August 29th EGSO meeting minutes

Stay up-to-date about what the ecology graduate student organization is working on by following the meeting minutes from August 29th, 2018. Special thanks to Ted Primka for writing this up!

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New ecology FAQ document!


This summer, the EGSO officers worked to put together a “Student’s Guide to the PSU Ecology Program.”  The purpose of this document is NOT to provide any official information- you should still consult the official Ecology Handbook you were given during orientation for that.  However, it is our hope that it will answer common questions ranging from course requirements to health insurance, studying for qualifying/comprehensive exams to social activities around town.

Major thanks to Shannon White, Curt McConnell, Staci Amburgey, Sarah Rothman, Sarah Isbell, Carlie Dinsmore, Rachel Rozum, Maddie Meyers, Ellen Brandell, and Ted Primka for all their help getting this together!

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Ecology ‘Retreat’ on August 29th!

In an effort to bring everybody outside, and to welcome our incoming graduate students, the EGSO is planning a small “retreat” to a State College Spikes game, August 29th at 7pm! This will be in lieu of our monthly Ecology Happy Hour, which will resume next month.
Tickets are free with your PSU ID and can be picked up at the HUB on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. To locate the Spike’s stand, simply enter the HUB at the main entrance on Pollock Road, head straight and proceed down the flight of stairs straight ahead. Once on the ground level, there will be a small stand with a red tablecloth to your right, in front of the aquarium. Additionally, each student can officially pick up TWO free tickets, and if you explain that you are trying to pick up additional tickets for fellow students, they are likely to comply.
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Notes from the Field

The spring 2018 Notes from the Field are available here! Thank you to Warren for putting this together!

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Escape Room Social

Scheduled for Saturday, May 5th at 3pm, ecology graduate students will be having an end of the school year, team-building activity, hosted at IQ Escape Room! Escape Room activities are super fun, great for fostering cooperation among students, and will be an awesome opportunity to blow off steam after the semester has drawn to a close. Tickets are being offered to us at a special discount of $20 a person.
If interested, please send Madalyn Slook an email at, with your name and the vote for which room you want to try and escape from: either Stealing Mona, or Contagion. There is a maximum of 20 students able to participate.
Here is a link to their website if you would like to learn more:
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Ecology Retreat

The ecology retreat will be April 25th and 26th! Curt and his family have graciously offered to allow us to stay at their cabin in the mountains, only a couple of hours from campus. If you plan to go, please fill out the poll here ( by Thursday, April 19th.

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Reminder: Ecology Mini-Symposium next week!

The ecology mini-symposium is Tuesday, April 24th, from 3 -5:50 pm.  The mini-symposium is a great opportunity for graduating students to present their research, and for students, faculty, and post-docs to be familiar with ongoing research activities and people in the program.

In relation to this, the ecology newsletter is being put together. Please send all publications, awards, grants, or other achievements that have been received since Dec 1, 2017 to Brady Boyer ( We are also looking for any volunteers to write a short description of their research with photos to be included in the newsletter. Submissions need to be in by late April. 

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Student Spotlight: Mitch Hunter

Congratulations to Mitch Hunter for being selected to receive the Alumni Association Dissertation Award! This award is given to exemplary Ph.D. students who have passed their comprehensive exams, have approval for their dissertation topic, and are within their final year of enrollment. The Alumni Association Dissertation Award is considered one of the most prestigious awards available for PSU graduate students.

Mitch Hunter is an NSF fellow and agronomy Ph.D. candidate minoring in ecology. More information about his research can be found at his website.

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Multifunctional Ecology Seminar Today!

Reminder to attend the ecology seminar today! Dr. Brent Helliker from the Biology department at the University of Pennsylvania will be presenting The legacy of C4 evolution in the hydraulics of C3 and C4 grasses.

Because this seminar is co-hosted with the PSU department of Plant Science, this seminar will be in ASI 101.

Dr. Helliker’s research focuses on the effects of climate change through the lens of stable isotope signatures. More information about Dr. Brent Helliker and his research can be found at:

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Reminder: Multifunctional Ecology seminar begins today!

The first installment of the spring 2018 ecology seminar series starts today! The theme is Multifunctional Ecology: Perspectives across scales and systems. The seminar begins at 4 pm in 106 Forest Resources Building, followed by refreshments and conversation in the FRB atrium. Visit the events page to now have the seminar schedule synced to your Google Calendar and iCal.

Dr. Eric Lonsdorf from the University of Minnesota will be presenting: How do I affect the supply of natural resources? Integrating ecosystem services into decisions made by multiple sectors of society. Dr. Lonsdorf researches the intersection of land management and wildlife, currently focusing on pollinator health, avian migration, and genetic diversity. More information about his research can be found at

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