(Boosting Retention, Interest, and Diversity through Guided Experiences in STEM)

The HudsonAlpha BRIDGES program is supported by the National Science Foundation and offers year-long, full-time paid fellowship opportunities for recent graduates of minority-serving institutions. Fellowships through the BRIDGES program will run from August – May, with the first cohort of researchers beginning in 2023.

Fellows will gain valuable experience working in a research lab and contributing to scientific endeavors. They will perform routine laboratory tasks, learn specialized skills like molecular biology, bioinformatics, and cell culture, and participate in scientific discussions. All students will begin their fellowship with a two-week biology boot camp to launch them into their positions. Throughout the program, fellows will also participate in professional development opportunities to help build connections in and beyond HudsonAlpha that will facilitate their future success in a STEM career. Examples might include opportunities to meet directors of graduate programs in the southeast, opportunities to interact with business leaders from HudsonAlpha’s resident biotech companies, or workshops on writing a resume or a personal statement to apply for a job or graduate school. Fellows will present their research through an oral or poster presentation.

BRIDGES will sponsor two separate Fellowship Cohorts. Students may participate in only one Cohort.

 Program dates:

  • Cohort I: August 21, 2023 – May 31, 2024, with the option to extend through July 26, 2024
  • Cohort II: August 20, 2024 – May 30, 2025, with the option to extend through July 25, 2025

BRIDGES fellows at HudsonAlpha will commit to working 40 hours per week during their participation in the program. During this time, fellows will be trained in relevant laboratory skills, gain knowledge about genetics and genomics, and receive professional development meant to support a student as they plan for their future scientific careers.

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology

  • Have completed a bachelor’s degree in a STEM field at a Minority-Serving Institution in an EPSCoR jurisdiction* between 2019 and the fellowship start date (8/21/23 for Cohort 1 or 8/20/24 for Cohort 2).
  • Be able to commit to the 9-month fellowship
    • Cohort 1 – August 21, 2023 – May 2024
    • Cohort 2 –  August 20, 2024 – May 2025
    • The months of June and July are optional to accommodate graduate school and employment start dates.
  • Be strongly considering applying to a STEM graduate program or job in an EPSCoR jurisdiction1. BRIDGES will assist the fellows in exploring, applying, and preparing for these opportunities throughout the internship.
  • Be able to describe how the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted their ability to participate in hands-on education and laboratory experiences.
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 (on a 4-point scale)
  • Be a member of an underrepresented population in STEM2 or from a disadvantaged population3
  • Be a US Citizen or Permanent Resident 

¹EPSCoR jurisdiction states are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming.²Underrepresented population in STEM – The following groups have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in STEM: women, persons with disabilities, and minorities from three racial and ethnic groups: Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, and American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.

³Disadvantaged population – Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, defined as those who meet  two or more of the following criteria:

  • Were or currently are homeless, as defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act;
  • Were or currently are in the foster care system, as defined by the Administration for Children and Families;
  • Were eligible for the Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program for two or more years;
  • Have/had no parents or legal guardians who completed a bachelor’s degree (first-generation and continuing generation college students);
  • Were or currently are eligible for Federal Pell Grants;
  • Received support from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) as a parent or child.
  • Grew up in one of the following areas:
  • a US rural area, as designated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer, or 
  • a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-designated Low-Income and Health Professional Shortage Areas  (qualifying zip codes are included in section C7 of the NIH Diversity Notice).
  • Only one of the two possibilities in this category can be used as a criterion for the disadvantaged background definition.


  • 2023-2024 – Cohort 1
    • Deadline to apply is March 1, 2023. UPDATE: We will accept applications through April 1, 2023
  • 2024 – 2025 – Cohort 2
    • Deadline to apply is March 1, 2024

Application requirements

  • To be considered for the program, applicants must complete the application ( The application requirements include the following:
    • Basic demographic data
    • A resume or CV for upload (accepted formats are .pdf, .doc, .docx)
    • A transcript for upload (unofficial is acceptable)
    • A short personal statement (500 words maximum) describing your scientific interests, long-term goals, the strengths you bring to the internship, how the fellowship would benefit you, and anything else you would like us to know about you.
    • Two professional references (a college or university faculty member from a scientific field, a mentor with knowledge of your scientific goals, or an employer who can speak to your qualifications and how this program would benefit you). Please contact your references, so they know you have shared their contact information. Your references DO NOT need  to provide a letter, but we may contact them by phone or email.
    • A statement describing how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted your ability to participate in hands-on education and laboratory experiences (250-1000 words)
    • Placement Preference selections
      • Select up to three (3) HudsonAlpha Internship(s) you are interested in on the Placement Preference section of the application.
  • HudsonAlpha will review applications. HudsonAlpha will contact top candidates to provide additional information and discuss any details
  • Selected fellows for the BRIDGES program will be notified of their status no later than April 1.

Compensation for this program will be hourly. BRIDGES participants will be paid $16/hour with the option to enroll in the standard benefits of a HudsonAlpha employee, including health insurance, vision insurance, and a 401K retirement plan with an employer contribution.

HudsonAlpha Lab Fellowship Title BioTrain Position Description
Nick Cochran Cochran Lab Fellow Description: The Cochran lab is focused on how genetic variation and genomic regulatory elements impact genome function. We ultimately want to establish better methods to quickly classify the effects of non-coding genetic variants. We have a variety of projects focused on particular genes, genomic regulatory element function across diverse species, etc. We employ both computational and wet lab approaches.
Experience or Skills: A desire to learn about functional and/or computational genomics. Some laboratory and/or computational experience is desirable, but not required.
Sara Cooper Sara Cooper Lab Fellow Description: The Sara Cooper Lab at HudsonAlpha applies genomics to understanding important biological problems. This fellowship will support research using a combination of genomic assays to understand the how genetic perturbation impacts the function of the immune system. Fellows in our laboratory will gain experience in human cell culture, molecular biology, and cell biology through an independent project aimed to determine how signaling between cells impacts the immune response. Fellows will collaborate with other members of the lab to design experiments, generate genomic data and analyze the results.
Experience or Skills: Majors in biology with coursework related to cell biology, molecular biology and chemistry are encouraged to apply. Experience or coursework in statistics and/or computer science is also useful but not required. The successful candidate will be independent, curious, and have good communications skills.
Josh Clevenger Clevenger Lab Fellow Description: Depending on interest there are multiple options for projects related to molecular breeding for the genetic improvement of peanuts. One option is to work directly on molecular marker-assisted backcross breeding to combine high yield with high fungal resistance with the goal to reduce fungicide use on the farm. This would require making crosses in grow rooms, genotyping hybrid seeds, and selecting the best progeny for the next generation. Another option is to work on developing our automated drought tolerance screen using raspberry pi cameras. This option would require half computation and half growroom work. The third option would be completely computational analyzing genomic data for the development of functional targets for marker-assisted selection. This option would not require prior computational skills, however, more could be accomplished with some prior experience.
Experience or Skills: Enthusiasm and curiosity. Experience with the command line (Linux) and/or basic lab skills would help but is not required.
Jeremy Schmutz Genome Sequencing Center Fellow Description: The Genome Sequencing Center (GSC) is a global leader in plant genomics. The fellow will work directly with our team of bioinformaticians and evolutionary biologists to explore the genomic diversity of organisms relevant to the Department of Energy (DOE) including bioenergy species. Possible projects include genome assembly, next-generation sequence analysis, and multi-genome comparisons. Main responsibilities will include working closely with informaticists & scientists as they design/implement computational tools for use at the GSC.
Experience or Skills: Most importantly, the fellow must be enthusiastic and motivated to contribute to plant genomics research. Experience with programing/scripting languages (Python, Perl, C++, R, pipeline managers, etc.) and Mac/Linux/Unix-based systems is also crucial. Basic knowledge of bioinformatics/computer science and genetics/evolution is not required but will be helpful.
Kankshita Swaminathan Swaminathan Lab Fellow Description: The Swaminathan lab uses functional genomics, molecular biology and bioinformatics to understand traits/phenotypes of importance for sustainable energy production. The fellow will be exposed to techniques in molecular biology, genotyping, phenotyping, plant tissue culture, and biotechnology. We expect the student to be diligent, highly motivated and interested in careers in plant biology, and crop functional genomics.
Experience or Skills: Interest in plant biology, biotechnology, and agricultural genomics is essential, but no prior experience in the field is required. It is important that the fellow is meticulous in note-taking, capable of working independently, and is an excellent team player.
Alex Harkess Harkess Lab Fellow Description: The Harkess Lab uses comparative genomics to study the molecular basis of sex determination in plants. We are seeking an enthusiastic fellow who is interested broadly in plant biology and genomics, and will focus on a project related to how plants have repeatedly evolved sex chromosomes and separate male and female sexes. Under the mentorship of postdoctoral fellows in the laboratory, the fellow will take ownership of generating and analyzing genome-scale data for a plant species with a sex chromosome pair. The fellow with develop skills ranging from greenhouse techniques and plant growth, molecular genetics, non-model plant genome sequencing and computational genomics.
Experience or Skills: The most important skills are enthusiasm, independence, and the desire to learn new techniques in diverse plant species. Prior laboratory or computational experience with plants is not necessary, but helpful.
Rick Myers Myers Lab Fellow Description: Fellows will be immersed in a leading genomics laboratory working on a variety of projects relating to the fundamentals of human transcriptional regulation. The Myers lab uses genomic approaches to better understand and classify human genomic regulatory elements, in the context of both basic biology and primarily neurodegenerative disease-specific hypotheses. Fellows can expect to learn a variety of techniques, both on the lab bench and computational, related to using genomics and genetics to study human biology, including molecular cloning, neuronal cell culture, and sequencing-based assays.
Experience or Skills: The most important requirement is a motivated individual who will take advantage of the opportunity. While the student does not have to be certain that he/she wants to go to graduate school to become a scientist, we are definitely interested in individuals who are considering science or medicine as a career, whether at the research assistant level or with doctoral ambitions.

Sara Cooper

Faculty Investigator

Kankshita Swaminathan

Faculty Investigator

Michele Morris

Director of Workforce Development