I am recruiting one PhD student for a funded project on aridland riparian ecology for Spring or Summer 2019. For more info, see here. To learn about ESF's graduate programs, please visit THE GRADUATE SCHOOL at SUNY-ESF. You can read more about my research and lab group at the links below. 

I am not currently accepting new masters level graduate students for Fall 2019.

Prospective Graduate Students

My research is collaborative and multi-disciplinary, drawing on the fields of terrestrial and landscape ecology, plant ecophysiology, hydrology, and aquatic science. I am looking for students who are intellectually curious, self-motivated, and hardworking, with a strong academic record, excellent writing ability, and strong quantitative skills. Enthusiasm for ‘getting under the hood’ of ecosystem processes is a must. For all my projects this entails extensive field and/or lab work coupled with rigorous quantitative analysis (statistical analysis and/or ecological modeling). Students will be strongly encouraged to publish their research in a timely way and to pursue grants and other funding opportunities. I accept students through three graduate programs at ESF:

Note that all applications go through the graduate portal at The Graduate School at ESF, with application instructions here.

Undergraduate Students

There are opportunities for undergraduate research in the Stella lab, including independent research projects, field surveys, experiments, data entry and analysis. Current projects are described on the Research page. Interested undergraduates should have enthusiasm for research, strong quantitative skills and good personal communication skills.

Postdoctoral Scientists

imageI am always looking for post-doctoral scientists, and will work to develop funded projects with them.  Prospective post-docs should be disciplined and self-directed and have demonstrated interest in working with a team. Prerequisites include:

  • A Ph.D. in Ecology, Hydrology, Ecological Engineering or related fields
  • Strong quantitative (statistics and/or modeling) abilities
  • Interest in aquatic and riparian systems
  • Well-developed oral and written communication skills
  • Experience writing peer-reviewed articles

When contacting me, please include a CV and copies of any relevant publications. (

Life in the Stella LabStella lab group

My main goal, and the most fun part of my job, is helping students develop interesting scientific questions, and address them creatively, with theoretical and methodological rigor. In their time at ESF, I expect students to acquire a solid grasp of statistics and other quantitative skills, and to develop as critical thinkers and skilled scientific writers. In their first year, students define a research question and write a proposal, which will be updated as research goals and methods are re-evaluated during the initial stages of field work.  Students are encouraged to seek externally-funded grants (with my collaboration), publish their research in peer-reviewed journals, and to make regular progress towards the completion of their degrees (2-3 years for M.S. and 3-5 years for Ph.D. students).  I also encourage my lab members to present their work at national and regional conferences, and to participate in the many seminar offerings at ESF, including the annual Spotlight on Student Research, and interdisciplinary seminars on Hydrology and Biogeochemistry, Ecolunch (plant ecology), Aquabreak (aquatic ecology), and Adaptive Peaks (conservation biology).

Contacting me

If after carefully reviewing my research program, you are interested in joining our lab group, please write me a letter or email ( that includes:

  • the kind of research questions you’d like to explore in graduate school and your eventual career goals
  • a description of your background, experience and skills you would bring to the program. I am interested in highly motivated, creative, and independent thinkers.
  • a CV that summarizes your academic, work, and field research background, with particular reference to any experience you have with riparian and stream ecosystems;
  • a transcript of prior courses taken, your GPA, GRE and TOEFL scores
  • sample publications or writing sample, if available

Though GPA and GRE scores are not necessarily the best indicators for success in graduate school, they are often considered strongly in funding decisions. General information on applying for graduate study at SUNY-ESF can be found here, and links to other faculty in water and wetland resources at ESF are here.

Department of Forest and Natural Resources Management
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
One Forestry Drive, Syracuse, NY 13210
Phone: 315-470-4902