Join the lab

Are you interested in gaining some research experience? Contact Dr. Shaffer about potential opportunities to join the ShAPE Lab at SJSU by following the directions below.

Prospective graduate students

I receive many inquiries about graduate opportunities in my laboratory, far too many than I can accept.  Therefore, to help with the difficult task of selecting students that are a good match (for both of us), I request the following from you to help me learn more about you:

  1. A statement of purpose outlining your research interests and your long-term career goals.
  2. An unofficial copy (digital copy) of undergraduate transcripts.
  3. Solid communication skills are essential so a writing sample (reports, published papers, technical reports, or class research projects) will show me that you can assimilate complex information into a well-written paper.
  4. Curriculum vitae (or resume) summarizing your work and academic experience.
  5. Contact information for three references.

Most professors have busy schedules with commitments of teaching, research, and meetings, so I am looking for students who are self-starters, with solid writing/analytical skills.  Although not a requirement, I generally prefer students with some prior field and/or animal handling experience.  If, after evaluating your initial file, I determine that there is a good match, I will follow up with further correspondence so we can either talk on the phone and/or meet in person.  Also, this initial packet is NOT a substitute for SJSU’s official application process for admission into the graduate program.  Thus, you still need to officially apply for admission into the Master’s Program in Biology at SJSU.

Finally, I encourage you to look at the Department of Biological Sciences website to learn more about the different graduate programs, options for the degree of Master of Science vs. Master of Arts, and what other faculty research interests exist in our department.

Thanks for your interest in my research program!  I look forward to chatting further with you.  If you are interested, please contact me.


Prospective undergraduates

Assuming that you are an undergraduate student at SJSU, there may be opportunities to conduct supervised research in the lab or field with Dr. Shaffer and his graduate students. These research opportunities are voluntary with no monetary compensation, however, normally students are admitted in the lab and enroll in BIOL 180 to get university credit for conducting the research.