Current opportunity for summer 2023 and 2024 - Research experience for teachers

With support from the National Science Foundation project MEGA (Mercury Export from Greenland to the Arctic), we are looking to recruit a middle or high school science teacher from the greater Philadelphia region for a research experience this summer in beautiful Greenland and Philadelphia. The teacher will undertake a research program centered around water chemistry from approximately June 20 through July 15, 2023.

The teacher will be part a of a recently funded National Science Foundation project based in Greenland led by Dr. Jon Hawkings to study ice sheet meltwater geochemistry. The teacher will be paired with a mentor (a graduate student or post-doctoral researcher) in the BiCycles Lab. Each teacher will work to help the BiCycles Lab translate their work into understandable concepts for younger audiences through presentations, demos and/or hands-on activity (something you all do normally!). Teachers will also participate in seminars, academic research skills, and tools and techniques for incorporating STEM into their classroom via the LRSM RET program.

All STEM teachers are welcome and encouraged to apply! The program is in person and will involve travel to and fieldwork in Greenland, though so you must also be within daily commuting distance of Penn. Application to the program is available through the link below. We will provide a stipend of $5,000. All reasonable field expenses in Greenland are covered (travel via the Air National Guard and subsistence).

If you are interested in this opportunity, please submit a CV and cover letter to Dr. Jon Hawkings ( We will make decisions on or before April 15, 2023 so submit your application before if possible. Applications submitted after this date will still be accepted and considered if a position is still available.

Graduate students

We are actively recruiting for a fully funded PhD position to start in 2023! This position will include fieldwork in Greenland, and possibly Svalbard, Jan Mayen and/or Patagonia. 

2023 Grad School application deadline: 1st January 2023 for Fall 2023 start (note: there will be fieldwork opportunities in 2023 before the official start date)

The Penn BiCycles Lab will be looking for a graduate student to start in Fall 2023. Students are encourage to contact Dr. Hawkings ( before submitting an application to discuss any questions you might have, project opportunities, research ideas, style of supervision, the application procedure and expectations.

The lab will particularly suit those who have interests in elemental cycling, polar and alpine environments, contaminant transport and/or analytical environmental chemistry. A background in Earth Sciences/Geosciences, Physical Geography, Chemistry and/or Biology is preferable, but we will consider all applications. We will strive to support you during your time at Penn!

Potential applicants are encouraged to visit the Department of Earth and Environmental Science Doctoral Program website for more information, including how to apply.

I highly recommend visiting Sarah Cooley’s website for invaluable tips on applying for grad school in the United States. She puts it much better than I could!

Undergraduate students

If you are interested in an undergraduate research project or would like to gain experience in field/lab research in the BiCycles Lab please contact Dr. Hawkings ( I am always looking for motivated undergrads who have an interest in hands-on research experience. No prior research experience is necessary 

There are opportunities in the lab for paid undergraduate research assistants at a rate which reflects the living wage hourly rate. Your financial situation should not be an impediment to study or working in the lab, and we will do all we can to help support you and provide research experience!

Below are some (but not all!) of the support streams available.

Current opportunities (fully funded)

– Research Assistant – M@P (Mercury @ Penn) – Mercury dynamics in the Schuykill River$392530/9925$43800.htmld
The mission of Environmental Innovations Initiative “M@P” is to catalyze solutions to significant real-world environmental challenges. Reporting to the PI, the research assistant will be responsible for creating a mercury inventory based on high-resolution observational data from Philadelphia waterbodies. Tasks may include, measuring the concentrations and speciation of Hg and identify potential sources and sinks of Hg in the Schuylkill River. This position will start in June 2023, with the possibility of continuing into the fall. Interested students should submit a cover letter, résumé, and a writing sample.
The hourly renumeration is $14-15 and the commitment is 30-40 hours per week. 

Hayden Scholars Academic Year Research Program

The Hayden Scholars program introduces ENVS and EASC majors to the research environment in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science. The scholarship aims to support students of underrepresented groups in the geosciences by providing work-study awards.

Hayden scholarships will support students on a work-study program for $15/hour, up to 20 hours per week. For 2022/23 the work-study calendar begins on August 23rd 2022 and ends on May 15th 2023 (i.e., two semesters). Students will be directly mentored and their research supported by the EES faculty member.

Please contact Dr. Hawkings if you are interested in applying.

Hayden Scholars

The Hayden Scholars program aims to train students for success as future geoscientists through mentoring and in doing so, encourage students to go on to pursue advanced degrees in Earth science; develop collegial relationships and interactions amongst students and faculty as well as other professionals; and cultivate scientific, data analysis, presentation, networking and other workforce skills, while strengthening the Earth and Environmental Sciences undergraduate programs.

Hayden Scholars receive a $5000 stipend for a minimum of 10-week summer internship. Scholars can also apply separately for additional funds for research materials and expenses, research travel and/or travel to present research results at national or international conferences (e.g., AGU, GSA, etc.). I will also provide financial support for research in my lab whenever possible.

See the Hayden Scholars website for more details or contact Dr. Hawkings directly. 

The Water Center at Penn Student Research Support Program

The Water Center at Penn encourages Penn undergraduate students from any discipline to apply for this competitive student grant program to promote research in water science, policy and sustainability. The grant also aims to recognize academic excellence and prepare students towards leadership by encouraging applied research and community engagement.

WCP’s mission is to support the resilience, sustainability, and equity of urban water systems, and the watersheds upon which they rely, through guidance, assistance and by directing applied collaborative research.

Grants will be awarded to undergraduates in amounts of up to $1000 each. Grants are for up to 12 months.

Find out more here.

Short Term Educational Experiences for Research (STEER)

The STEER program represents a collaboration between the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology, the Center for Public Health Initiatives and multiple schools and faculty at Penn. The program supports undergraduates interested in pursuing research associated to environmental health and toxicology. Work with the Penn BiCycles Lab could involve (i) environmental contaminants, (ii) the mobilization, speciation and concentrations of toxic elements in Pennsylvanian watersheds, or (iii) nutrient loading in urban streams and consequences for human health (e.g., harmful algal blooms). 

Each summer, five to seven internships will be awarded to undergraduate students who will work one-on-one with faculty mentors on projects that they choose and design. Each intern will receive $4,000 for the ten week internship. More information is available here.


Please contact me if you would like to discuss opportunities in the lab. I would be delighted to discuss different funding mechanisms, research ideas, and ways of supporting you research and personal development. Examples of external postdoctoral funding are NSF fellowships (EAR-PF, OCE-PRF, OPP-PRF), Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Global Fellowships and Ford Foundation fellowships. I also recommend looking at funding opportunities on the Early Career Researchers Central website. I would be delighted to support applications and provide input into proposals.