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Undergraduate Researchers

Welcome to the How to get SMAL Research Project! This is a National Science Foundation funded project to study the evolution of the molecular networks underlying life history traits, using the repeated evolution of dwarfism in reptiles on the Channel Islands.

We are looking for dedicated Westmont undergraduates to join our research team to learn how to do science and to assist in our research.



Sparkman Lab

at Westmont College

Santa Barbara, CA

  • Reptile Field Work

  • Physiological Assays

  • Data Analysis

What You'll Do

As a undergraduate researcher on this project you will train and work Dr. Sparkman and other personnel on the project and become involved in various aspects of research. 

Depending on your interests, you may learn and conduct some of the following techniques: 

  • Capturing reptiles

  • Taking blood samples

  • Performing ultrasounds

  • Conducting physiological assays

  • Performing statistical analysis

It is also expected that students on this project will attend SMAL Project Meetings to learn more about conducting research.

Work Culture

In addition to helping us with research, we hope you'll also strive to help us maintain a positive and supportive lab culture. Our research groups are family-friendly and value diversity to create an inclusive and equitable environment.


Research during the semester will be a paid research position. Starting wage is $15.50/hour for up to 10 hours per week.

10-week summer research fellowships are also available from May through July.

How to Apply

Email Dr. Amanda Sparkman( directly to discuss your interests.

In your email please send the following: 

1.  A CV or resume detailing your past work and any  research experiences.

2.  A letter of interest (2-3 paragraphs) explaining:  

  • why you are interested in doing research, and why you think your interest fit with my resarch team and this project

  • the type of skills you would like to obtain: e.g., field work with, physiological assays, statistical analysis, writing & synthesizing literature, etc.

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