“Where do I go from here?” is one of the hardest, but most frequent, questions a graduate student faces during their PhD program and many of us turn to our mentors to determine the right direction. Unfortunately, as many students know either from personal experience or online reading, mentors come in a variety of competencies (and even with the best of mentors, one person can only provide one perspective). It is critical for students to learn the art of mentoring themselves. So where do we begin with DIY mentoring?
Many graduate student ecologists will propose thesis work that contains both a lab and a significant field component. However climate change is shifting where species occur, when they occur, and if they occur, often in ways we are ill prepared to predict. How should mentors shift the advice they give their graduate students as they work to develop the fieldwork component of their research, to avoid risky and potentially impossible projects?
As ecologists, we study biodiversity in ecosystems. Here, we look at diversity of ecologists themselves and make recommendations on how best to recruit and retain underrepresented groups. Entering ecology and other field sciences face additional challenges due to the privileged nature of outdoor careers. We believe outreach programs designed to engage underrepresented groups at a young age as well as initiatives to promote inclusive excellence during graduate school will help increase diversity of ecologists. Contribute to the discussion using #ecologist_diversity on Twitter!