Prospective Post-Docs & Students
Graduate school is a huge commitment and not to be entered into without considerable deliberation. However, if you love learning, if you enjoy the excitement of being consistently challenged, and if you are prepared to work hard, then graduate school can be an enormously satisfying and transformative experience.
The Biology Department at Georgetown is relatively small, but Washington DC provides an incredibly rich and diverse set of resources for graduate work. We interact regularly colleagues from NIH and the University of Maryland, and a wide range of additional opportunities exist (Johns Hopkins, National Zoo, etc). Although I’m certainly interested in working with students who intend to pursue an academic career, I’m also interested in students who will use their PhD to pursue other career paths such as science policy, science education, or other creative trajectories. The skills you learn as a graduate student- critical analysis, clear written and oral communication, working productively as part of a team- will serve you well in any professional capacity. Our location in Washington DC provides outstanding opportunities to pursue a diverse range of career options.
All of the people in my lab are “team-players” who work well in a collaborative, supportive environment. Everyone needs to be committed to pitching in to help keep the lab running, and also to helping others in the lab during “crunch times” (when someone has a big experiment). In addition, many of the experiments we perform require significant time commitment and flexible scheduling. The mosquitoes don’t operate on a 9-5 schedule and they don’t take weekends or holidays off. When someone in the lab has a big experiment running, they need to work according to the time schedule dictated by their experiment!
If this all sounds like it might be a good fit for you, take some time to read recent papers from our lab (see publications page). Think long and hard about whether the questions we are studying are so compelling to you that you’d like to devote the next 5-6 years of your life working on this type of research. If you decide that the answer is yes, than please send me an e-mail describing why you’d like to join the lab. Availability of positions in the lab will vary from year to year, but if there are no current openings I will be happy to suggest other labs or graduate programs that might be a good fit for you.
Below are links to papers by Stephen Stearns and Ray Huey that discuss strategies for success in graduate school. These papers should be read together. The first is a slightly more stark perspective, the second a bit more optimistic. While there is certainly no “one size fits all” strategy for success in graduate school, both of these papers contain many valuable insights.