The Shah Lab Ecological and Evolutionary Physiology in a Changing World
If you are interested in joining the Shah lab, please read the sections below that are relevant to you for more information.
Postdocs I am always looking for motivated, talented postdocs who are interested in insect thermal physiology, trophic cascades, and climate change. Prospective postdocs that are interested should e-mail me to discuss potential research projects and funding opportunities. I always encourage prospective postdocs to apply for independent postdoctoral fellowships such as the NSF Postdoctoral Fellowships in Biology or the MSU Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, and would be happy to discuss and help develop potential projects with the applicant. I currently do not have funding for postdocs, so applying to fellowships is a must.
I am seeking self-motivated and enthusiastic graduate students who are interested in research within the fields of physiological ecology, evolution, and climate change. If this sounds like you, I would be delighted to hear from you! Please note that the deadline for admissions to enroll in the graduate school at MSU is typically around December 1st (though this may vary each year, so please check the MSU and IBIO websites). I am currently accepting graduate students for the Fall 2024 term, so please contact me via email well in advance (several months before) of the application deadline (Dec 1st, 2023) to initiate the process. Applying to graduate school can sometimes feel overwhelming and confusing, so I have provided some information below to demystify the process and offer insight into my mentoring philosophy in the hopes that it will be helpful to you. Initiating contact: When you first reach out to me, please include the following: 1) your CV, and 2) a concise, well-written statement that covers i) your academic background and prior research experience, ii) your current research interests, iii) whether you have applied for any fellowships (refer to the details below), and iv) your reasons for wanting to join my lab. Remember, your initial email serves as the first impression! Proofread your email carefully, and if possible, ask a trusted mentor to review it and provide feedback. For tips on how to approach contacting a potential graduate advisor, please refer to this excellent guide developed by my colleague, Dr. Sarah Evans (MSU). Application details for graduate school: Once we have determined that you are a good fit for the lab, you can formally apply to MSU (with a deadline typically around December 1st, but subject to change annually). I am affiliated with the degree-granting program of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior (EEB), but students must apply to a specific department's graduate program. In my case, it is the Department of Integrative Biology. Students who wish to join my lab should apply to this program and can later consider joining the EEB program if desired. Graduate students are generally funded through a combination of research assistantships (from grants), teaching assistantships, university fellowships, and national fellowships. Applying for national fellowships: You can apply for national fellowships before applying to a graduate program. Such applications provide an excellent opportunity to learn how to write a proposal, reflect on your research interests and goals, and demonstrate your motivation and dedication to potential graduate advisors. It is important to plan ahead because the fellowship application process can take several months. I encourage all eligible students to apply for the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. It is a highly competitive fellowship, and it is possible that you may not receive funding on your first attempt. However, that is perfectly fine! The application process itself will provide you with valuable skills. Please note that applying for a fellowship is highly encouraged but not a requirement for joining my lab. Overview of my training philosophy: Getting a PhD is a long-term commitment that requires a substantial investment of time and can be quite challenging. It is also not necessarily the right path for everyone. Nevertheless, for those who want a deeper understanding of the natural world, and are passionate about finding answers, the graduate experience can be highly rewarding. I take the responsibility of training graduate students very seriously and devote a significant portion of my time to ensuring that my students become thoughtful researchers and effective communicators. In return, I expect my graduate students to dedicate a similar amount of time to their training and to relentlessly pursue their research goals for their PhD. As a mentor, my aim is to inspire students to become exemplary scientists. I encourage them to maintain a constant curiosity about the natural world, think critically about the knowledge they acquire, and approach problem-solving in a creative manner. Most importantly, I want my students to emerge from their program with substantial growth in their research abilities, communication skills, and problem-solving capabilities, enabling them to apply these skills to their chosen career path. Being an immigrant and a woman of color in the field of ecology, evolution, and behavior, I am familiar with some of the challenges that exist within Western academia. I strive to demonstrate to students that these obstacles can be overcome. Within my lab, we cultivate an open, inclusive, and safe research environment that places a strong emphasis on learning, understanding, and collaboration. We do not tolerate competitiveness, arrogance, or any other type of unhealthy behavior that affects the happiness and productivity of our lab group. Additional Reading: Consider reading this article that was recently published to shed light on what graduate school is, and to make more transparent some of the 'hidden curriculum' that graduate students are often expected to understand even though there is rarely any effort made to provide this knowledge to them.
I am currently only accepting undergraduate research trainees through the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program and the Kellogg Biological Station Undergraduate Research Apprenticeships (URA) program. Applications for 2023 are now closed.