Prospective Graduate Students

I am interested in working with bright, motivated graduate students who have high expectations of themselves. Students who work with me will achieve a broad understanding of current problems in ecology and evolution, and should see themselves as capable of making a meaningful contribution in these fields. My goal is to help each of my graduate students put together a well-designed research project that will garner extramural support and that will result in high-quality publications. Individuals working with me should be self-motivated as I offer them a large degree of intellectual autonomy. I do not restrict my students to work on particular projects or with specific taxonomic groups, but finding a shared conceptual interest is necessary for me to serve as an effective mentor. Finally, I only accept students who I feel will add to the stimulating and collegial atmosphere of our lab group. Science is a social endeavor and I am committed to maintaining a positive environment where individuals are most likely to thrive.

I currently have excellent funding support for my graduate students. Individuals working with me can expect a mix of TA and RA funding (usually a commitment of one semester of TA and two semesters of RA in a calendar year). Ph.D. fellowships in our department typically begin at $21,000 per year plus additional benefits. Masters fellowships are closer to $15,000 per year. Supplemental stipend awards (typically $4,000 to $6,000) are competitively available through the Graduate College. Prospective PhD students to my lab can also apply for the High Impact Doctoral Research Assistantship (HIDRA) award through the BYU Graduate College which offers three years of support at $30,000 per year.  Both of my current PhD students are HIDRA recipients and our lab has had very good success at securing these competitive awards, a testament to the quality of graduate students working in my lab. 

The Utah Valley and surrounding areas offer an affordable, healthy, and safe environment and are world-known for a variety of spectacular outdoor opportunities.  We have been known to hold lab meetings on the slopes at Sundance ski resort!  Cost of living in the Provo area is quite reasonable.  Graduate students in our department come from top undergraduate programs throughout the United States and throughout the world, providing a stimulating and vibrant intellectual environment.  Our department in particular houses a remarkably collegial group of faculty and students.  In brief, most graduate students thrive here.

Prospective students should contact me before applying to our graduate program.  I will be accepting one or two new graduate students in 2016.  Feel free to contact me directly to discuss interest in working in my lab.  Our next application deadline is January 30, 2016. Strong applicants will typically be invited to campus for an interview after the application deadline.  Each year I bring students to scientific meetings to present their work and I also travel for research and seminar speaking opportunities. These are good places to visit with me in person for 2017 admission.  Currently, I am planning to attend the American Fisheries Society Meeting in Reno in March 2016 (where I am organizing a symposium on adaptation in captive breeding programs) and the Evolution Meetings in Austin in June 2016; I may attend others.  I typically conduct panel work for the National Science Foundation in Washington DC twice a year, in the spring and in the late fall.  Feel free to contact me to ask where I will be this year.  Prospective students are also welcome to call upon me if they are in town in Provo.

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