Our group is dedicated to ensuring a safe, open, welcoming environment for everyone. No matter the color of your skin, your gender, sexual orientation, religion, or any other aspect of your identity, you are welcome in this lab and you are welcome at WHOI. This is a commitment that includes a series of actions and policies summarized below in our lab code of conduct and advising philosophy:
Once per year, our lab meets to review, discuss, and update a code of conduct.
As a prospective student/postdoc/intern, one challenging aspect of finding a lab to join can be determining whether the style of mentorship will be a good match. Below is a brief summary of my philosophy on advising and commitments to fostering a supportive advisor-advisee relationship:
Reducing the inherent academic power dynamic between students and advisors: to create an open environment - and to do the best science together - it is critical that you feel comfortable talking with me or someone else at WHOI whenever an issue arises, without fear of retribution. One small but tangible step towards creating this openness is eliminating confidential letters of recommendation on applications. Too often, advisees are reluctant to come forward with issues out of fear that their advisor may write a negative letter of recommendation in the future. You have my word that you will always have an opportunity to see any letter of recommendation that I write. I hope that this transparency creates an openness that persists throughout your time in my lab group.
Your graduate student or postdoc experience is about developing skills and broadening interests for your future, not being a replacement for a laboratory technician. At the outset of graduate school, it is enormously difficult to predict where your research will take you and whether your interests will remain the same (they likely will not!). I am committed to treating you as a scholar, not an employee, and to ensuring that you have the flexibility to change the course of your research. There are many avenues to change course in the middle of grad school, or even a postdoc position, and I want you to know before you even apply that I will support you should you decide to move in a new direction. [This goes for career shifts, too (e.g., outside of academia)]
Academia can be tough, especially in your early career. Failure is inevitable at any career stage, and in fact it is key to learning and to furthering scientific progress. However, despite its scientific benefits, failure can lead to mental and emotional distress and associated feelings of impostor syndrome. It’s important to know (a) that resources are available to you at WHOI, and (b) that I will support and encourage you to prioritize your mental and physical health in my lab at all times.
I am committed to continue learning and growing as a mentor and an advocate. I am sure that I won’t be a perfect advisor. But when I make a mistake, I hope you feel comfortable bringing it to my attention. You have my word that I will listen, learn, adapt and continue to educate myself on being a better mentor and advocate.