Thank you for visiting our lab webpage! If you're interested in working together or have any questions, please send me an email detailing your interests and relevant experiences. Inquiries regarding research opportunities should emphasize an interest to work on forest insect ecology and/or the ecology of insects attacking woody ornamentals.
Students interested in pursuing undergraduate theses or gaining research experience are encouraged to reach out. Students from a diversity of majors, career goals, and backgrounds are welcome!
Thank you for your interest in joining the lab! Picking an adviser is one of the most important decisions you will make in selecting a graduate program. Perhaps the only more important decision will be deciding which field of research to enter. To that end, please (i) visit the research and publication tabs to assess whether your interests align with the lab's and (ii) think about the type of life and career you want after graduate school. Then, “reverse engineer” that vision and ask yourself: does the lab seem like an ideal (or at least sufficient 😊!) fit? If yes, keep reading.
I am excited to support students pursuing a diversity of vocations (from academic and government jobs to teaching high school biology or starting a landscaping company), and will do my best to tailor your education and experiences to help you achieve those goals. Students are recruited to the lab based on the availability of grant-funded research projects (i.e., all graduate students receive a stipend, health care, tuition waiver, and research support). This means that students are typically "assigned" a research project, but each is given the freedom to pursue their own interests within the broader scope of grant objectives. Otherwise, I am always happy to explore other options with students that are highly motivated to join the lab (e.g., collaboratively develop a fellowship application). Below, you will find some "guidelines" for lab culture and my approach as a mentor.
I expect students to:
Have a strong sense of why they want to attend graduate school. There are several great reasons, but boredom or lack of direction are typically not great indicators that one will enjoy grad school.
Give an honest effort in their research and courses.
Treat people in the lab, department, university, and community with respect and compassion.
Have a life outside of graduate school. Yes, I want students to work hard and love their projects…but they risk burning out if they don’t maintain friendships, take vacations to visit family and/or friends, and find healthy ways to decompress. Graduate school will be challenging (and it should be in a good way!), but it should also be one of the most fun and rewarding times of one's life.
COMMUNICATE. If students are struggling, frustrated about their project, or stressed about something outside of work/research, I encourage them to talk to me about it. Of course, lab members are not obligated to discuss non-work related topics, but if students communicate to me that they are overwhelmed by life and graduate school, it can help me understand and support them.
What you can expect from me:
Given I expect you to give an honest effort, be respectful, communicate, and have a life outside of work, you can expect the exact same from me. I will always try to lead by example!
That I will not let you flounder, and will do everything I can to help you get your dream job while you are here and long after you graduate. This means that we will have regular lab and one-on-one meetings to ensure you are getting the support you need. I'm here to support, not micromanage, you.
Opportunities for professional development, such as fully funded trips to present your work at regional and national meetings.
An emphasis on creating a diverse and inclusive lab culture. I have a deep appreciation for life experience (vs. performance in the classroom) and will evaluate students holistically when recruiting to my lab.
An “open-door” policy. Working with graduate students is one of the best parts of my job! There will be times I am not available, but otherwise you will always be encouraged to drop by to troubleshoot and ask questions. If I can’t meet right away, we will set up a meeting.
To be imperfect. I will make mistakes (in mentoring, explaining difficult concepts, etc.), and I hope that we will have a strong enough professional relationship to work through these issues as a team.
The above philosophies on graduate education apply to postdoctoral researchers and their training. A key difference is that postdoctoral researchers are expected to achieve a higher level of independence. I also expect that postdocs to help with mentoring students and drafting research proposals (and of course receiving credit for such efforts!), as many research-focused positions rely on doing these things effectively.