Prospective Students

I am eager to build a lab group comprised of hard-working, passionate, and productive young ecologists. I am willing to advise students on projects that span a broad range of ecological questions, but I would be the best fit as an advisor for those students interested in questions concerning food web interactions, predator-prey dynamics, and ecosystem function in coastal environments. I am open to explore potential projects in a variety of aquatic ecosystems, but I currently have in place the best framework to develop projects in Bahamian and North Carolina coastal ecosystems.  We also have begun some preliminary investigations of the ecology of urban streams in and around Raleigh.

I plan to accept 1 (maybe 2) Ph.D. students a year, but the competition for these positions has tended to be very high. The best candidates will have research experience within their sub-discipline of interest, and should be able to clearly state what questions/concepts they want to examine as part of my lab. Because of the extent to which I seek to integrate science and education in my work, I am also looking for those students eager to develop education and outreach initiatives associated with their research.

Please contact me by email if you are interested in joining the lab. In the first correspondence, please include the following: (1) A succinct 3-4 sentence summary of what type of research you envision if you were to join the lab and (2) Identify the 2 most important experiences/accomplishments that would make you a valuable addition to the lab group and/or that have prepared you to be a graduate student.

I will respond in a relatively short time period and let you know whether I suggest you pursue an application at NCSU. For those of you that will apply, here are a couple of other general suggestions:

  • I will be very hesitant to accept a student who I have not met in person. I think that even a short person-to-person meeting is invaluable for both student and advisor. I am aware of the financial and logistical constraints of traveling to each university you may be considering, but since this is such an important decision in your life, I strongly encourage you to find a way. This is also an opportunity to meet other students in the department, see the Raleigh area, etc..
  • Contacting other graduate students in my lab and the department will give you a valuable perspective on what it would be like to work with me, and provide insight into the graduate program as a whole. I weigh my current lab members’ impressions of perspective students very carefully.
  • Many perspective students volunteer as part of our research team the summer before starting graduate school. This is an excellent way to get a head start on research directions.
  • It is common for me to work with perspective students to submit NSF Graduate Research Fellowships or EPA STAR Fellowships the year before he or she would enter the program. This provides the student a head start in planning research directions, and provides an excellent opportunity to see if we would work well together as a team. We have had many students able to secure funding before starting the graduate program.