• Resources for Students

  • Dr Sher's Laws for writing effective research papers

    This is a list of the most important aspects (besides good content) of a well-written research paper.

  • Web resources for getting environmental jobs

    This is an excel spreadsheet compiled by my graduate student, Robin Bay, of websites to find jobs in the environment.
  • Job Opportunities with the Government
    http://www.opm.gov/Career_Opportunities/index.asp This is a site of the US Office of Personnel Management. Here you will find a list of student opportunities, as well as a link to USAJOBS, a site for finding jobs with the government. There are many in environmental sciences!
  • Subscribe to ECOLOG-L@listserv
    http://catalist.lsoft.com/scripts/wl.exe?SL1=ECOLOG-L&H=LISTSERV.UMD.EDU This is a list-serve that connects members of the Ecological Society of America. Often, jobs and internships are listed here, as well as interesting hot topics in ecology.
  • The Environmental Careers Organization
    http://www.eco.org/ This website has lists of internships for working for the environment.
  • Subscribe to ENVIROJOBS listserve
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EnviroJobs/
  • Academic Careers

    http://www.academiccareers-job.com

    Academic Careers Online, since 1998, is an academic job site where universities and colleges in the US, Canada, and around the globe, advertise faculty, adjunct, post doc, library, endowed chairs, and all types of administrative and senior management jobs.

     

  • Explanation of Confidence Intervals
    http://www.stat.yale.edu/Courses/1997-98/101/confint.htm

    This is from a Yale Statistics course and is quite good.

  • Advice for Undergrads

  • Below is a letter I wrote to an undergraduate who was interested in plants and thinking about pursuing an academic career. It is advice based on what has worked for me.

    Hello- I am glad you got sold on plants your first year- that's what happened to me, too. My first recommendation to you is to find a professor at your school who is doing interesting work with plants and get to know them well. Doors open through who you know, so find out ways that you can participate in this prof's research, TA a plant class, etc. Students who never allow themselves to get known by a professor slip through the cracks in more ways than one. Serve this prof well and it will benefit you for the rest of your days.

    My second recommendation to you is to get as much plant research experience as possible. Take as many classes in this area as you can (at Earlham, this meant 'field botany', 'community ecology', and 'tropical ecology'). Every summer from here on out should be spent doing something in this area. Work for your professor friend, and/or apply for internships and/or workshops wherever and whenever possible. Again, you will gain valuable experience and contacts (assuming you do a good job and can make a good impression).

    Everytime you meet someone in this field, it is an opportunity, now or in the future. Treat everyone well (and with respect) and you will be glad you did later. Third and final: Don't just do this research, PRESENT IT. Attend and present research at scientific meetings that are student-friendly (most are). Your professor friend can help you with this. Some meetings are specific to undergrads. Wherever you go, you will learn more about the field and you will meet people. Notice if you feel more comfortable with the ecology crowd, or the taxonomy crowd, or the physiology crowd, or whatever field within botany that is interesting you. These will be your colleauges, so it is important that you feel at ease and can approach folks. As you can guess, for my carreer, this has been the key.

    Don't worry about grad school yet. You still have lots of time to find out what particular areas interest you, and to read research (presumably as a part of classes) that piques your interest. When you are ready (end of Jr year, beginning of Sr year), write letters to specific individuals you think you'd like to work with. Have your professor friend help you with this- certainly to have him/her read your letter before you send it, and maybe give you ideas about who is good to approach.

    You are already on the right track! Best of Luck to You, AS

  • Other answers to student questions

  • WHAT IS GOOD SCIENCE?  The below is my answer given to this question, asked of me by a 9th-grader for a school assignment:

    Hello Brianna-

    In my opinion, good science is that which is:

    1) Impartial- this means that the scientist isn't trying to "prove" something they already believe.  Good science seeks to find out an answer,without expectation or attachment to any particular result.  It also means that an objective means of analysis is used, such as statistics, and used in an impartial way. For example, if I am testing the impact of an invasive species, my goal is to find out if there is an impact or not, not to 'prove' that there is an impact, even if this would be the more 'exciting' result.
    One way to determine if a scientist is impartial is to see who is funding their research. If a company is funding research to see if their product is dangerous, for example, there may be pressure on the scientist to find a result that is favorable to that company.

    2) Well-designed- this means that enough specimens or samples are tested for the scientist to be able to come to a conclusion that is meaningful.  If I
    am testing for the impact of an invasive species, just looking at one or two plants would not be enough to come to a real conclusion because these might be unusual cases and not representative.  One way to find out if a project is well-designed is to look at their "sample size"- how many individuals did they measure relative to the whole group they are trying to draw a conclusion about?

    The second of these is much easier to determine, but as a lay-person(non-scientist) both can be difficult. This is why most scientific results are reviewed by other scientists, to make sure that good science is upheld. If a scientific result is published in a reputable journal (For example, The Journal of Ecology, or Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of
    Pediatrics), this means that several other scientists have reviewed the work and it should be trustworthy. A scientific result that has not been reviewed (for example, much of the information on the internet) cannot necessarily be trusted, unless you are an expert in that subject and can review it yourself for quality.

    I hope that makes sense to you. I would be happy to answer any other
    questions you may have about this.

    Anna

  • Advice for graduate applicants

  • Dr. Sher and Stephanie Gieck at graduation.

  • I have prepared the following in response to the volume of poorly written first contact emails I receive.  I hope you find this list helpful in your pursuit of graduate study.

    Advice to International Students (and others) interested in graduate studies in the US, with regard to the first contact with a prospective advisor via email:

    1)   Your first correspondence with a potential advisor should be formal, with an attention to detail.  This is your first contact and can easily turn off a potential advisor by misspelling their name or not addressing them properly.  For me, I expect the letter to begin “Dear Dr. Sher,” or “Dear Professor Sher.”  I am shocked by how many emails I receive that have my name wrong (e.g. “Dr. Asher”) or are inappropriately informal, using my first name or use casual language (“Dear Anna”, or simply “hello”).

    2)   Make sure English is excellent and all spelling correct.  If you have TOEFL scores or other similar indications of ability in English, report them.

    3)   Do your homework before contacting any advisor.  In your letter, refer to research you have read by that person and state explicitly what you are interested in studying with them. 

    4)   Mention in your letter what makes you an attractive candidate.  Do you have lots of relevant research background or publications already?  Do you have your own funding?  Are you particularly motivated to work in the region or with that particular professor for some interesting reason? 

    5)   Attach your CV.  This should include education (including titles of any theses), work experience, and any publications, awards, grants or other areas of distinction. 

    I wish you well in your future pursuits.

  • Advice for New Graduate Students

  • It is my objective to facilitate the development of my graduate students into professional peers. Because the major advisor - graduate student relationship takes many forms, it is my intent here to provide information that may be useful to being a student in the Sher Lab. This may range from advice about how to best work with me, as well as information that is not often provided to graduate students during orientation.
  • Advice for new graduate students.doc

    General advice for new graduate students, including what to expect, and pitfalls to avoid.
  • Grant opportunities

    These are some of the many grant opportunities (and their approximate due dates) for students in my lab. Many more can be found at the COS (community of science) website and at the government grants (.gov) website. Use Google to find current URL's for these and other immerging sites.
  • Comments I make on many theses

    Any student would do well to read these before submitting a manuscript or thesis to an advisor

This portfolio last updated: 25-Feb-2019 3:27 PM