Evolutionary Biology Graduate Student Workshop

Workshop Dates:  July 29 - August 5, 2023

Enrollment Limit:  16

Cost:  $300

Deadline for Registration:  July 21

Deadline for Cancelation with Refund:  July 21

Location:  Mountain Lake Biological Station, Pembroke, Virginia 

Printable PDF Flier



Join Drs. Amanda Gibson (University of Virginia)Idelle Cooper (James Madison University)Jeremy Draghi (Virginia Tech), and Corlett Wood (University of Pennsylvania) for a six-day workshop on evolutionary biology for early career graduate students. During this week, you'll have the time and support to think deeply about the evolutionary questions that excite you and to engage in focused conversations with a small group of peers. As your group shapes ideas into a research proposal, you'll practice communicating with one another and articulating yourself in writing. The workshop will also include tutorials on the art of science writing and question development. 

We have found this workshop to be particularly valuable for students who are early in their PhD, prior to writing their dissertation proposal. We assume some prior experience working in the field of evolutionary biology. Come prepared to work with your group on a wide range of evolutionary questions and approaches that may fall outside your area of expertise!

The objectives of this workshop are to:

  • identify important questions in evolutionary biology
  • formulate testable hypotheses and design targeted experiments
  • express yourself clearly through writing and speaking
  • have focused conversations with your peers about shared scientific interests

We've modeled this workshop off of the Evolutionary Biology Workshop in Guarda, Switzerland that was initiated by Stephen C. Stearns in 1988.

Preparation:  Participants will be asked to read portions of Sherratt and Wilkinson's 2009 book Big Questions in Ecology and Evolution.

Schedule:  Attendees should arrive Saturday afternoon, July 29. Earliest room check-in is 4:00pm. The first meal is dinner on Saturday. The program will begin Saturday evening at 7:00pm, and end Friday evening, August 4. Checkout is Saturday, August 5, by noon. The last meal is lunch on Saturday. 

Location and Travel:  MLBS is a remote full-service residential field station in the Appalachian Mountains of southwest Virginia. Road access is good. The nearest airport is Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport (ROA), a 1.25hr drive from the Station. Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) is a 3hr drive. There will be least one group transport from ROA. More about travelling to MLBS… The organizers will also arrange at least one group transport from ROA.

Accommodations:  Full housing and dining are provided with the registration fee. Housing and facilities are rustic. Shared housing (double occupancy rooms) will be assigned unless special arrangements are made and space is available. Extra fees may apply. Linens, pillows, and towels are not provided. Wifi is available throughout the Station. There is no cell service. More about MLBS accommodations…

Cost:  $300 covers all on-site workshop costs, room, and board.

Financial Assistance:

  • FREE registration is available for a limited number of participants who are student members of the American Society of Naturalists (ASN). An application for this ASN-sponsored award will be distributed after registration. Awards will be made on a rolling basis. If an award is made to you your registration fee will be refunded. You can join ASN now to be eligible for this award. The cost of ASN student membership is only $25. 
  • Support toward the registration fee is also available from MLBS directly. To be considered for MLBS support please email a brief statement of need to mlbs@virginia.edu

Registration:  $50 deposit is required at registration. Balance is due by July 21. Deadline for cancelation with refund is also July 21. Online credit card payment is required to register. Participation is limited to 16. There will be a waitlist.

For More information: 
About workshop structure and content: Contact Amanda Gibson, akg5nq@virginia.edu
About registration, travel logistics and the field station: Contact MLBS, mlbs@virginia.edu, 540-626-7196, or visit mlbs.org
Printable PDF Flier