The Wetzel Lab strives to be a safe and supportive space for diversity in science. We fight injustice and work to make STEM and academia more inclusive, diverse, and equitable. Black lives matter! Please see our lab values page for more on our lab culture.
We are always looking for motivated graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, and undergraduate researchers. Please check out the research page for descriptions of some of the major projects happening in the lab. And please have a look at our publications to get an idea of the type of research we do. If our science interests you, please email me to start a conversation (firstname.lastname@example.org). It would be ideal if you could provide the following:
- “Prospective student” or “Prospective postdoc” in email subject
- Brief description of research interests and career goals
- Sample of your writing (e.g., published paper, manuscript in preparation, thesis, paper from a class, essay)
- Names and email addresses for 2-3 references
I look forward to hearing from you!
In general, I am looking for people who love thinking deeply about the natural world, who love plants and insects, and who want to use science to make fundamental discoveries that are relevant for environmental issues (e.g., climate change, agricultural sustainability). Most of the lab’s work has a strong quantitative component, so potential lab members should either have skills in statistical and mathematical modeling or be motivated to learn them. Students will be expected to develop independent ecological research programs. These could include projects that build upon the work described on the research page or completely novel projects within the broader context of the role of variability/diversity/heterogeneity in plant–insect and tritrophic interactions.
My mentoring philosophy is to treat mentees as junior colleagues, whose future success is my goal. I also strive to mentor adaptively, being hands-on when a student needs and wants close guidance and being hands-off when a student needs space to think.
I take graduate students through the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior Program, the Department of Entomology, and/or the Department of Integrative Biology. This means my students can obtain dual degrees in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior and Entomology or Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior and Integrative Biology.
We have one grant-funded postdoc opening in the lab for a postdoctoral scholar to serve as a research leader and coordinator with The Herbivory Variability Network. Please see here for the job ad. Please get in touch if you are interested.
We have also had success mentoring researchers through applying for independent postdoctoral fellowships. The lab has had fellows supported through the USDA-NIFA Postdoctoral Fellowships program (usually due in summer or early fall) and the NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Biology program (usually due in fall or early winter). If you’re interesting in applying for these fellowships to work with us, please reach out.
Undergraduate research opportunities
The Wetzel Lab typically has abundant opportunities for undergraduate students at Michigan State University—in the field in the summer and in the lab and greenhouse during the academic year. We also take 1–2 undergraduate researchers from schools other than MSU every summer. These students usually apply to work with us through the Kellogg Biological Station NSF REU Program, which starts accepting applications every December.
In general, we are looking for undergraduates who are interested in the ecology of plants and insects and who want to get their hands dirty doing ecology in the lab, greenhouse, or field. Most students participate in ongoing research projects, but some students pursue independent research projects. Please explore the lab website and email me if you’re interested (email@example.com).