Join our lab

I am interested in up to 1 MSc student, 1 PhD student, and 1 postdoc who would start with me in Fall 2018 at The Ohio State University program in Evolution, Ecology, & Organismal Biology. The graduate school application deadline is December 1, 2017.

For 2018, I plan to recruit no more than three lab members. Email me if you are interested. I’m in the field until mid-October, so feel free to email me again if I do not respond after a while to your first email.

Possible paid research assistantships (email me for more information “gerry at socialbat dot org”):

  1. Tracking wild vampire bats
  2. Experiments on oxytocin and cooperative relationships

How to apply

Contact me as early as possible before you apply to the school. Please send me an email entitled “prospective student” with a single PDF attachment containing (1) an informal cover letter explaining your scientific research interests, goals, prior experiences, and whatever else you think is relevant; (2) your CV; (3) an informal academic transcript with GPA, classes, and grades (a screenshot is fine); and (4) the name and email addresses of two references.

You do not have to work on bats to join the lab. I welcome researchers interested in cooperation, communication, or cognition in different systems.

For MSc applicants: You don’t need any project ideas. We can think up projects together that can be completed in 2 years. There may be opportunities to extend or convert a successful MSc project into a PhD. The goal is for you to write a good paper that teaches you how to do research and makes you an expert on a very specific topic.

For PhD applicants: You should have some ideas regarding research topics that interest you, but please don’t be afraid to send me research ideas and interests that are vague. The goal is for you to publish 3 or more good papers, establishing you as a research authority on the topic of your dissertation.

  • Read my advice for grad students.
  • Read about our research.
  • Apply for fellowships. A fellowship pays your stipend, so you can pursue research full-time without having to teach. Look into the deadline for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowships. See what else you can find.  Look up fellowships at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Ford Foundation, Human Frontiers, Fulbright, etc. There are also university fellowships.
  • Consider getting some research experience, if you don’t have any. Look into internships and research assistantships.
  • Read papers. To really get caught up in a field, you probably need to spend at 6-12 months of your first year completely immersing yourself in the literature– just reading, writing, and thinking critically about whatever specific topic you want to study. The best way to do this is to write a critical review paper. Then use that to write a good proposal (see below) and the first chapter of your dissertation.
  • If you’re interested in our lab, you should read our papers. The more you know, the easier it will be to discuss potential projects.

Postdocs: Let’s discuss possible experiments! I am especially excited to bring novel skills or expertise to the lab, and I’m particularly interested in people proficient with application of machine learning to automating detection and measurement of animal sounds.

Funding: You should apply for external fellowships, but Teaching Assistantships (paid by the department), and Research Assistantships (paid from my startup funds) are also available.


 

My expectations of students

  • We are a collaborative team. Nobody is competing. Help each other out.
  • Read papers. Think about them. Talk about them.
  • Have a set of short-term and long-term goals, and keep track of your progress.
  • Plan to write and submit manuscripts while you’re in the lab, not just at the end.
  • Contact me whenever you have problems. Always have a Plan B (and C, D, E).
  • Let me know what you need. Communication is key!
  • Work hard, but take care of your physical and mental health.
  • Learn to love R if you don’t already.

 

 

 

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