If you are considering applying to work with me, I appreciate your interest in Auburn University’s School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Sciences and my own research in marine invertebrate restoration, fisheries & aquaculture.
In my role as an advisor, I seek to first determine what you hope to accomplish both in terms of your research but also in regards to what you hope to accomplish after you obtain your degree. Based on this information (and the ongoing conversation we would have about this because goals can change), I will attempt to provide you with goal-appropriate challenges that will demand your best work, as well as opportunities to excel professionally. Each student in my lab will be conducting research at a level appropriate to peer-reviewed publication.
In regards to student research, I emphasize independent thought and actively encourage each student to formulate the questions that will drive his or her research. I will offer suggestions and advice, but my preference is to have you develop an aptitude for selecting your own questions as I believe this is one of the most significant skills that can be acquired during the pursuit of a graduate degree. I will actively help you hone your questions to testable hypotheses and developing rigorous experimental designs.
I strongly encourage and support student attendance and presentations at professional scientific meetings. I also urge my students to focus on producing peer-reviewed publications. I believe it is my role to provide you with opportunities to excel, helping you take advantage of your strengths while addressing any gaps.
In return, I expect my students first and foremost to bring their own motivation and enthusiasm to both their own work but also that of the lab. I expect you to take pride in your work and strive to do more than is required. There will be many long days and lots of hard work. Lastly, I expect that you share my desire to carry out high-quality applied research that is relevant to members of the community.
Typically, I accept 1 to 2 students each year (if I have sufficient funding), but this depends on a number of factors, including financial support, commitments to other students, applicant interests and ability and my current research & extension activities. I seek to bring in support for graduate assistantships through external funding. As you might imagine, that means there is very little predictability in the availability of graduate assistantships. I encourage you to compete for fellowships, as winning a fellowship overcomes the financial hurdle and suggests that you’re a strong candidate.
I should also note a logistic challenge of working with me. I am stationed along the beautiful Gulf coast, with an office and lab space at the Auburn University Shellfish Lab on Dauphin Island. This is approximately a 4 hour drive from the main campus. Other students have found that they can satisfy many of the course requirements by taking courses through the Marine Environmental Sciences Consortium at Dauphin Island Sea Lab, but all have found that they need to spend one semester up on campus where they can take a number of the core courses offered within the School of Fisheries, Aquaculture & Aquatic Sciences. Some have opted to take these courses on campus during their first fall semester, while others have opted to start on Dauphin Island and head to Auburn for the first spring semester. Either way, it presents challenges in terms of housing. Housing at the Sea Lab is limited and my students have done best by looking for housing in the community.
Start here, checking the Admissions section. Note the tutorials provided for domestic and international students. For further information, contact me.
As a graduate student, you’ll want to be sure that you’re meeting the official requirements of the graduate school. Check the graduate school section of the AU Bulletin and the graduate school website for the most up to date information.
Choosing classes is exciting but can be a challenging process. To see which classes are being offered at Dauphin Island Sea Lab, check the current list of graduate classes. To register for classes, you will need to have a Populi account set up; contact Regina Doi for help with this. Registration for classes at the Sea Lab can be done here. You will also need to complete the waiver forms at that site, and provide proof of registration at Auburn (which can be a snapshot of your class listed on teh AUAccess Canvas site, under Add/Drop Class).
To ensure that classes are properly credited at Auburn, make sure that I contact the Graduate Program Officer. Some courses are listed in our catalog, while others need to be listed as special topics or special problems. At the end of the semester, we also need to make sure that the grades are recorded at Auburn as well. It never hurts to remind me.
Housing near Auburn University Shellfish Laboratory
Living down along the Alabama Gulf coast is wonderful but some students find it challenging to find affordable housing, particularly for odd time periods or durations. Typically, on-campus housing at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab is very limited, and taken up by quickly. Many DISL graduate students, however, live off-campus and there may be opportunities with these students.
If you want to be eligible for housing, immediately contact Regina Doi to ensure that you are in the eligble pool. In addition to being in the pool of students eligible for on-campus housing at the Sea Lab, this is also a good way to get the word out for rooms to rent or potential roommates.
Some sites that other students have found useful are:
Professional Society Memberships
As a graduate student, I wanted to save money too. It is worth the investment, however, to join several relevant professional societies as a student, often benefiting from lower student rates for attending, as well getting a chance to present your work. Conferences are a great way to network and presenting your research is rewarding and a critical step professionally. Here are several that I would recommend.
Awards & Funding Opportunities
Collection of potential fellowships and financial aid listed by Graduate School
USDA Southern Sustainable Agriculture & Education (SARE) Graduate Student Grants
(More coming soon.)