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EPA Gulf of Mexico Program Student Research Opportunity

EPA Office/Lab and LocationA current university internship project is available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA),Region 4, Gulf of Mexico Division in Gulfport, Mississippi.

Research Project: This project is to evaluate water quality pollutants and sources, including but not limited to: E. coli, Vibrio species, water quality parameters, microplastics and source tracking techniques. The participant will have the opportunity to conduct studies to understand processes that affect water quality pollutant and/or pathogen levels and correlations in estuary and marine environments. 

Learning Objectives: The participants may have the opportunity to be involved in the following activities:
  • Developing field and laboratory experiments,
  • Applying bacterial detection methods to determine correlations and risks.
  • Interacting directly with community members to solve water quality pollution issues in their watershed.

The research study project includes data collection, analysis, and report preparation.

Mentor(s)The mentor for this opportunity is Philip Lee ( If you have questions about the nature of the research please contact the mentor(s).
Anticipated Appointment Start Date: January 15, 2023. All start dates are flexible and vary depending on numerous factors. Click here for detailed information about start dates.

Appointment LengthThe appointment may initially be for one year and may be renewed upon EPA recommendation and subject to availability of funding.

Level of ParticipationThe appointment is part-time (20 hours per week).

Participant StipendThe participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience. Funding may be made available to reimburse the participants' travel expenses to present the results of his/her research at scientific conferences. Click here for detailed information about full-time stipends. 

EPA Security ClearanceCompletion of a successful background investigation by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is required for an applicant to be on-boarded at EPA.

ORISE InformationThis program, administered by ORAU through its contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), was established through an interagency agreement between DOE and EPA. Participants do not become employees of EPA, DOE or the program administrator, and there are no employment-related benefits. Proof of health insurance is required for participation in this program. Health insurance can be obtained through ORISE.

The successful applicant(s) will be required to comply with Environmental, Safety and Health (ES&H) requirements of the hosting facility, including but not limited to, COVID-19 requirements (e.g. facial covering, physical distancing, testing, vaccination).

Questions: Please see the FAQ section of our website. After reading, if you have additional questions about the application process please email and include the reference code for this opportunity.

The qualified candidate should be currently pursuing a bachelor's or master's degree in Microbiology, Ecology, Public Health, Environmental Health Science, Toxicology, Biological Science, Biochemistry, Marine Science, Marine Biology or Molecular Biology within two years of the starting date or completion of all requirements for the degree should be expected prior to the appointment start date. Degree must have been received within five years of the appointment start date. 

Experience with microbial source tracking methodology and analysis is preferred.