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Our 2021 Annual Meeting is underway! Join us

An Unconventional Graduate Journey Webinar Series

Meet the Hosts:


Portrait image of Ajisha Alwin

Ajisha Alwin

Ajisha Alwin currently works as a researcher at the Karst Lab at the University of Florida College of Medicine studying the host interactions and pathogenesis of the norovirus. Her passion for ecology started from her childhood in India and she has been involved in several conservation projects, rallies, and volunteer cleanups. She also works with ESA as a research investigator analyzing skills learned from undergraduate field research experiences and compare them to the skills employers expect for entry-level positions in field ecology/biology.

As the Marketing/Outreach Officer of the ESA Student Section, her hope is to help you feel welcome and think of new ways to increase the participation of the existing community for our activities. As students, we each have different things to offer and as part of a student network, her goal is to bring different interests and people together. Her interests are in research, science education (particularly mentoring), and science communication and outreach.


Callie Oldfield

Callie Oldfield is a Ph.D. candidate in Plant Biology at the University of Georgia. As an NSF Graduate Research Fellow, she studies the effects of disturbance on forest recovery and carbon pools. In addition to her position as Vice-Chair with the ESA Student Section, she has served as President of her graduate student organization and Managing Editor for The Classic Journal. She is interested in research on teaching and learning, mentoring undergraduate students, and plant conservation.


Webinar #1: The Application Process



Are you an undergraduate senior or recent graduate thinking of applying for grad school? Then this webinar is for you! This webinar features two grad students talking about their experiences and answering any questions about the application and admission process to grad school. The discussion will also include the differences in the application process for international students. They will also be sharing exclusive tips on how to succeed with your application particularly in these uncertain times! Join the discussion on


  • What can students do to better prepare themselves for applying for grad school?
  • What resume-boosting activities can students do while staying at home?
  • How do students pick which schools to apply to? (Things to consider)
  • How do students pick recommenders?
  • How to write a successful personal statement?
  • How to keep your CV/ resume up to date for applications?
  • GRE or no GRE?
  • How is the application process different for international students?
  • What resources to look at before applying to grad school?


Webinar #2: Grad School Vs. Lockdown – A Chat


Are you in grad school or thinking of applying for grad school? Then this webinar is for you! This webinar features three grad students talking about their experiences and answering any questions about grad school during the lockdown. 

Meet the Special Co-Host

Josette McLean

Josette is a graduate student at Hampton University entering the final year of her Master’s Degree. She is from Trinidad and Tobago, and her master’s thesis seeks to shed light on the prey preferences of Pacific lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus) by using molecular techniques to extract and identify DNA in their gut contents. She is also the secretary of the ESA Student Section and aspires to connect students from around the world and provide them with the tools and opportunities necessary to thrive in the field of ecology and environmental science.


  • Online Classes
  • Research prep
  • Writing dissertations/paper
  • TAing
  • Things to do to relax


Webinar #3: Graduate Opportunities during Lockdown


Are you in grad school or thinking of applying for grad school? Then this webinar is for you! Join us for a discussion about graduate opportunities that you can pursue while staying at home! We will be joined by a very special Guest Speaker, Dr. Jorge Ramos who will be talking about his experience and tips for grad school.

Meet the Guest Speaker

Dr. Jorge Ramos

Dr. Jorge Ramos is the Associate Director for Environmental Education at the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve of Stanford University. Jorge oversees the education program at Jasper Ridge that can amount to more than 8,000 educational and outreach visits a year by people from very diverse ages, interests, careers, and backgrounds. He also co-teaches the Ecology and Natural History of Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve (EARTHSYS 105A) during the winter and spring quarters that immerses students in the scientific basis of ecological research in the context of a field station and multidisciplinary environmental education.

Jorge has founded and led national and international initiatives to promote the inclusion and retention of a diverse population in science, including taking on local and national-level leadership roles with Latino Outdoors, Ecological Society of America SEEDS Program, Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, International Network of Next-Generation Ecologists, (INNGE), NSF GK-12 Sustainability Schools Program, and Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) network.


What graduate opportunities can we find during a lockdown?

  • Research Assistantships vs. Teaching Assistantships
  • Postdoc Fellowships/Grants
  • Paper publishing
  • Differences for international students
  • Online certification programs/courses (Pros and cons)
  • CV/ resume highlighting tips

How to approach/respond to PIs or other professionals?