivers awarded on a competitive basis. The lab will adhere to an approved covid-19 safety plan.


The ideal candidate will have experience working with a team under challenging field conditions, experience in remote and/or mountainous settings, ability or interest in learning to construct and troubleshoot equipment including electrical components in a field setting, and basic skills or willingness to learn data management and analysis in R.

To Apply

The official deadline to apply is 1 February 2021, but potential applicants must contact Dr. Kelsey Reider (reiderke [at] jmu.edu) in advance. 

To initiate the application process, email the following items as a single document (using lastname_firstname as the file name) before 5 January 2021: 1) a 1–2 page letter describing your interests, motivations, and qualifications for the position, 2) resume or CV including contact info for at least two references, 3) unofficial transcripts, and 4) a writing sample, if available. These materials should be sent to Dr. Reider with the subject line “JMU MS position application."

Interested applicants are invited to contact Dr. Reider before assembling the requested materials with any questions about the position and the application process, or ideas about how they could contribute to the project. Use the subject line "JMU MS position inquiry."

The Reider Lab is committed to co-creating an inclusive and supportive community for trainees as individuals and scientists. We will consider the whole application package of each applicant, and interested persons are encouraged to demonstrate in their letter of interest how they will contribute to an equitable academic culture in the lab, university, and their careers. Applicants from historically-excluded groups (e.g., Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, LGBTQ+, women, first-generation college students, and those from under-served communities) are strongly encouraged to apply.

Applications will be screened immediately starting 5 January so that competitive applicants may prepare and submit the JMU graduate program application by the Feb. 1st university deadline. The JMU graduate program application requirements include three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, a statement of professional goals, unofficial transcripts, and the GRE general exam (jmu.edu/biology/graduate).

← Return to Jobs