Dr. Jonathan Stetler

After completing an introductory research project, I mentioned to my professor how much I enjoyed the project, but I was curious if you could do these types of projects with freshwater ecosystems, to which they responded, “Just go find a lab to work in over the summer”. I attended a small college where research opportunities were limited. I had no idea what this meant! Determined as ever, I set out on a mission to “find a lab” that studied water. After countless Google searches of “water college lab”, “college job research water”, I felt lost and defeated. But my determination to succeed and make my family proud motivated me to continue. Through Google searches I kept coming across three letters: “REU”. Eventually I decided I should learn what REU stands for: Research Experiences for Undergraduates. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to “find a lab to work in over the summer”. I applied to a few programs and was fortunate to receive an REU at Miami University of Ohio. Once in Miami, I was immersed in scientific research and learned about a thing called “graduate school”.  That incredible opportunity inspired me to pursue graduate school after graduation. My ultimate dream from then on has been to teach college students and perform research; allowing me to give back and help other students. In my Junior year after returning from my REU, I dove headfirst into scientific research.  I pursued further research opportunities at places like the University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center. These joint experiences along with a group of incredibly supportive and kind mentors set me up for success in graduate school. Now, I’m living my dream here at RPI, my PhD alma matter. I hope for nothing more than for all of you to find your passion and pursue your dreams. My dreams would not have possible without the dedication and support of many great mentors along the way. If your dreams involve participating in undergraduate research, or navigating the complicated road map of college life, feel free to send me an email. I’d be happy to help!

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