Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory


Undergraduate Research Opportunities

I encourage motivated undergraduate students to contact me at any time to discuss research opportunities. These can take the form of work-study, research for credit, or honors theses. There are also opportunities for full-time summer research experiences. You do not necessarily need to have any specific skills or experience to participate in our research. However, you do need to be committed and curious!  We currently have funding for undergraduate students to participate in our Arctic field and lab work!


Graduate School


I am not actively soliciting new PhD students for 2015, but welcome inquiries from exceptional candidates.  

It typically takes 5-6 years to earn a PhD in Ecology and 2-3 years for a MS. While I have advsed some MS students, I generally prefer to recruit students interested in pursuing a PhD. The experience differs markedly from your undergraduate education and will be challenging, but very rewarding. As a PhD student, there is much less emphasis on classwork, and more emphasis on applying knowledge, developing new ideas, and independently managing long-term projects. For many people the most challenging aspect of graduate school is learning how to manage your research on a day-to-day basis with relatively little oversight.

I don’t expect incoming graduate students to be experts in ecology; in fact, I welcome applicants with unique backgrounds and strengths that will compliment my own expertise. You should, however, have enough experience or knowledge of ecology to be certain that this general field is something you are passionate about.

As an advisor, my job is to help you develop the skills you will need to successfully complete your PhD. I will provide guidance and resources to help you execute the ideas that you develop. I also ensure that you get training in ALL of the skills that you will need to be successful in the career path that you choose. For example, our lab group often discusses issues such as networking, grantsmanship, communication, and outreach.  There are many more PhD's than academic jobs, and it can be extremely competitive to get a faculty job.  But, I think that a PhD is outstanding training for any number of careers.  I hope to train students that will go on to work for NGO's, create their own start-up companies, teach in our K-12 schools, become professors, or whatever else allows them to apply their skills to solve problems, advance our knowledge, or improve sustainability.

Is my lab the right place for your dissertation research?

I am looking for bright, creative, motivated and collaborative students with a keen interest in microbial ecology and/or biogeochemistry. You can read about our current research projects, but our lab is willing and able to expand into new territory if the questions are compelling. I do not expect students to arrive with a concrete dissertation topic in mind, however, I do expect students to have a general idea of the questions/topics they are interested in studying.

If you would like to further discuss graduate opportunities in our lab, I would ask that you send me the following information:

1. A detailed statement of why you want to attend graduate school and why my lab is a good fit for you.
2. A description of your previous research experience, and resulting publications (if applicable).
3. The names and institutions of the people who will provide your letters of recommendation (letters are not necessary in this packet).
4. Your GPA and GRE scores (including percentile scores).

If you decide to apply to Colorado State University, I can accept PhD students through the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology. Please see the GDPE website for more program details.