Prospective students

Prospective graduate students: First, a few words of advice.  Graduate school is a big commitment.  It is to your advantage to delay going until you have a very clear idea of how a Master’s or PhD will advance your long-term career goals.  I recommend spending a few years after your undergraduate degree is conferred doing stuff that helps you figure things out.  Maybe that means working as a technician in a lab, or doing a series short-term field work gigs, or taking a job that is totally unrelated to research.  If you continue to read the literature broadly and critically reflect on your experiences, you’ll emerge with a clear idea of your goals, and folks who arrive in grad school knowing what they want to get out of it tend to be the most successful graduate students.  Grad school is not going anywhere – it will still be around after you’ve taken some time to figure things out.  I highly recommend Robert Peters’ Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student’s Guide to Earning an MA or a PhD for folks considering grad school and for those who are already there.

If you’ve reflected on your experiences and have a clear idea of what you’d like to achieve as a graduate student, I’d love to hear from you.  Check out our Research page to read about current projects that are underway in the lab and see the Wood Lab Philosophy to get a sense of how our lab culture operates.  Although I expect my students to work on projects related to parasite ecology in marine and freshwater environments, there is plenty of room under that umbrella for new projects, so I welcome students who come with their own research ideas.  Please shoot me an e-mail ( telling me about your research interests and experiences and include a resume or CV.

I am deeply committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in our field, so I especially encourage you to get in touch if you are a first-generation college student or a student from a low-income background, if you are a member of a racial or ethnic minority, if you identify as a woman or as LGBTQ, or if you have a disability.  UW is a great place for folks who are historically underrepresented in the sciences, with tons of opportunity to connect with others and with support resources across campus.

All prospective graduate students should plan on applying for graduate fellowships – these help pay for your tuition and salary (releasing you from teaching/research duties, which lets you focus on *your* research), make you a much more attractive candidate for graduate school, and they are some of the most impressive things you can put on your CV. One more benefit: nothing helps you sharpen and hone your research ideas like having to write them down. These are a few of the big grad fellowships you should consider (your eligibility may vary depending on your interests and background):

  1. NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program
  2. Nancy Foster Scholarship
  3. Ford Foundation
  4. Margaret A. Davidson Graduate Fellowship

Prospective post-docs: If you have an idea for a post-doc project on parasite ecology, please feel free to get in touch – I would be happy to collaboratively develop a proposal for post-doc funding. In particular, consider taking advantage of a current “selected area” in the NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology: research using biological collections. A brand new, three-year post-doc opportunity through the Washington Research Foundation provides support for folks who want to do research that addresses an unmet public need. If you are interested in working on a parasite of humans, like Schistosoma, consider NIH’s Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA).

Undergraduate students: We welcome undergraduate involvement in our lab’s research, particularly from students who have taken or are planning to take Chelsea’s Parasite Ecology course. Under normal (non-COVID-19) circumstances, our lab takes volunteers via the application form linked here, and volunteers often transition into capstone projects when they reach their senior year. We can’t currently take volunteers because access to UW labs is restricted, but you need not have previously volunteered in the lab to do a capstone project with us. To discuss capstone options, please feel free to contact Chelsea at