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Student Research Philosophy

Advisor Goals and Mentoring Philosophy: 

Goals for Graduate Students:          My overall goal as a graduate mentor is to promote the professional development of students.  Toward this end I work with each student to develop skills and expertise in the design and implementation of experiments and sampling protocols, statistical analysis, report writing, speaking, and grant writing.  In this way, when a student completes their research experience in my lab they have developed and are capable of bringing core professional skills to an employer and/or, in the case of MS thesis students, be in position to enter the Ph.D program of their choice. (See the section entitled” student outcomes” for evidence of attaining these goals.)

Mentoring Philosophy:  At the core of my mentoring philosophy is the perspective that producing quality students is the primary product of my own experience in science.  I would contend that in many graduate research labs students work to ensure that “payoff vectors” point toward the greater glorification of their advisor.  For me, however, it has been far more satisfying to work toward the success of my students and then enjoy that shared success.  I treat students as junior colleagues in training and I hope for lasting relationships both professional and personal as one outcome.

My approach to promoting the professional development of each student is to: a) provide opportunities for students to “be all they can be”--- to borrow a phrase; b) work diligently to promote success during each phase of the research experience; and c) set high expectations for student achievement.

My advising philosophy and my expectations of students as well as my roadmap for ensuring student success can be found in the document entitled “How to Enjoy Success in the Ott-lab” (part of the “getting started reading packet” for incoming students in my lab).  This document also provides examples of quality thesis proposals, funded student grants, archived presentations, meeting abstracts, core readings, examples of student CV’s at graduation –to be emulated, etc.

As a final example (element) of my student-centered approach to graduate training, incoming students in my lab are provided with an electronic copy of GRAD = “Graduate Research and Awards Directory.”  GRAD is an extensive electronic directory of local, regional, and national sources of funding and awards in support of grad research complete with examples of funded proposals etc., that I and other members of our Pop. Bio. group at Texas State have compiled and maintain.