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Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering Program and the Mason Lab


ASE Program

The Mason lab has been working with Saturday Academy's Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering Program (ASE) since 1997 to provide young scientists with an opportunity to get first-hand experience in biological research. Please see the ASE Program website for details on how to initially apply.

Role of Apprentices in the Mason lab

Our lab studies the reproductive biology of red-sided garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis) as well as other, closely related garter snake species. Apprentices in the past have explored questions covering a variety of topics, from animal behavior to sex pheromone production. Our primary goal is to provide Apprentices with a very real experience, meaning that they are first trained in research techniques and then expected to take those techniques and apply them to their own project. We help Apprentices hone their current skills and even provide them with new ones that will help them succeed in science.

The Mason lab has upwards of 600+ animals that all have to be fed, watered, and monitored for the course of the summer. Our Apprentices become the "lab gurus" of animal care and act as the primary caregivers during their Apprenticeship. This entails lots of gross stuff like chopping up worms and hand-feeding dead fish to stubborn eaters. Because of all they do to help us take care of our snakes, our Apprentices are extremely valuable members of the lab.

By the end of the summer, Apprentices usually have more than enough data to present a poster and a talk over two completely different topics during the ASE conference. Several previous Apprentices have continued their research projects into the school year and others have returned in following summers as research techs. Ultimately, we want our Apprentices to have fun while also doing innovative, high-quality research.

If you're interested in applying to work as an Apprentice in our lab, please fill out the appropriate forms through the ASE Program and contact one of Dr. Mason's current graduate students if you have any further questions.


Previous Apprentices

  • Lauren Wright, Canby Union High School (1997)
  • Jessica Elisberg, Sprague High School (1998)
  • Ming-Min Lee, South Albany High School (1999)
  • Becky Ford, Sprague High School (2000)
  • Nat Evans, West Albany High School (2001)
  • Crystal Whitley, McNary High School (2002)
  • Miranda Lanning, Crescent Valley High School (2003)
  • Adam Cole, Corvallis High School (2004)
  • Torrin Rosegold, Crescent Valley HS (2005)
  • Sean Wilson, Santiam Christian School (2006)
  • Paige Milton, Crescent Valley HS (2007)
  • Elliott Finn, Crescent Valley HS (2008)
  • Miranda Babcock-Krenk, Lake Oswego HS (2009)
  • Luke Rodrigues, Pleasant Hill HS (2016)