Joining the Lab: Prospective Graduate Students

UC Berkeley, and the ESPM graduate program in particular, ranks among the best places to conduct graduate research in ecology. It is a fantastic place to explore novel and exciting research questions in a collaborative environment. I place a high priority on mentoring graduate students. One of the most rewarding things I do is to collaborate with students in their intellectual development to reach their creative and professional potential, to help them make a difference in environmental issues facing the world.  A first critical step in this process is to intellectually develop a project that really excites you. Another critical step is to learn the myriad of skills and form a network of colleagues necessary to achieve your goals. I actively assist in these steps through frequent meetings, active discussions, and supporting an interactive lab group. I am exceedingly proud of the stimulating and collaborative team environment of our group and of the amazing accomplishments of our current and past group members.

If you are interested to learn more about what it is like working with me and in our graduate program, please contact me and current members of the lab. To begin the conversation, please:

  1. Read information on this webpage and the publications from our group; these will help you gauge whether we do the type of work that excites you. In general, our group is a good fit for people with a background in plant ecology, community ecology, or field ecology; for people that like experimental and quantitative approaches; and for people that like their basic research to have application to environmental decision-making. We are not the best fit for people who have little ecological background, want to focus on applied problems without a strong basic science foundation, want to be given a project without creative input, or want to work in isolation with no larger team involvement.
  2. Send me a description of the type of research you would like to conduct and what your career goals are. While I will never hold you to it – graduate school is the time to formulate ideas and explore new territory – it will give me an idea of your goals and the type of questions that excite you. If you can, I would also like to read a paper or research report you have written (e.g., class research projects, published papers).
  3. ESPM is a very competitive program, and you must have an excellent record to be competitive in the admission program. Please also send a transcript (unofficial is fine) and your GRE percentiles, and your CV that includes names of 2-3 references.
  4. If it seems like your record and interests are good fits for the lab, I will get back in touch with you to set up a time to talk or meet in person. The departmental application deadline is the first of December, so it is best to start the conversation in the late summer or early fall.