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USDA-ARS Chemistry Research Unit Microbiology Internship

*Applications are reviewed on a rolling-basis.

ARS Office/Lab and Location: A research opportunity is currently available with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), located in Gainesville, Florida.

The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific in-house research agency with a mission to find solutions to agricultural problems that affect Americans every day from field to table. ARS will deliver cutting-edge, scientific tools and innovative solutions for American farmers, producers, industry, and communities to support the nourishment and well-being of all people; sustain our nation’s agroecosystems and natural resources; and ensure the economic competitiveness and excellence of our agriculture. The vision of the agency is to provide global leadership in agricultural discoveries through scientific excellence.

Research Project: The project explores antagonistic interactions between benign plant-associated microorganisms and plant pathogens, with the goal of discovering microbes that can serve as plant protection products. Experiments conducted under the guidance of a mentor will examine pathogen inhibition under controlled conditions in the laboratory using model systems and with whole plants in the greenhouse and field. The participant will help investigate microbe-microbe competition as impacted by a variety of relevant conditions, including temperature, composition of microbial species mixtures, cell density, order and timing of arrival for species, and other factors. The participant will gain general laboratory skills and experience in microbiology.

Learning Objectives: As a result of this opportunity, the participant will learn: 

  • Sterile technique
  • Microbial culturing
  • Cell quantification methods
  • Microscopy
  • Univariate statistics

Mentor(s): The mentor for this opportunity is Caitlin Rering ( If you have questions about the nature of the research, please contact the mentor(s).

Anticipated Appointment Start Date: May 13, 2024. Start date is flexible and will depend on a variety of factors.

Appointment Length: The appointment will initially be for 6 months, but may be renewed upon recommendation of ARS and is contingent on the availability of funds.

Level of Participation: The appointment is part time.

Participant Stipend: The participant will receive a monthly stipend commensurate with educational level and experience.

Citizenship Requirements: This opportunity is available to U.S. citizens only.

ORISE Information: This 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 ARS. Participants do not become employees of USDA, ARS, 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.

Questions: Please visit our Program 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 have received or be pursuing an associate's or bachelor's degree in one of the relevant fields. Degree must have been received within the past year.

Preferred skills:

  • Strong interest or knowledge in biology and microbiology, and comfort with microbes, plants, insects, and laboratory instrumentation.
  • Good observation, communication, and documentation skills, and demonstrating a capacity for creative, independent, and deductive thinking.

Eligibility Requirements


  • Citizenship: U.S. Citizen Only
  • Degree: Associate's Degree or Bachelor's Degree received within the last 12 months or currently pursuing.
  • Academic Level(s): Post-Associate's or Undergraduate Students.