As a mentor, my top priority is to create an energetic and collaborative environment where lab members can grow intellectually and personally. My approach focuses on building a strong theoretical background with lab members, enabling them to use that background to identify the big, important ecological questions in the 21st Century, and then working together to answer those questions with the appropriate tools. The goal of this approach is to provide lab members with a strong intellectual foundation from which they have the freedom to pursue their own research interests.
Mentoring students is one of my favorite aspects of being a scientist. So while I urge my lab members to be independent thinkers, I also love working hands-on with students to develop experimental, statistical, writing, and other skills that will help them answer the questions that excite them.