My goals in mentoring new researchers are to provide opportunities for students to understand current theoretical issues in behavioral ecology and potentially to integrate conservation issues with behavioral ecology studies. I encourage intensive field research. I expect my students to work towards developing and testing major concepts in the field of behavioral ecology. Students interested in conservation and outreach will also be expected to work at the interface of conservation biology towards developing creative research or citizen science engagement strategies. Such skills will be emphasized in the courses and seminars I teach and through mentoring.
My philosophy in advising graduate students and undergraduates conducting research projects is to emphasize question-driven research. I offer two possibilities:
- Collaborative research with me, which increases the possibility of grant-funded stipends as a form of support and offers frequent one-on-one communication during project development. This model, however, but offers less intellectual freedom and experience in project design and grant-writing than a more independent approach. Within the framework of a collaborative project, I ask students to develop their own piece, so that they have a chance to gain inquiry skills and demonstrate independent research potential, creativity, and research design capability.
- The second model I offer is a guided experience in which the student chooses his or her own project and collaborators, secures funding through small grants (e.g. App State; Sigma Xi; Chapman Fund) essentially taking on the role of principal investigator in a project of his/her own design. The model is really only appropriate for students who plan to pursue a PhD and who feel comfortable accepting this challenge.
If you are interested in working in my lab, please email me.