Faculty Spotlight: Gary K. Greer, Biology
What are your undergraduate research mentor experiences?
Student Scholars Day, Faculty Advisor, Michigan Space Grant
Would you briefly explain the focus of some of the most recent research you have mentored students in?
I study functional anatomy and how reproduction of a plant species determines its distribution and abundance to understand biodiversity and invasive species ecology.
Why is mentoring undergraduate research an important component of your work?
The focus of my job is to facilitate my students’ development of their research skills. Mentoring undergraduate research is an opportunity for my students to receive focused guidance that results in accelerated and higher-level learning of these skills as well as accomplishment that builds a resume or that improves competitiveness for admission to graduate schools.
If a student is interested in your field of research, what are some suggestions or tips you might share with them to help them get more involved and/or better prepared to engage in this type of research?
I strongly recommend completing – with a B or higher – the introductory biology courses up through General Ecology as well as at least one course in statistics. Additionally, I recommend making a habit of reading articles and books pertaining to ecology and evolution, particularly of plants, beyond those assigned for coursework. Nurture your professional passion beyond coursework.
Who are some of your previous mentees, and what are they doing now?
James Moore completed his M.S. at North Carolina State University and a Ph.D. at University of Memphis and is now an assistant professor at Christian Brothers University. Jesse Lincoln went on to earn an M.S. with me and is now employed with Michigan Natural Features Inventory. Cassie Boadway is pursuing her Ph.D. in horticulture at the University of Minnesota. Stephanie Hollingsworth is in the middle of her Ph.D. studies in plant ecology at North Carolina State University. April Rebert is working for the Department of Fish and Wildlife in Alaska and plans to enter graduate school in the next year.
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