I mentor undergraduates, graduate students, and post-doctoral scholars. As an early career scientist, I try to ensure I have enough time to provide support and guidance to each mentee by limiting the size of my lab to a reasonable number of individuals. With that in mind, folks who are serious about becoming a lab member should reach out to me early in the recruitment process.
Qualifications and Expectations
My research uses a mix of empirical and quantitative methods, and desired skillsets are often project-specific. For field-based projects, it is important for mentees to have a good attitude about working in challenging conditions—this is the Pacific Northwest, things get muddy out here! For quantitative projects, mentees should have a basic understanding of relevant software and analytical techniques prior to starting their position. Prospective graduate students must meet the Department’s minimum academic requirements for admission. Note that GRE scores are no longer required by the Department and aren’t of interest to me unless they’re astronomically high (bragging rights) or low (a red flag). From a personal standpoint, I like to see strong coursework in foundational ecology, writing, and statistics. I expect my mentees to be passionate about ecology and conservation. Prior scientific writing experience through peer-reviewed journal articles, news articles and other media, blog posts, or technical documents will be highly beneficial. Likewise, individuals who have taken statistics and GIS courses during their undergraduate and/or post-baccalaureate program(s) tend to stand out. Mentees should have a team-oriented attitude, as there will be many opportunities to assist graduate students with their research and mentor undergraduates in the Department.
My purpose as a mentor is to help my students achieve their career goals and make meaningful contributions to the field of ecology. My mentoring style tends to be more involved at the beginning of a project. That is, I try to make students’ lives as easy as possible by setting clear expectations and providing the contacts and resources they’ll need to carry out their research successfully, but ultimately it is up to the student to follow through. Publishing peer-reviewed literature is only one of many benchmarks of success in my lab. Although I do expect my graduate students and post-docs to publish, I recognize that there are other methods of effective scientific communication that can positively influence ecological decision making. I am happy to make reasonable adjustments to established success criteria to fit students’ needs and goals.
I am fully committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the ecological sciences. Oregon State University, the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences, and the Oregon Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit and its partner agencies are dedicated to supporting the diverse needs of their students and employees. I strongly encourage applicants from historically excluded groups (e.g., Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, LGBTQ+, women, first-generation college students, and those from under-served communities) to join the lab. I am happy to work with folks to make sure they’re receiving the financial and emotional support they need to succeed as a lab member, while also recognizing the importance of professional, mentor-mentee boundaries.
Undergraduate students can participate in my lab through volunteer opportunities with current graduate students, paid internship programs (VIEW, Beginning Undergraduate Researchers Support Program, Continuing Researchers Support Program), and seasonal hires. Seasonal positions are always posted to the OSU Jobs Board. Students need not have previous field or research experience, but I am looking for individuals who are reliable, responsible, organized, and passionate about ecology and environmental science.
Graduate Student Positions
Pursuant with Departmental requirements, I will only accept students with one year of guaranteed funding for an MS or two years of guaranteed funding for a PhD. I primarily offer support for graduate students through Graduate Research Assistantships. Because I do not teach undergraduate-level courses, I can only offer Teaching Assistantships to cover student stipends on a quarter-by-quarter basis and do not hire 100% GTA appointments. When a GRA becomes available, it will be posted to the Texas A&M Job Board and the ECOLOG listserv. The student will go through a formal hiring process, after which the selected candidate will be invited to apply to the Graduate School.
I am happy to chat with potential students who might be a good fit for my lab. There are numerous fellowship opportunities for individuals to seek external funding to support their research, including:
- NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program
- NOAA Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program
- NMFS-Sea Grant Joint Fellowship Program
- Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship
- National Defense Science and Engineering Fellowship
If there is space for me to accept additional students, I can also work with individuals who have already secured external funding to develop a lab-appropriate research question and ensure we have the resources in place for the student to be successful.
When funding is available, I hire post-doctoral scholars for 1-3 year terms. Positions are posted to the OSU Jobs Board and to the Texas A&M Job Board and the ECOLOG listserv. Post-docs who have secured external funding through a federal or private agency are welcome to join the lab as post-doctoral fellows. More information is available here.