Join the Lab

The Ballen Lab is always looking for motivated undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdocs to join. Send me an email at mjb0100(at)!

We are located in the Department of Biological Sciences (DBS) at Auburn University. Auburn is a fantastic college town and DBS is a lively and collaborative setting for discipline-based education research. We have great resources here to study education, including our friends over in the chemistry education research lab, the geosciences education research lab, the physics and engineering education research lab, and the mathematics education research lab.

Auburn University and the Ballen Lab are interested in candidates who are committed to high standards of scholarship and to fostering a climate that supports inclusion, equity, and diversity. 

​I encourage postdocs to apply for independent funding for projects focused on STEM equity in undergraduate biology, and I am happy to contribute ideas for collaborative proposals. A few examples include the STEM Education Postdoctoral Research Fellowships (STEM Ed PRF) and the National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. If you are interested in joining the lab as a postdoc, get in touch!

For graduate students, Auburn supports a large community in our Department of Biological Sciences (DBS). Students can apply at the M.Sc. and Ph.D. level, and should have a strong biology and analytical/quantitative background. Application for admission to the DBS graduate program can be found here. Materials include a CV, personal statement, official transcripts, and three letters of recommendations (note: no GRE requirement!). 

I am currently recruiting both MS and PhD students to work with me on research that integrates learning sciences, qualitative and quantitative approaches, and undergraduate biology. If you are interested in joining the lab as a graduate student, send me an email at mjb0100(at) for more information! When emailing me, please include:

  • Cover Letter with a brief description of your research interests and experience.
  • Curriculum vitae, including your GPA, and contact information for professional references

​Ph.D. students are strongly encouraged to apply for the NSF-GRFP (<– take a look!). The fellowship deadline is in mid-October, AU grad preview weekend is in January, and the DBS application is due in February. There is also the Minority Dissertation Fellowship Program in Education Research.

Here are other programs that offer advanced degrees in biology education research. (also check this out! 10 simple rules to choosing a PhD supervisor and How to Pick a Graduate Advisor)

If you are an Auburn undergraduate student looking to get research experience in the lab, there are lots of different ways to get involved. Send me an email and we can set up a meeting to talk more.

Labbers lunching

Research awards! Emily Driessen: Dean’s Research Award for graduate students; Peyton Brewer: Dean’s Research Award for undergraduates; Robin Costello: Dean’s Research Award for postdocs