General Lab Information
Prospective Undergraduate Researchers – Students should email Dr. Colston firstname.lastname@example.org with their unofficial transcript, CV and a brief statement of research interests including why they are specifically interested in the MADDReptiles Lab. Research students will be given the opportunity to enroll in research credit and apply to paid internships.
Prospective Graduate Students – We are actively recruiting Master’s students for Fall 2024. Prospective students should review the UPRM Graduate Program deadlines and send an introductory email to Dr. Colston with unofficial transcripts, CV and research interests. Note: While the UPRM Biology Department does not have a Ph.D. program, Dr. Colston can advise Ph.D. Students through Marine Sciences and UPR Rio Pedras. Additionally, if you are interested in applying for a NSF GRFP with Dr. Colston please include this information and a brief summary of your proposed project.
Prospective Postdoctoral Researchers – Funded postdoctoral positions will always be openly advertised. Currently the Lab does not have active funding for a postdoctoral researcher. However, we are always open to helping motivated individuals apply to fellowship opportunities. For this, email Dr. Colston with a CV, brief statement of the proposed research, including potential resources the Lab would need to provide, and details of the fellowship criteria.
MENTORING STATEMENT AND COMMITMENT
This statement was partially inspired by Dr. Nick Keiser, who has been a role model for me as a new PI.
The mission of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM) is to form educated, cultured and critically thinking community members that are professionally prepared to contribute to the educational, cultural, social, technological and economic development of Puerto Rico. Aligned with this mission, it is my goal to train students from diverse background to be independent thinkers, and in the case of graduate students and postdocs, independent researchers, and to provide all of my students and mentees with an environment that is welcoming, inclusive and promotes a healthy work-life integration. These goals can only be achieved by understanding the individuality of each mentor-mentee relationship, mutual respect, and support. I value each of my trainees for their unique experiences and backgrounds they bring to the lab and see all trainees as future potential collaborators. I understand the inherent power dynamic of mentor-mentee relationships but try to use this dynamic to instill power and encourage independence in my mentees. I have the utmost respect for the diversity of skills and experiences my mentees bring to the Lab and encourage them to pursue projects that will help them reach their individual career goals.
My job as a PI is to provide the tools and training necessary for my research students to achieve their goals. Therefore, I allow my research students to pursue any research question they desire, so long as it fits under the umbrella host-microbiome interactions, herpetology or systematics. This is simply due to these are the topics wherein my expertise lies, and that the Lab is best equipped to study. I understand and value that not everyone conducting a research project has a career in academia as an end-goal. Part of my job is to help my trainees discover their individual interests, foster their unique set of research questions, and promote their individuality as a scientist in such a way that best prepares them for their chosen career path. If you do not know your career path, that’s ok too! I will work with you to help you discover what path best suits you albeit industry, academia, medical research etc. My former mentees have gone on to successful careers in all of the above. As my philosophy states I value work-life balance and try to set a positive example for everyone in the Lab. We cannot produce quality science if we are not taking good care of ourselves, mentally and physically. I’m a fairly dedicated powerlifter and aspiring coffee farmer, and my family and I spend as much time outdoors being active as possible. I encourage my Lab to function as a community, and I host regular Lab social events at my finca. We hold weekly Lab meetings, and I meet weekly with individual graduate students and bi-weekly with individual undergraduate researchers. The community we build is even more important that the science we produce, and I try to instill this in all of my mentees.