Graduate students | Undergraduate researchers | Postdocs

Prospective Graduate Students

Thanks for your interest in joining our team to improve ecosystem-based decision making for our oceans! I supervise students at the UMassD School for Marine Science and Technology pursuing graduate degrees (M.S. and Ph.D.) through the University of Massachusetts Intercampus Marine Science Program (IMS), which offers MS, PhD, & PSM degrees in Marine Science and Technology. I am also able to supervise students in the UMassD College of Engineering’s Engineering & Applied Science PhD Program.

Students in our lab should expect their research to be highly quantitative, and have a focus on understanding/improving the scientific advice for living marine resource management, but there is flexibility for applying a diversity of methods to a broad scope of research questions. I’m committed to training early career researchers in statistical ecology and data science, and providing advanced skills in quantitative fisheries & ecosystem assessment to work within the marine fisheries decision-making arena. Regardless of scientific interests, I believe research computing skills empower scientists to better tell compelling stories from their data, with statistical models and simulation experiments providing lenses through which strength of evidence for those stories can be compared and support scientific advice for management.

Read about our lab culture & philosophy and Lab Code of Conduct. I also encourage you to learn more about our work through this site and read some of our publications to get a sense for the types of questions and approaches that we tackle within the lab. Our lab manual outlines our shared expectations and lab work practices, and may also give you a sense for what it is like to work as part of our team (as would talking to current and former members of our group).

Excellent written and oral communication abilities are required, as is an interest in working in a collaborative group that supports eachothers work and professional development. Useful quantitative skills include statistics, mathematics, and computer programming, but we place an emphasis on training to develop and extend these skill-sets. Opportunities exist (and are encouraged) for active collaborations with scientists and managers at local federal and state agencies and other regional partner institutions (e.g., NOAA Fisheries’ Northeast Fisheries Science Center, and the Cooperative Institute for the North Atlantic Region – CINAR).

Interested applicants who fit the prerequisites to apply for the graduate program at SMAST should review the SMAST Code of Conduct and Diversity Statement, and send me an email (gfay@umassd.edu) containing a cover letter describing your motivation and research interests and (ideally as a single pdf) current CV, university transcripts (unofficial more than OK), and contact information for at least three references. Please also include a technical writing sample – this could be a publication, a research proposal, a term paper, or some other piece that you are particularly proud of. Qualified candidates will be contacted directly and encouraged to submit a full application to the IMS graduate program. However, it is not possible for me to make any promises until I know the status of research grants and until I see all of the incoming graduate applications.

Note that currently the IMS program and UMassD have waived the GRE application requirement due to COVID-19. I hope this change will persist once the pandemic is over.

I encourage students to apply for external funding through graduate scholarships. Some relevant ones include the Sea Grant Graduate Fellowships, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program, NOAA Nancy Foster scholarships, and the Massachusetts Sea Grant Graduate Research Fellowship, though there are many other opportunities.

Complete information about graduate admissions to SMAST and IMS can be obtained via the academics section of the SMAST website.

Undergraduate Researchers

Paid undergraduate research technician opportunities in the lab, most often in marine data science and scientific communication, will be listed here when available and through CORSAIR JOBS.

[Note on volunteering: we occasionally receive emails asking about volunteer opportunities (unpaid internships) within our group. I believe that everyone should be paid for their work and that unpaid positions help reinforce barriers to inclusive participation in science. If you are interested in our work I encourage you to please reach out about the availability of paid technician opportunities or graduate assistantships but know I will not provide volunteer positions.]

Postdoctoral Researchers

Postdocs are a valuable part of our research and learning team. Please contact me if our research interests align and you are interested in collaborating on a research proposal together.