I am in the early stages of building my lab, and anticipate recruiting several times over the course of the next few years. I’m thrilled to be in a position to mentor and learn from early career researchers, and always looking for potential group members, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if we have common interests.
As a mentor, I view my job as 1) providing full financial support, 2) providing an appropriate amount of logistical support, 3) helping you network, 4) helping you dream up and design your projects, 5) helping you learn the contours and language of our field, and 6) helping you communicate what you accomplish. In return, I expect you to be 1) kind, 2) participate in the lab and broader Departmental, MSU, and Bozeman communities, 3) try hard things, and 4) have given some serious thought to how working in my lab will serve your goals. This last point is important, as faculty jobs in ecology and evolutionary biology are scarce and competitive, and most graduate students will end up pursuing careers outside the academy.
While a background in the kind of work we do is always a leg up in hiring, I particularly value independence, curiosity, an appreciation for nuance, and some awe at the natural world. I aim to cultivate a lab culture and scientific practice that is equitable and welcoming of diversity in all its dimensions, including class, gender identity and sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, and life experience. Montana is home to 12 Tribal Nations, and I am committed to providing opportunities to Indigenous students.
MSU Undergraduates interested in working in my lab should shoot me an email describing their interests. I’m still figuring out what the lab’s day-to-day activities will look like, but hope to have opportunities for Ecology or Fish and Wildlife majors to gain experience collecting genetic data, extracting DNA, and learning the basics of scientific programming for biodiversity research. (Opportunities will likely be limited in Fall 2023.)
M.S. and Ph.D. students in the Department of Ecology at Montana State University are typically supported by a mix of teaching and research assistantships. Right now, both M.S. and Ph.D. students receive tuition wavers, health insurance, and a $2,200 / month stipend. Because the cost of living in Bozeman is high, we hope to be able to raise this figure in the near future. My ability to take on graduate students (and particularly Ph.D. students) is therefore contingent on the availability of funding. In general, I’ll advertise on the MSU Ecology Job Board, EvolDir, and this website when I have openings. Depending on where the money comes from, these may be more narrowly pegged to a specific project or have latitude for you to develop your own system. In the absence of funded openings, I’m happy to help craft NSF GRFP applications. This publication provides a nice overview of what applying to grad school looks like in our field, and I encourage all prospective graduate students to review it before contacting me (or any other potential advisor).
As with graduate students, I will formally advertise in the usual places when I have funding to support a postdoc. If you have a research idea you’d like to collaborate on, reach out and we can discuss possibilities—if it’s a good fit, I’d love to work together on a proposal for the NSF PRFB or Smith Fellowship.