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The Burgess Lab

Come Join The Burgess Lab!!

I am searching for M.S. students to start Summer or Fall 2024. Interested in working with me?  Check out these opportunities and apply!  

Mapping Hormone Cycles of Altricial Avian Nestlings Under Natural Photoperiod and Artificial Light at Night

In an increasingly urbanized environment, it’s important to understand the impacts of anthropogenic stressors on birds. This project uses hormone analysis to determine the impacts of artificial light at night on nestling physical development and metabolic health. We investigate the role of artificial photoperiod in developmental timing and phenotypic expression.  

Exploring Urban Bird Communities Through Landscape Ecology and Participatory Science

It’s well known that urbanization impacts avian biodiversity and community structure. However, do pockets of built, more densely populated spaces surrounding a rural landscape have similar impacts? This project explores how fine-scale urbanization influences bird communities in a southern, college town. Additionally, this project is interested in gathering data about who participates in citizen science in this area, and if participation builds connection to nature in urbanized spaces. 

Lab Focus

  • What is the overall vision for The Burgess Lab?
    The vision for my lab is to advance knowledge in ornithology and urban ecology - both on an academic level through novel research and on an educational level through public understanding and involvement. I also envision creating a more equitable and inclusive space in the natural sciences by practicing inclusive teaching principles, providing opportunities for minority advancement in the field, and welcoming lab members with non-traditional backgrounds.
  • What is your style of advising?
    I consider myself to have a “developmental” advising style, where my goal is to treat advisees as collaborators in research and prepare them as future leaders in the field. I aim to serve as a facilitator of learning and discovery, rather than just directing the student in what to do. I will help my advisees develop and refine a vision of their future career and assist them in meeting those goals. Additionally, I will try my best to balance this approach with clear communication and enough guidance so as not to leave the advisee lost or confused.
  • How will you advocate for your advisees at MS State?
    As a recent graduate student, I empathize with struggles of navigating an advanced degree while maintaining a healthy work-life balance and financing on a graduate student salary. I will advocate for my advisees by ensuring they are receiving fair opportunities in education, research, and networking (and will work to create these opportunities for them where disparities may exist). I also recognize the importance of mental health and self-care and will help my advisees create and manage a personalized graduate plan that allows them to complete their degree requirements in a timely manner while minimizing the stress of the program. Financially, I will not be accepting graduate students to the program unless I am able to fully fund their position. I will also seek out additional grants and resources that can help cover annual student fees and the cost of conference travel.
  • Are there opportunities for undergraduates in The Burgess Lab?
    Yes! There are many opportunities to volunteer with me and my lab members in data management, public science, and hands-on field and laboratory experience. I will also have paid undergraduate research projects beginning the next program cycle.
  • What qualifications do I need to join The Burgess Lab?
    Graduates: A Bachelor's degree in Wildlife Biology, Ecology, Zoology, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, or a related field Experience or high interest in ornithology, urban ecology, endocrinology, and/or public science Ability to work in GIS, Program R, or other data science programming language Undergraduates: High interest in ornithology, urban ecology, endocrinology, and/or public science No previous experience or class prerequisites required Everyone: Effective communication skills Ability to work independently and with a team Passion for wildlife research and willingness to learn!
  • Can International Students apply for graduate positions?
    Yes! All current positions are open for international students to apply. Please visit Mississippi State's International Services Office for additional application and documentation requirements.
  • Besides graduate degree program requirements, are there any other requirements or responsibilities?
    While completing your research program is your highest priority, I expect (and will help facilitate) participation in academic conferences and career networking events. I also strongly encourage all graduates to participate in science communication or public science opportunities when possible.
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