Joining the Lab

Thanks for your interest in joining the newly established McMahon Lab at the URI Graduate School of Oceanography!

At the moment, I am not expecting to bring on new graduate students for Fall 2019, however, it is never too early to discuss options for securing external funding for future opportunities. I especially encourage individuals from traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM fields to apply. When inquiring about graduate opportunities, please send me an email (kelton_mcmahon at with a brief introduction that includes your research interests and goals for your graduate degree and a brief statement about how you think those goals align with the McMahon research program. Please also include a copy of your CV (resume) detailing previous research and education experience. Please note that due to time constraints, I cannot respond to inquiries that do not include all of this information.

For advice on how to write this email, take a look at this article.

Graduate Students

Graduate students in the McMahon Lab typically join through the Biological Oceanography Program (PhD or MS) or the Masters of Oceanography Program (non-thesis).

You should familiarize yourself with the process for applying to graduate school through URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography. Applications to URI are accepted year-round, but are due by January 15th each year in order to be eligible for internal graduate research and teaching fellowships. I expect students joining my lab to be extremely competitive for these internal fellowships, as well as for scholarships from NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (Due in Oct) and other external funding sources (e.g., Sigma XINOAA, Ford Foundation, NDSEG). Applications for many of these fellowships are due in fall or early winter of the year before your intended start dates, so please plan accordingly.

Undergraduate Students

We often have positions for advanced undergraduate students each year depending on projects and personnel. These positions may range from volunteer lab assistance to independent studies and paid research assistantships.  I encourage interested undergraduate students to start by volunteering with us for a semester before beginning a formal position in order to evaluate the mutually beneficial fit. If you are interested in one of these positions, please email me.

I suggest that motivated and interested undergraduates look into the Coastal Fellows Program and the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program at URI as a potential avenues for working in the lab. Additionally there are a number of external fellowship programs to explore, including EPA’s GRO programNOAA’s Hollings Scholarship, and Sigma XI’s Grants-in-Aid program.

Postdoctoral Scholars

I welcome inquiries from PhD students and recent graduates interesting in pursuing postdoctoral research in my lab. I strongly encourage prospective postdocs to begin looking into funding sources at least a year before intended start date. Interested individuals may email me to discuss possible projects and funding sources, and expect to apply for one of the many external funding mechanisms such as NSFFord Foundation, AAUW American Fellowship, L’Oreal Women in Science Fellowship, Life Science Research Foundation Fellowship, and SESYNC.