Prospective graduate students should read our lab research page and some of our publications to see if these sound like the kind of projects you'd like to work on. If you're interested in joining our lab, please send me an email with a brief description of your past research experience, an explanation of why you'd like to join our lab, and copy of your CV. If it seems like we would be a good fit for each other, I will suggest you apply. After I review all applications (usually in January), I will follow up by scheduling an in-person or Skype conversation with the applicant(s) that seem like the best fit.
My thoughts on graduate school and the advisor-student relationship:
In general, I expect my students to develop their own research projects on a topic that interests them but also overlaps with my own expertise. I think developing an original research project is an important component of the PhD training, although I will provide extensive guidance and feedback during this process. Once students have settled into their dissertation project, I try to match my level of involvement with the student's preferences and needs. However, I welcome feedback from each student about their desired level of interaction. I really like Hank Howe's thoughts on graduate students as 'ants', 'free-lancers', or 'colleagues' and, similar to Hank, prefer the 'colleague' approach to working with graduate students.
There is a lot of advice out there about being successful in graduate school. Here is one essay that hits a lot of important points. In my opinion, there are several skills and traits needed for success in graduate school. These include an ability to troubleshoot, problem-solve, and find information; an ability to accept and learn from constructive criticism; self-motivation and self-discipline; creativity and curiosity; and time management skills. Not everyone comes to graduate school with all of these traits and all of us are stronger in some than others. Developing these traits is part of the PhD training. But a good dose of most of them is needed to successfully complete a dissertation.