Responsibilities for graduate students

As a graduate student, it is your responsibility to:

  • Complete your degree. This includes classroom and laboratory work, which have to be conducted with professionalism, self-motivation, engagement, scientific curiosity, and high ethical standards.

  • Be knowledgeable of the policies, deadlines, and requirements of the graduate program, the graduate school, and the university. Comply with all institutional policies, including academic program milestones, laboratory practices, and rules related to chemical safety, biosafety, and fieldwork.

  • Work with me to develop a thesis project for your degree. Your degree requires that you produce a coherent body of research representing a contribution to your scientific field. Ensure that your research is ultimately proceeding towards this goal.

  • Be responsive to advice and constructive criticism. The feedback you get from me, your colleagues, your committee members, and your course instructors is intended to improve you. Provide feedback on my mentoring to you. Not everyone has the same mentoring needs and personalities, so there will inevitably be places where my efforts do not line up with your preferences and expectations. I trust you to let me know about this, so I can make adjustments to be a better advisor.

  • Participate in the intellectual life of our local academic community. This means regularly attending talks and seminars in our program. It also means asking questions and joining in the discussion during research presentations by other scholars, including your peers.

  • Do some soul-searching as to what type of career you want to pursue, e.g., academic jobs that are research-focused or teaching-focused, non-academic jobs like data science or science writing. We can brainstorm ways of making sure you are getting the training that you need.

  • Stay up-to-date (and keep me up-to-date, I will be happy to hear from you!) on any deadlines that you need to meet to fulfill departmental requirements. I welcome gentle reminders if the deadline is approaching and you haven’t heard from me.

  • Prioritize time for your dissertation research. It is easy to get caught up in coursework or TA-ing, but eventually you need to have completed a dissertation. Actively manage your time effectively and manage your project to get your dissertation done.

Responsibilities of undergraduate students

As an undergraduate student doing independent research with me, it is your responsibility to:

  • Make the appropriate time commitment. To get the most from your lab training and to be of greatest benefit to the lab's ongoing research efforts I ask you to commit between 6 and 8 hours of your time each week. This time can be spread out to best suit your schedule.

  • Communicate often. This includes face-to-face meetings, email and other methods. I expect to hear from you in some way every week. Reach out with questions as soon as they pop up. Send a follow-up message if I don’t reply in three days, I welcome gentle reminders. I’m always thrilled to receive your updates.

  • Set specific goals. We will discuss the overall objective of your research, and we will negotiate how to divide this up into smaller tasks. You will organize your time to accomplish these tasks, and communicate with me if there are unexpected changes to your schedule.

  • Take detailed notes. Keep a record of your work in a place we can both see it, such as a Google Doc or on GitHub. Update your notes weekly or more often. Keep notes about what we talk about when we meet.

  • Participate in the NYU Undergraduate Research Symposium. This is an excellent way to show the results of your efforts in a way that your friends and family can enjoy also (

  • Apply for NYU undergraduate research funding. I strongly encourage you to apply for research funding to work in my lab through NYU's DURF programs (

  • Be responsive to advice and constructive criticism. The feedback you get from me and your course instructors is intended to improve you. Provide feedback on my mentoring to you. Not everyone has the same mentoring needs and personalities, so there will inevitably be places where my efforts do not line up with your preferences. I am not infallible, but can only make adjustments when I know that they are needed.

My responsibilities to you

As a PI, it is my responsibility to:

  • Provide everyone under my supervision an environment that is safe and free of harassment, intellectually stimulating, and emotionally supportive. I will enforce a culture governed by collegiality that values differences in personalities, experiences, and opinions. I will meet with you regularly to discuss your research projects. The definition of “regularly” may change over time or over the course of a project, but for now, I mean once a week or more often as needed. I will care about you as a person, and not just a scientist.

  • Be committed to your research project. I will help you design an independent project within the scope of the lab’s research for your thesis, or other work. I will be intellectually committed to your research. This includes helping you to generate experimental and theoretical ideas, interpreting and constructively criticizing your data and contextualizing it within a broader context, and supporting you in presenting your ideas and results to the scientific community. I will promote your work in talks and in correspondence with colleagues.

  • Ensure that you receive appropriate training. I will provide resources and mentorship from both myself and senior lab members so that you have the technical skills that you need to accomplish your research. If the training you need does not fall within the lab’s expertise, we shall discuss opportunities for you to receive that training elsewhere, either through collaborations with other laboratories or by attending workshops and classes outside of this University. I will share with you my perspective on academia and issues related to professional development.

  • Lead by example and facilitate your training in complementary skills needed to be a successful scientist, such as oral and written communication, applying for grants, lab management, mentoring, and scientific ethics and professionalism. I will encourage you to seek teaching opportunities, even if not required for your degree, include you where appropriate in grant writing and manuscript reviews, and provide opportunities for you to mentor junior researchers. I will enforce high standards of scientific ethics and professionalism.

  • Provide financial resources to you as appropriate and according to this institution’s guidelines. To the best of my ability, I will provide the resources that you need to conduct your experiments. In addition, I will support you in trying to obtain external funding for your degree program.

  • Help you navigate your graduate program of study. You are responsible for keeping up with deadlines and being knowledgeable about requirements for your specific program. However, I am available to help interpret these requirements, select appropriate coursework, and select committee members for your oral exams.

  • Help you build your professional social networks, including presenting at scientific meetings. I will attempt, as funding allows, to send you to a major conference every year when you have material to present. I will also help you to identify and apply for travel fellowships to help pay for attending these conferences.

  • Provide career advice and assist you in finding a position following your graduation. I will give advice and feedback on your career goals, and encourage you to explore opportunities both outside and within academia as suits your interests and progress. I will support your career development by introducing you to other researchers in the field, and promptly writing recommendation letters for you.