Graduate Student Opportunities
Study and Research
Quality education is a priority with Dr. Ernest and the laboratory.
Excellent grades (GPA), GRE scores (~85%ile or higher), and demonstrated research laboratory experience (genomics / genetics), as well as willness to TA to support your program is very important for lab membership consideration. These factors are vital for securing funding - for your tuition, stipend, and research.
Students interested in graduate research/study in ecological genetics/genomics and have a background some combination of the following may find special interest in our lab:
- Combination of molecular genetics / genomics research (including immunogenetics) laboratory experience is required, and any of the following skills and experience would be great:
- Strong GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and/or avian/mammal population monitoring skills (abilities or interest in applications using programs such as MAXENT, DISTANCE, MARK, etc).
- R- programming language knowledge, skills, and experience.
- Professional connections with state or federal wildlife agencies.
- Innovative aspects of natural population genetics, including predictive modeling
- Excellent quantitative, analytical, and verbal skills
- Self-motivated, able to work independently (with guidance from Dr. Ernest), ambitious, hard-working, excellent interpersonal skills (able to work well with diverse sets of people).
- Interests in
- developing and answering important questions in wildlife health, disease ecology & epidemiology, and conservation ecology
- Wildlife genetics, population health, and disease ecology
- Applications of genomics, disease diagnotic tests, field ecology, natural history, habitat modeling using Geographic Information Systems (GIS), avian population monitoring methods (MARK, DISTANCE, MAXENT, etc), statistics, and/or wildlife epidemiology methods..
- Free-ranging Wyoming/Rocky Mountain birds (current focus is on hummingbird ecology, health, and population genetics).
Preference for graduate student membership in our lab will be given to demonstration of excellent scholarship (academic record, GRE's, research experience) and to students who are awarded external (such as NSF) or substantial U. Wyoming fellowships funding for their studies.
Students should be ready and willing to TA for at least part of their graduate student tenure. TA means work as teaching assistant for undergraduate courses.
Since funding for graduate wildlife science research is scarse, all students in our lab are required to apply for fellowships and scholarships. As the students' major professor, Dr. Ernest will help guide this process. Students receiving fellowship funding are more likely to gain admission to the lab of their choice. Some are available for application prior to graduate school admission. Here is a partial list:
- NSF - Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) or go to main NSF web site
- EPA STAR fellowships
- Department of Energy (DOE) fellowships
- University of Wyoming graduate studies funding opportunities
- Visit U. Wyoming graduate group web sites
- Make your own connections with state, federal, non-profit agencies to get your research funded.
If you believe the interests of our lab match yours and you have excellent grades and GRE’s, send Dr. Ernest an email with the following:
- Transcripts including GPA
- GRE scores (both raw scores and %-iles)
- Interest and experience in the area you hope to work in.
- Brief email (short paragraph) detailing why you are interested in my lab and UCD for graduate work, and what you hope to gain through a graduate program, and what skills and strengths you would bring to our lab. Explain what general sort of research you would like to work on. Flexibility in interests are a plus.
- Short emails help me to respond quicker to you. Also helps if you paste prior email threads we exchanged to help remind me of past communications..
- See these resources (and do your own internet searches
- Graduate School Advice - Ecological Society of America
- Ecology Graduate Group mentorship guidelines