The College of Science, Technology, and Mathematics (CSTM) is invested in the Mission of Tusculum University.  That mission is:  Building on a rich Presbyterian heritage and a pioneering spirit, Tusculum University provides an active and experiential education within a caring Christian environment to inspire civic engagement, enrich personal lives, and equip career-ready professionals.

Each of the departments with CSTM are working to provide opportunities for students to put use what they are learning in the classroom into real life experiences through internships, job shadowing, and research.

Department of Natural Sciences

Research Opportunities – Dr. Dennis Ashford

Dr. Dennis Ashford is hiring research assistants for a paid summer experience.


This position serves as the Research Assistant (RA) on fundamental chemical research at Tusculum University. The job includes working closely with a supervising faculty advisor to conduct fundamental research in the chemical sciences. The RA is responsible for assisting the faculty member in a variety of non-administrative tasks that may include designing and preparing materials, utilizing instrumentation, and documenting results in support of the research activity. The research project specifically deals with the synthesis and analysis of new anti-cancer prodrugs and combines organic and inorganic chemistry techniques and theories. The RA position is intended to provide the opportunity to learn proper research procedures and techniques. The supervising faculty mentor will be responsible for providing ongoing feedback and assistance in the research project.


There is no prior experience required for this position, but it is required that the applicant be working toward a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry or Biology at Tusculum University. It is also required that the RA be able to work safely in a laboratory setting, be able to collaborate with their peers on the research project, and clearly document their experimental design and results in a laboratory notebook. In addition, the RA should be able to utilize library and/or literature searchers to advance the project forward.


If you would like to apply for this position, please email a cover letter (no more than a single page) and your resume/CV to Prof. Dennis Ashford at dashford@tusculum.edu. Applications accepted until 3/15/21.

Salamander Research – Dr. Conor Keitzer

The Appalachians are a hotspot for salamander diversity, but many of these species face numerous threats from human activities. My lab is currently surveying salamander populations in the area to better understand how salamanders will respond to different threats with the goal of helping to conserve these unique species. We have established survey areas, but students are encouraged to also develop their own related research projects.

Start time: Flexible, but surveys will be concentrated in late spring/early summer
Applicants needed: 2 – 4
Course pre-requisites: Environmental Science OR General Biology II
Approximate hours/week: Flexible, unpaid, course credit available

Email interest to ckeitzer@tusculum.edu

Medicinal Plants in Appalachia – Dr. Susan Monteleone

This project is designed to identify, collect and analyze familial relatives of well-described medicinal plants in our region and assay them for medicinal compounds. Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is just such a medicinal plant, highly prized for its therapeutic properties. Its distribution is throughout the Appalachian region. Another such specimen is Broad-leaf Plantain (Plantago major), a weed that is commonly found in our yards and fields.Student researchers will assist in the collection, sample bioassay (preparation and processing), and analysis of study results. This project involves both lab and field work. We will take field trips to locate and collect related plants to process for active compound bioassay.

Start time: May 3 – 28, 2021
Applicants needed: 1 – 3
Course pre-requisites: None
Approximate hours/week: 8 – 10 hours, unpaid, course credit available

Email interest to smonteleone@tusculum.edu