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Shadowing & Mentoring Opportunities 

To sign up for shadowing and mentoring options please complete this survey form

See below for our 2023 offerings

In-Person Options



Plant Sciences Careers  
Mentor: Alan Franck (Botanist) 
Number of students:  2 
Description:  Explore the world of botany and career paths from working in the wilderness, international research, undergraduate and graduate experiences, discovering new species, museum collections and more!" Sharing my experiences and encouraging others interested in botany to engage in opportunities 
Location:  On UF main campus | Florida Museum, Dickinson Building 

Wildlife and Ecosystems Career Chat  

Mentor:  Alberto Lopez (Youth Outreach Coordinator) 
Number of students:  2  
Description:  Learn about museum education and outreach! Meet the Florida Museum Youth Outreach Coordinator to hear about the work that the Florida Museum does to reach underserved communities in Alachua County. See what are possible career paths you can take to join the front lines of science communication in informal science education settings. 

Location:  On UF main campus | Florida Museum, Powell Hall 

Wildlife and Ecosystem Ecology – Lab Tour and Chat 

Mentor:  Amanda Subalusky (Assistant Professor) 
Number of students:  2  
Description:  How do animals influence the land- and waterscapes in which they live? We will talk about how we study this using animal tracking, wildlife surveys, nutrient measurements, biodiversity surveys, microbial analysis, and other approaches. We’ll tour an artificial stream facility, spend some time in our lab, and visit with graduate students and postdocs who study these topics. We’ll also discuss potential career paths in this field.  

Location:  On UF main campus (Biology/Carr 518)  

Biological Engineering Lab Tours 
Mentor:  Ana Martin (Assistant Professor) 
Number of students:  10 
Description:  Interested in using engineering and design to solve challenges related to food systems, natural resources and/or sustainable development? Then join this tour of the Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) Department. You will see and hear from students and faculty about on-going research in the ABE department and how biological engineers integrate engineering principles and biological science to develop tools, products, and processes that support sustainable living systems. 

Location:  On UF main campus. 

Marine Fisheries Chat or Field Excursion  
Mentor:  Angela Collins (Florida Sea Grant Agent) 
Number of students:  2 
Description:  If in person, this activity will take place in Manatee County, and will begin at the UF/IFAS Extension office at 1303 17th St W, Palmetto, FL  - students could then drive with the agent for site visits or follow in their own vehicles. 
Location:  Off UF main campus  

Marine Biology - Estuary Ecology 
Mentor:  Armando Ubeda (Florida Sea Grant Extension Agent, PhD student in WEC) 
Number of students: 
Description:  I could expose students to some restoration projects in Sarasota Bay, restoration projects that are addressing issues of water quality and habitat loss. I am based in Sarasota County.  
Location:  UF/IFAS - Sarasota County 


Ecology/Biology Career Chat 
Mentor:  Benjamin Baiser (Associate Professor)  

Number of students:  1 
Description:  Come talk to Dr. Baiser about Ecology, graduate school, and careers in biological research.  
Location:  UF/IFAS - Sarasota County 


Research Farm Career Chat  
Mentor:  Christian Christensen (UF|IFAS Center Director) 
Number of students: 
Description:  Mentoring/shadowing experience includes, but is not limited to, the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the inner workings of Research and Extension Center within UF|IFAS. Gain a strong understanding how the various career opportunities available within one of UF|IFAS's Research and Extension Research Farming Centers 
Location: Off UF main campus 

Plant Anatomy and Ecology Chat 
Mentor:  Claudia Garnica Diaz (PhD student)  
Number of students:  2 
Description:  From my personal background, I would be sharing my experience and pathway as an International student from Colombia, especially about the application and adaptation process. From my research side, I have been trying to diversify my skills to be applied to tropical plant ecology, from plant anatomy to water movement. If mentoring experience is in person, I will give the student a tour through the laboratory where I do my research (Dr. Grace John Lab, B310) 

Location: Off UF main campus 


Careers in Museums and/or Studying Amphibians and Reptiles 
Mentor:  David Blackburn (Curator/ Professor) 
Number of students: 
Description:  Discuss opportunities in college or graduate school, especially related to studying biodiversity, natural history museums, amphibians and reptiles, fossils, genetics, and more.   

Location: On UF main campus 


Wildlife Ecology Chat 
Mentor:  David Mason (PhD Candidate) 
Number of students: 
Description: You can chat with me about graduate school, careers in natural resources, wildlife ecology, stats/coding, or doing research and conducting experiments. I had no previous knowledge or connections to wildlife ecology or academia before I started. I can still remember how opaque everything seemed then. If I can pass on what I've learned to someone else, I am happy to help. 

Location:  Off UF main campus 

Soil Ecology 
Mentor:  Dorota Porazinska (Assistant Prof) 
Number of students:  Open
Description: We will provide an overview of our activities by doing short research presentations by students and postdoc, give a laboratory tour, and discuss how we got here.   
Location:  On UF main campus 


Evolutionary Developmental Biology of Sharks & their Teeth career chat  
Mentor:  GARETH FRASER (Assistant Professor) 
Number of students:  2  
Description:  Experience the life of shark EvoDevo lab where we study how sharks (and other dishes) make and replace their teeth, and the strange tooth-like structures in their skin. We have a diverse group of scientists that will offer you insights into how they chose their own career path. From in lab undergraduate trainees, to graduate students and postdocs, the Fraser Lab would be excited to welcome you to learn more about the study of fishes and sharks, stem cells, regeneration and developmental biology. You may even get to see a baby sharks! 
Location: Carr Hall/Biology 

Water quality, ecosystem services, biological sciences in general chat 
Mentor: Ivelisse Ruiz Bernard (Biological Scientist II)  
Number of students: 
Description: We will chat about what we do in our Biogeochemisry lab and in the field. Also, discussion about the importance of having a mentor and access to education. I relate to the background of this group of young people as I was in a comparable situation when growing up. I belong to the first generation of my family going to college. I have a vast experience working in different fields of biology like ecology, conservation, population biology, forest ecology, water quality, water quality monitoring programs, and in different ecosystems (in my native Puerto Rico, Panama, and Florida). 
Location: Off UF main campus  


Forestry or Forest Ecology Chat 
Mentor:  Jason Vogel (Assoc. Prof) 
Number of students:  2  
Description:  I can talk about the science of understanding how trees respond to climate and management. We can either do that in person or we can visit a nearby forest where I have a bunch of different ongoing studies.  
Location:  Off  UF main campus 


Aquatic biology sampling, mosquito sampling, plant phenology observations 
Mentor:  Jason Brown (Field Ecologist) 
Number of students:  12 

Option 1: Aquatic biology sampling -  Cruise around a spring-fed lake in a jon boat collecting plant and invertebrate samples Mosquito sampling - Hop in the truck and go for a sunset/sunrise drive through diverse terrestrial habitats setting and collecting mosquito traps 

Option 2: Plant phenology observations - Walk the transect through a fire-maintained sandhill community with an ecologist and make observations about the seasonality of different plant species" 
Location: Off UF main campus | (Ordway-Swisher Biological Station 

Meet your ideal mentor| Physiology/College of medicine 
Mentor:  Jaya Kolli (Lecturer- Physiology/College of medicine) 
Number of students:  Open
Description:  I am a physician/educator trained in India and practiced medicine and taught health care subjects in many health care institutions around the world. I am not practicing medicine for the past 7 years and am a full-time medical educator. I had the honor of mentoring and guiding many hundreds of students during my long career. I can speak and write at least 4 languages ( English, Persian, Hindi and Telugu)  with excellent communication skills. I had the enriching experience of being associated with students from varied ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic backgrounds in many countries that I have worked. I am particularly passionate about mentoring students who are struggling due to any challenge.  
Location:  On UF main campus | Physiology/College of medicine 


Career chat about food science and nutrition: focused on chronic diseases 
Mentor:  Jeanette Andrade (Assistant Professor)  
Number of students:  2 
Description: Interested in nutrition and food? Come chat with Dr. Jeanette Andrade as she discusses careers in nutrition, food science and dietetics, plus research opportunities for you to explore. Prospective students will have the opportunity to try food grade muffins and cookies that we prepare specifically for those who have a chronic disease. They will learn about how we combine food science and nutrition to combat complications with these diseases. 

Location: UF main campus | Food Science and Human Nutrition Department/ Gainesville 

Field biologist career chat / Finding college programs (undergrad and graduate) 
Mentor:  Lameace Hussain (PhD student) 
Number of students: 
Description: I spent 10 years doing various research positions and field work before coming back to school to get my PhD. Finding the right job and finding the right academic program can be tricky particularly if you're already within a historically excluded or marginalized group, and often detrimental if the fit isn't right. Knowing what to look for in a program/job and what questions you should ask is super important. Often times we think that a job or career path or even academic program is a perfect fit, but if the community and environment aren't right it can become isolating. Knowing what certain agencies are looking for in candidates and the application process itself can be overwhelming as well. I'm more than happy to give the ins and outs of all of these, what to look for (red flags and green flags), and how to understand what is going to be good for you in the long run career-wise. 

Location: Off UF main campus 

Urban forestry career chat 
Mentor:  Larsen McBride (Graduate Assistant) 
Number of students: 
Description: Trees have been with us at every milestone across history. They are mythical places that our greatest visionaries sit under when they receive inspiration. They are symbols of longevity, strength, and generosity. Caring for them is an industry that never fades. Looking for a fulfilling and meaningful career that is flexible and full of opportunities? Talk with me about urban forestry. I worked in landscaping for 8 years and became an urban forestry consultant after graduating from college. If you're like me, you like working with your hands and growing plants, but don't want to do that forever. You might like an urban forestry job. As a consultant, I learned how to inspect trees for their safety and pick places to grow new trees where people live, work, and play. Trees are all around us, even in our cities, and they need people to manage them. There are tons of opportunities to work with trees for cities, private companies, and universities. 

Location: On UF main campus | Dept of Environmental Horticulture 

Paths, Plants, and Possibilities 
Mentor:  Makenzie Mabry (PostDoc) 
Number of students:  1+ 
Description: Whether you are thinking about graduate school, opportunities in college, or just like plants, come talk with Dr. Makenzie Mabry! Currently, Dr. Mabry is researching ways to use digital natural history collections to inform future food security. Makenzie enjoys both field work and computational analyses and is happy to talk about grad school and undergraduate opportunities more broadly. 

Location: On UF main campus 

Doing science with what you have in hand  
Mentor:  Manasee Weerathunga (PhD student)  
Number of students:  Open
Description:  Join Manasee, an international PhD student at UF to share her experiences about doing science experiments in a developing country where resources and technology is limited. She can tell you about how to look for scientific questions to study in your surrounding and make fascinating discoveries with resources at hand and how computational biology becomes a valuable tool in the belt for that Manasee, being an avid fan of detective fiction, can show you how to play detective by being a scientist in your own surrounding 
Location: On UF main campus 

Ecology in a changing world 
Mentor:  Mathew Leibold (Professor) 
Number of students: 
Description: Ecology is one of the coolest directions in biology because it is fascinating and because it critically helps address environmental issues. How do you get to do it? 

Location: Off  UF main campus 


Careers in Museum Education Chat 
Mentor: Megan Ennes (Assistant Professor of Museum Education)   
Number of students: 
Description: You can chat with Dr. Ennes about types of careers and career paths related to public education in science museums. 

Location: On UF main campus | Thompson Earth Systems Institute 


Wildlife Ecology Career Chat 
Mentor:  Monica Lasky 
Number of students:  any amount 
Description: Come and talk with Monica about her experience as a graduate student in wildlife ecology, conducting wildlife field work locally and abroad, working with large African mammals, how to apply to graduate school, how to find research opportunities, and more! 

Location:  UF main campus 


Theoretical Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 
Mentor: Nich Martin (PhD Candidate)  
Number of students: 
Description: You can chat with Nich about toxic plants and the insects that feed on them, preparing for and applying to grad school, and switching from working with living organisms to using computers to better understand what drives ecological interactions and evolutionary adaptations. Nich completed his master's degree in biology with a focus on chemical ecology, and began his PhD in the same field. Partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nich switched to theoretical work.  
Location: On UF main campus | Entomology 

Parasite discovery 
Mentor:  Nick Keiser (Assistant Professor) 
Number of students:  2 
Description:  We will use common techniques to identify parasite infections in animals like snails, spiders, and flies. Depending on the weather and mentee interest, this could also be a field component in a conservation area on UF's campus. On UF main campus 
Location:  Biology - Carr 622 

STEM Lab Experience in: Public Health Entomology, Urban Entomology, Entomology Education 
Mentor: Rebecca Baldwin   
Number of students:  up to 8 
Description:  Come join us for a lab experience where you can explore careers in entomology, such as public health, medical, urban, and education.  During the experience, you will visit entomology labs, handle live arthropods, detail how insects are pinned and curated, and determine who among the group is most attractive to mosquitoes. You can also take your photo with a six-foot tall metal cockroach sculpture, and meet scientists who also invent technology to better the lives of people and animals. During the adventure, you will meet  faculty from the #1 entomology program in the world, who will share about scholarship opportunities in the field of entomology  
Location:  On UF main campus 


Wildlife ecology career chat - bird focus  

Mentor:  Savannah Troy (PhD student) 
Number of students: 
Description: Organized and participated as a mentor in the University of Texas College of Natural Sciences mentorship program, working with both prospective students in high school and current undergraduate students interested in pursuing biology degrees. 

Location: Off  UF main campus | Wildlife ecology and conservation 


Plant genetics; genome editing  
Mentor:  Shengchen Shan (PostDoc) 
Number of students: 
Description:  For mentoring, I would like to share how I started my study in grad school, and would like to answer any related questions; for shadowing experience, I would like to show the students how I use plant tissue culture/genome editing to study plant genetics. 
Location:  On UF main campus 

First-generation undergrad and grad chat in microbiology related fields 
Mentor:  Taylor Ladner (PhD student) 
Number of students: 
Description: I am a Ph.D. student and work in a virology lab focusing on bacteriophage. I also have experience in other sciences such as biochemistry, microbiology, and food science. I would love to give advice and share my experiences on the subjects, college life, and health during stressful times. I am a first-generation student at both the undergraduate and graduate level from a small town in south Mississippi. I would like to share the challenges I faced throughout my college experience to help those who may face the same. I would also like to offer advice and act as a sounding board for any topic to those who ask for it. 

Location: On  UF main campus 


Agronomy, horticulture, plant pathology, precision agriculture 
Mentor:  Theodor Stansly (Postdoc) 
Number of students:  Any amount 
Description: We are working on all kinds if projects from growing brassica carinata for biojet fuel, also cotton, peanut, soybeans. Also, introducing precision agriculture and technology into various systems integrated with biological engineering department. Worked on many other studies to improve nitrogen, pesticide, crop protection applications. I have a ton of experience in the field, greenhouse, and laboratory. Show then what it takes, where to find help, and how to stay involved in across-discipline collaboration efforts. More importantly, mentally stability and networking while they establish themselves and acquire funding opportunities like research assistantships.  I'm doing research at REC centers at different locations, so there is a different working environment that some may or may not want to be involved. But, we need more students to tackle some of the science needed in remote locations and where their work will be greatly valued 

Location: On UF main campus| Agronomy 


Horticultural Research exploration 
Mentor: Tie Liu (Assistant Professor) 
Number of students: 
Description: Come visit UF Horticultural Sciences Department and our lab about plant sciences, horticultural research, postharvest biology, genomics, and machine learning! We would like to help students to find interests in plant science and develop career goals. 

Location: On UF main campus | Horticultural Sciences Department 


Extension Agent career chat &/or field visits (work with soil moisture sensors, meet with farmers/nursery growers, etc. in Martin County) 
Mentor:  Yvette Goodiel (Extension Agent III) 
Number of students: 
Description:  Chat with Yvette about the work of extension agents and pathways to becoming an agent. Option to visit Martin County for 1-2 days and accompany Yvette on site visits to see a demonstration of farm soil moisture sensors, meet some of the farmers/growers/landscapers she works with, and see some of the other types of programs/projects extension agents do.  

1-2 day optional in-person component. 
Location:  Off  UF main campus 

Virtual Options

Career chat Biology 
Mentor: Aditi Jayarajan 
Number of students:  2 
Description:  I am a Ph.D. student at the University of Florida. My area of focus is on mammals, specifically bats. I use the museum collections for my research and have experience in fieldwork. If you are interested in grad school/ different opportunities offered, I would love to chat! I can offer my perspective into organizing fieldwork and being out in nature as a brown person. I have experience in dealing with museum collections and can expand on my journey and how I got to this position in the museum. I also volunteer on the weekends and balance out life in between 

Location:  Online | Florida Museum  

High school dropout to PhD candidate research talk  
Mentor:  Annabella Lyndon (Senior Undergraduate Student) 
Number of students: 
Description:  I will give students a tour of the facilities at the Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka, FL, and my lab where I conduct medicinal crop research.  As a first-generation student with a GED and disability from a chronic illness, I want to share my story of how I excelled through university to become a PhD candidate starting in the Fall of 2023. Some students may feel disadvantaged by their nontraditional or disadvantaged background; however, I want to show that these titles can be overcome with confidence and dedication as I've learnt from my own experience.  
Location:  Online | CALS Environmental Horticulture, online/Mid-Florida Research and Education Center (MREC) 


Solid waste / Sustainability field 
Mentor: Ashpreet Kaur (PhD student) 
Number of students:  2 
Description:  I am willing to mentor students who want to apply for college for higher studies. I can mentor them on what things other than studying the should have on their resume to make their resume stronger.  
Location: Online 

Animal behavior or evolutionary biology career chat 
Mentor:  Juliette Rubin (PhD student) 
Number of students: 
Description:  Chat with Juliette about choosing a career path in the sciences, the fun and frustrations of working with both live animals and preserved specimens, and applying to grad school. 
Location:  Online | Florida Museum 

Biodiversity research career chat 
Mentor:  Libby Ellwood (iDigBio Director of EODI) 
Number of students:  2  
Description: Libby has followed a fulfilling yet windy path to biodiversity research. She'd love to chat with you about your career ambitions and how you might achieve them.   
Location:  Online 


Conservation social science career chat 
Mentor: Matteo Cleary  (Social Scientist) 
Number of students: 
Description: Have a virtual coffee chat with someone who studies the "people" side of conservation. Learn about how human needs fit into conservation decision-making, and how to pursue a social science career. Matt is a social scientist for Florida's Fish and Wildlife Commission, where he studies the 2SLGBTQI+ community's experience with hunting, and human interactions with freshwater fisheries.   
Location:  Online

Career chat, social science in conservation | Wildlife Ecology and Conservation  
Mentor:  Nia Morales (Asst Prof) 
Number of students: 
Description:  Chat with an assistant professor of human dimensions (social science) of wildlife ecology. Learn about career paths and the range of career opportunities dealing with humans and the environment.  

Location:  Online

Lets talk about Marine biology and aquatic sciences 
Mentor:  Victor Blanco (Marine Extension Agent) 
Number of students:   
Description:  Join me for an informal conversation if you would like to explore Marine Biology or any other aquatic science career for your future. I'll share my story with you and provide you with tips and resources that will help you make up your mind about this professional field. I have participated in this program in past years and all mentees have develop self-confidence and a successful path for their careers. I can speak English, Spanish or communicate in Portuguese if that makes you feel more comfortable during the conversation. Look forward to meeting you and help you shape your future!! The mentoring experience will take place online, and we can schedule extra meetings if required. I'll follow up by email to check on you once a while, so this is not just a one time mentoring experience. I'm your support team so take advantage of this opportunity. I love to see people succeed and I know you are one of them!  
Location:  Online 


Ecology Research Discussion  

Mentor: Victoria Donovan (Assistant Professor of Forest) 
Number of students:  2 
Description:  You can chat with Dr. Donovan about her research in fire and landscape ecology, what it is like being a university professor, how to apply for grad school and/or how to find a mentor to start doing ecological research. As a once first-generation university student who has ended up dedicating my career to academics, I am happy to discuss my experiences navigating academia from getting into college to graduate school and postdocs to what it is like being a new professor. 
Location:  Online 

Wildlife Ecology Chat 
Mentor:  David Mason (PhD Candidate) 
Number of students:  2 
Description: You can chat Dr Mason about ecology, wildlife, applying for graduate school, finding mentors, gaining research experience, and career opportunities in wildlife ecology.

Location: Online 


Graduate School and Engineering Education Career Chat
Mentor: Dennis Parnell Jr.

Number of students: 
Description: Learn about the graduate school experience from a Ph.D. student and discuss different research areas and career paths in engineering education. I will provide an overview of my experience as a graduate student (transitioning from undergrad to graduate school, day in the life, work life balance, etc.) and engineering education (research, career options, etc.).   
Location:  Online | Nuclear Sciences Building


in person
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