You’ve gotten this far on our website, so you obviously have a passion for sharks and science and maybe you want to take it a bit further. While we are passionate about sharks, science and mentoring, too there are some effective ways to reach us. Please read below before you send that email off to ask about opportunities with the BFL and make sure you’ve done your part too.
Undergraduates: Throughout the year we often offer opportunities for student interns and volunteers. You are unlikely to end up on a boat wrestling a White shark, but can still gain valuable experience working with our lab on other tasks. As you can imagine, lots of folks want to work in the BFL so we look to established pipelines to find/support students. In the past, we have had students from programs like URSA Engage and CERM (for OSU students) or Research Experience for Undergraduates (for students outside of OSU). Our involvement with these opportunities waxes and wanes with the projects we have going at the time. Have a look at our People page and see how folks got involved in the BFL.
Advanced Degrees: While we know many people have a passion for sharks, Advanced Degrees (MS & PhD) are a very specific life commitment and shouldn’t just be the ‘next step’ after undergrad. Think long and hard about graduate school, do your due diligence and know why you’re considering graduate school and how a degree will impact your next steps. Advanced degrees may be necessary for some careers (like academia) but they may actually make you less competitive for others. Also, landing those academic jobs can be very difficult even with an MS or PhD. See this 2020 article which summarizes some statistics on pathways for post-advanced degree jobs. Make sure that you have broadened your perspective to the full spectrum of ways to express your passion for shark science and that you are pursuing a graduate program for the right reasons.
Current Opportunities: At this time, the BFL is maxed out with the number of students our current funding can support. But if you’re still interested in joining the BFL, there are a few things you can do now to prepare for future opportunities:
1) Develop a viable/feasible research project or idea
Use the website and our social media to get caught up on what we do and the current state of the research (from the literature). Talk to others (e.g., mentors, peers) to develop a project that would advance our current knowledge and be manageable in a graduate timeline. In this process really think about feasibility. For example, tagging studies often cost 10-100’s of thousands of dollars and span multiple years-both of which likely are not feasible on a graduate timeline or budget. The project development process is often very new to early scientists, so reach out to mentors and other professionals who have experience with this and can help guide you.
2) Apply for funding
Take that awesome project you developed above and apply for funding from external sources like NSF, Seagrant, Nancy Foster, LMRCSC, Fulbright, etc. Having a thoughtful project idea and funding in-hand opens many doors for graduate schools, whether with the BFL or others. This process, even if unsuccessful in securing funding, can provide great feedback on your research ideas and proposal.
3) Once you have those ideas and some funding in-hand to support your graduate work, reach out to the BFL and we can talk about potential work in our lab.