Prospective Students

Below you will find information for prospective Graduate students and undergraduate & independent research

Prospective Graduate Students | jump to Undergraduate & Independent Research

Please be persistent. Certain times of the year are very busy and I have to prioritize my current students (under and grad) over prospective students. Persistence pays off! I am looking for people who want to work with urban wildlife, who are interested in continuing white ibis work, Salmonella work, antimicrobial resistance etc, among other things, but my main theme “anthropogenic activities that influence wildlife health and pathogen dynamics” still stands as my number one priority.

If you are interested in joining my lab as a graduate student, please contact me, but please first read  information below so that you can have a better idea of my philosophy and expectations. Depending on your interests and goals, I accept students through both of the Warnell School and the College of Veterinary Medicine. You may also want to contact the UGA Graduate School , Kate deDufour ( for information about specific requirements to apply for acceptance into the Warnell School or Dr. Harry Dickerson ( for acceptance into the College of Veterinary Medicine.


Unfortunately, the primary limiting factor to pursuing graduate studies these days is funding. There are two types of funds required to pursue a graduate degree: 1) funds needed to pay for your tuition, books, living expenses etc (“stipend”) and 2) funds to implement your research.


Both at the Warnell School and the College of Veterinary Medicine, assistantships for graduate studies are limited. These funds are only for tuition, living expenses and are NOT research funds. There are several types of assistantships, but in general, they are categorized as: 1) those granted by the UGA graduate school. To qualify for these, one of the departments has to nominate you, and you must have both excellent grades and high GRE scores; 2) those granted by the department itself (again, eligibility is based on grades, GRE scores), 3) those provided by the faculty member through grants. Unless you are specifically responding to an announcement I have made, I will either nominate you for one of the above assistantship (if you qualify) or pursue finding alternate sources of funding, which is dependent on a variety of factors.


When you contact me and to ensure that my reply is as informative as possible, it is important to include a state of your interests, why you think you want to work specifically with me, your CV, and if possible a copy of your transcripts (or a summary) and your GRE scores.


PhD students: I expect PhD students to come with a specific idea of what they want to do. I do not mean that you should have a specific hypothesis and research questions already formulated, but some idea of what topic, species, pathogen or system in which you’d like to work and some background knowledge of that topic and be ready to start formulating questions. I expect PhD students to be highly independent, to take ownership of their work, to develop their own questions and, with my help and guidance, resolve logistics to move towards answering those questions. I also look to PhD students to be role models for the MS students in the lab.

MS students: I expect MS students to be enthusiastic about a specific area, but not necessarily know specific questions.


In general I do not impose specific schedules (ie: work hours are 8-5) on my students. However, you will be provided with space and you will generally get a better experience if you are here, such that you can participate in seminars, interact with other students and get your questions answered quickly. I strongly believe Your education is Your responsibility. I do ensure you follow a “schedule” for academic requirements such as prospectus development, committee formation, etc to help you, but I tend to be “laissez faire”, thus if you are in need of a highly structured environment, my lab may not be for you. It is my responsibility, I feel, to try and encourage you to participate in as many opportunities (whether directly related to your research or not) while you are here and I expect my students to get to know each other’s research and, if needed, help each other. I will expect you to present your work at regional and national meetings and publish your work. I will encourage you to submit your work for publication prior to finishing your studies. I do have an open door/open cell phone policy and we will meet regularly to address your concerns and needs. We will meet, as a lab, at least once per month. 

Once you are my student, I will become your advocate. I will work towards encouraging you when things get tough, make sure you get access to as many opportunities as possible and provide you as much moral support as possible. I will not be “grading” you, (other than obviously when going through the requirements, such as comprehensive exams) and my attitude will be to maintain your enthusiasm, help you come up with creative, exciting research and, at times, point out where you might need to strengthen your background knowledge. I strongly believe in multidisciplinary work, and my professional career has been enriched by this attitude. Thus, I will encourage my students to engage in work with other scientists.


Undergraduate & Independent Research | jump to top


If you are interested in working with me and my graduate students, please contact me. Please send me a message with your CV and an explanation about why you want to work in my lab. In some cases, I may be hiring, or you might be able to register for independent research credit. I expect undergraduate students that want to work with me to commit to a specific period of time or project and to stick to that commitment. In most cases, if you are working for independent research credit (WILD 5900 for wildlife students or POPH 5900 for veterinary students), you will either need to complete a project or a writing assignment. 

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