Graduate Mentoring Philosophy
When it comes to graduate mentoring, Dr. Zollner follows a few general rules of thumb when deciding who to accept into his lab. He only accepts PhD student who have already completed a master’s. Additionally, he strongly encourages students to go to different institutions to further their education, because he believes it is important to diversify your learning experiences and perspective, gain important networking opportunities, and explore other ecosystems. Therefore, he rarely accepts students who have attended Purdue University’s undergraduate programs into his master’s or PhD programs.
When it comes to mentoring his master’s students, Dr. Zollner’s goal is to set them up with a low risk project they can succeed at in a short time period to give them an opportunity to learn and understand research. This by no means will be easy. For his PhD students, he expects them to produce deliverables that are associated with their funding and to produce particular chapters in their dissertation. He additionally wants them to push and stretch their way of thinking, incorporating new ideas and exploring where they want to go with their lives. He expects his graduate students to have good problem solving capabilities, the ability to understand and explain what they’re doing in Zollner’s lab, and express where they want to get in life in a way that both helps them and the lab. In general, he is looking for students who are focused on individual based modeling (see Research Projects), have new ideas, and are able to cycle between field work and lab-based modelling. He is happy to have students that are better at one aspect of the project than the other, but expects them to explore both sides thoroughly (field work and modeling).
Feedback from Past Graduates
“Pat is a very supportive, flexible, and open graduate advisor. He is more communicative than many other graduate advisors I know, meaning if you have a pressing question or issue, he will make time to discuss it with you as soon as he can. Even with five PhD students and two Master’s students in the lab, I was able to meet with him once a week to discuss progress on my dissertation.”
“Pat’s optimism and creativity are second to none. His door was always open and he always provided ideas for how to tackle problems that arose in my research. Pat gave me valuable advice and encouragement during my graduate work and this has continued into my professional career. He is someone I know I can call for thoughtful advice.”
“Communication, knowledge of research, methodology, and application of those has been some of the many strengths that I have experienced working with Dr. Zollner. Dr. Zollner has also guided me into communities [that I could benefit from], like the Native Peoples Wildlife Management Working Group of The Wildlife Society for example.”
The Zollner Lab Current Students
Cami Griffiths, Ph.D.
(August 2017 – Present)
Nerissa Taua, M.S.
(August 2018 – Present)
Daniel Bird, M.S.
(August 2016 – Present)