Advice to my students:
I will do my best to train you to be a good scientist and communicator who can write and present his or her work. It is my sincere hope that you find the science we do here to be interesting and important. I also really want you to succeed and find the job you want after you complete your degree. But, doing a PhD or MS with me as your advisor will not automatically lead to the career that you want. Therefore, I encourage you to take a variety of courses not directly related to your research, in addition to courses related to your research, so that you have a wide array of marketable skills. Some of these may be outside of the department. For example, a single seismic imaging or processing class will open opportunities within the energy industry; a journalism class may lead to opportunities in science journalism; statistics or economics classes can lead to opportunities in the financial industry. I am happy to help you as much as I can with the professional connections that I have, but I also encourage you to make your own connections by speaking to other scientists at meetings or when we have visiting seminar speakers. By the time you graduate, you should have a small professional network of your own.
I also advise my students to keep “clean” social media accounts. As a graduate student, professors and students at other universities as prospective employers may be looking you up and finding your accounts. Also, a lot of scientific discussion occurs on facebook! Once you become a more senior graduate student, it is worthwhile to create your own website showcasing your work.
If you are considering a career in industry, check out this book: Navigating the Path to Industry: A Hiring Manager's Advice for Academics Looking for a Job in Industry by M. R. Nelson
Student expectations and group culture:
I expect students to speak up and share their ideas. I would rather have a student who asks lots of “dumb” questions than one who sits quietly during classes or group meetings, because a quiet student isn’t contributing to the discussion. I like students who take the initiative in communicating with me, whether by sending me an email or asking for a meeting time. I understand that students come from different backgrounds, and something that is “basic” knowledge for one student might be unknown to another, so don’t be afraid to interrupt and ask.
Most of my students meet with me for 1 hour every 2 weeks by default. However, if a student desires more frequent meetings for a period of time I can accommodate that. We also have meetings of the entire research group to fill each other in on our progress every two weeks.
Students are expected to take the lead in writing scientific papers based on their work. When the student and I agree that the work is ready for publication, I expect the student to write a first draft of the paper on their own and submit it to me for comments and editing. Your first draft of your first paper may go through many iterations and changes before submission, which is OK. My general expectation is for an MS student to publish 1 paper, and for a PhD student to publish approximately 3 papers (or perhaps 2 very long papers or 4 short papers). These expectations may be adjusted in individual cases. By the time you write your thesis, I expect to make only minor edits to your work.
The length of a PhD, and to a lesser extent an MS, is variable and depends on many factors. Some students work more quickly than others, and some projects hit unforeseen difficulties. You earn a your degree based on your body of work, and not based on the amount of time you have been a student. Some students may finish a PhD in 4 years or less, and others may take 7 years or more. 5 or 6 years is the norm. At any time I would hope my students feel comfortable discussing with me their expectations regarding graduation timeline to avoid any misunderstandings.
Students and postdocs within my research group are expected to treat other people with respect, including but not limited to fellow group members, other students in the department, professors, and administrative staff. I will not tolerate any type of harassment, including bullying, sexist or racist comments, sexual comments or gestures, etc. I will take any accusations of inappropriate behavior seriously, and unacceptable behavior may be considered grounds for me to revoke your funding and remove you from my research group. My goal is to create a safe, comfortable, and productive environment for my students.