Join the lab!

Join the lab!

The Carey Lab is recruiting one Ph.D. student to start in Summer 2022!

The Carey Lab in the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech is recruiting one graduate student working at the intersection of freshwater ecosystem science and data science to start at the Ph.D. level in Summer 2022. We seek an enthusiastic and self-motivated student who can work independently while participating in a fun and highly collaborative lab environment, and encourage interested students to read through our Mission Statement, Code of Conduct, and other lab resources posted on our website to learn more about our group.

We are recruiting a Ph.D. student interested in freshwater biogeochemical cycling and greenhouse gas emissions from drinking water reservoirs. This project involves field sampling with other graduate students and undergraduate assistants as part of a reservoir monitoring program, and will involve multiple opportunities to conduct whole-ecosystem manipulations. The field data will be integrated with ecosystem models to study greenhouse gas responses to changing climate and management, and ultimately develop ecological forecasts that guide reservoir decision-making. Throughout the project, the student would work closely with managers to make recommendations for drinking water management. This position is supported by two NSF-supported projects: the first is to quantify the role of reservoirs in the global carbon cycle, and the second is to develop water quality forecasts for freshwater ecosystems.

The Carey Lab is committed to improving diversity in STEM. We are dedicated to recruiting, retaining, and mentoring individuals to promote diversity and equity in our research group, and all lab members are committed to upholding and supporting Virginia Tech’s Principles of Community. Our lab actively uses best practices from team science and organizational management to support our collaborative work and inspire each other to grow as leaders, educators, and innovators.

The Carey Lab is part of the Virginia Tech Stream Team, an internationally-recognized group of faculty and students studying the ecology of aquatic habitats. This vibrant research group provides an ideal environment for conducting graduate work within an interactive and supportive community of freshwater and ecosystem scientists. Other opportunities for students in the Carey Lab include participating in the Virginia Tech Interfaces of Global Change program and Cross-Boundary Biogeosciences Group.

The position will be funded on a combination of teaching and research assistantships, which include a competitive stipend, tuition waiver, and health insurance benefits. Our Ph.D. program guarantees five years of funding, including summers. Interested students should send an email letter of inquiry to Cayelan (cayelan @ containing an overview of your research interests, why you are interested in joining the lab, your C.V., an unofficial transcript, and contact info for three references. Please feel free to contact me (Cayelan) with questions about the application process, graduate school at Virginia Tech, or potential research opportunities. I encourage students interested in applying for an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship to contact me before  October 1 so that I can assist with your application.

Timeline: I generally interview prospective students who are well-aligned with the lab group and available funding via video teleconferences throughout the fall semester, and then will invite competitive applicants to submit their materials for a December 15 admission deadline. We no longer require GRE scores as part of our application process. Virginia Tech’s Department of Biological Sciences application requirements and guidelines can be found at:


Interested in postdoctoral opportunities?

At this time, I do not have any available postdoctoral funding but will advertise broadly when I do so. In the meantime, if you are interested in our lab as a potential postdoctoral home, I encourage you to contact me to discuss working together on applications for NSF EARS fellowships, NSF Postdoctoral Fellowships in Biology, Smith Fellowships, or NEON Fellowships.

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