Mentors at the Cornell Lab

Dozens of Cornell Lab faculty, staff, postdocs, and graduate students are active and excited about engaging with students. The list below includes people at all of these career stages who welcome Cornell student queries in their areas of expertise. These people may be available as mentors themselves, or be helpful in directing students to additional professional contacts within and beyond Cornell.

Students: be very strategic in using this list to make connections. Please do not send blanket emails to large numbers of recipients from this list; instead, choose one or a very few people to query carefully. Include relevant information about yourself in your initial email, and be open and specific about what kinds of opportunities you are seeking. Attach a resume or CV if you have one. Do a bit of homework online so that your query comes across as targeted and well informed. Ask the recipient for advice in making additional connections, especially if he or she cannot aid you directly. Treat this as an avenue for targeted professional networking.

Mentors for Undergraduates at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Stepfanie Aguillon: evolutionary biology, genomics, molecular biology, CUMV (graduate student)
Tom Auer: GIS, cartography, species distribution modeling
Robyn Bailey: nesting biology, citizen science, nest boxes, science communication, undergraduate data entry jobs
Elizabeth Bergen: research on decision-making and social communication in satin bowerbirds (graduate student)
David Bonter: avian ecology and citizen science; undergraduate thesis advising and field courses
Carrie Branch: communication, cognition, and mate choice; behavioral ecology and animal behavior
Lilly Briggs: environmental education, citizen science, Latin America
David Chang van Oordt: avian malaria, disease ecology in migratory birds, tropical ecology and ornithology (graduate student)
Dana Clink: primate ecology and conservation
Gemma Clucas: seabird ecology, dietary metabarcoding, conservation genomics, tracking, Antarctica
Charles Dardia: student work (science, curation, outreach, art, etc.) with Cornell’s 2M vertebrate specimens
Marta del Campo: citizen science, outreach, training and development of educational materials for Latin America
Casey Dillman: evolutionary biology of fishes (and herps), Museum Work, natural history collections
Adriaan Dokter: animal migration, radar ornithology, animal tracking, foraging ecology
Iain Downie: mobile app development, data-gathering, eBird, atlases, citizen science
Jay Falk: evolution, plumage coloration, female strategies, hummingbirds, animal communication, sexual dimorphism (graduate student)
Andrew Farnsworth: BirdCast, BirdVox, migration ecology, vagrancy, radar, flight calls, artificial light, climate change
Daniel Fink: statistical ecology, eBird data science, species distribution modeling
Michelle Fournet: marine ecology, underwater acoustics, marine mammal and fish communication and behavior, science communication
Emma Greig: Project FeederWatch, citizen science, desert ecology, behavioral ecology, bird song
Wesley Hochachka: citizen science, eBird, data analysis, study design, disease ecology
Natalie Hofmeister: avian evolution, genomics, feminist science, institutional organizing (graduate student)
Daniel Hooper: research on evolutionary biology, speciation, hybrid zones, genomics, Australia
Carl D. Hopkins: electric fish described and diagnosed using morphometrics, meristics, CTscans, and e-signals
Jennifer Houtz: avian gut microbiomes, stress physiology, behavioral and physiological ecology (graduate student)
Alli Injaian: anthropogenic impacts on birds, animal behavior, ecophysiology
Alison Johnston: statistical ecology, citizen science, eBird
Sara Kaiser: Hubbard Brook Field Ornithology Program; behavioral and physiological ecology, conservation genomics, tropical ecology; field research on mating systems, sexual selection, population differentiation, and climate change
Holger Klinck: bioacoustics, passive acoustic monitoring, acoustic conservation technology
Russell Ligon: behavioral evolution, animal communication and coloration
Irby Lovette: avian evolutionary biology; general contact for Cornell Lab student opportunities
Rachael Mady: Masters student studying bird feeding, Bird Cams research assistant (graduate student)
Jay McGowan: Macaulay Library, sound recording, media collection
Sabrina McNew: host parasite interactions, tropical biology, evolutionary ecology, R, grad school advice
Eliot Miller: Macaulay Library, evolutionary ecology, phylogeny, species interactions
Tram Nguyen: conservation and population genomics, Florida Scrub-Jay conservation genomics, evolutionary biology (graduate student)
Karan Odom: research on bird song, female song, evolutionary ecology, animal communication
Tina Phillips: citizen science, social science research, informal science education, evaluation of outcomes/impacts
Karen Purcell: Celebrate Urban Birds, citizen science, equity, diversity, inclusion, community science, Latin America, research on noise pollution
Aaron Rice: marine and freshwater bioacoustics research, fish and whale ecology, marine conservation
Orin Robinson: quantitative ecology, eBird, population ecology, conservation biology, wildlife management
Amanda Rodewald: ecology, conservation biology, ecological restoration, socio-ecological systems, science policy
Vanya Rohwer: research on bird nests and feathers, bird specimen preparation, working with the bird collection
Liz Rowland: forest elephant conservation: analysis of sound recordings; publicity & social media
Viviana Ruiz-Gutierrez: applied population ecology, conservation science, quantitative ecology, topical ecology and conservation
Thomas Ryan: endocrine traits in the wild, parental behavior, stress physiology, fieldwork (graduate student)
Tom Schulenberg: Neotropical birds, avian systematics
Laurel Symes: Bioacoustics, sexual selection and speciation, birds, insects, frogs, bats
Conor Taff: research on avian behavior, physiology, and communication
Christopher Tarango: avian ethology, on-animal sensors, remote sensing (graduate student)
Mya Thompson: public engagement, educational media and games, inquiry-based education, animal communication
Jennifer Uehling: movement ecology, stress physiology, animal behavior, public outreach and education (graduate student)
Grant Van Horn: machine learning, computer vision, data science, software engineering
Maren Vitousek: research on stress, social interactions, endocrinology, behavioral ecology, integrative biology
Jen Walsh: genomics of adaptation and hybridization in birds; conservation genetics
Mike Webster: behavior, evolution, birdsong, plumage, sexual selection, signals, courtship, communication
Joe Welklin: Sexual selection and social behavior in birds; fairywren ecology and biology; citizen science, science outreach (graduate student)
David Winiarski: engineering of software/hardware acoustic solutions for conservation and education
Christopher Wood: student positions in eBird / Information Science, young birders event, ecotourism, global partnerships
Peter Wrege: acoustic monitoring and forest elephant conservation
Kelly Zamudio: evolution of reptiles and amphibians, population genetics, adaptation, systematics


Gus Axelson: science writing, science journalism
Miyoko Chu: strategic communications, science writing, editing, media relations, digital communications, online communities
Chris Corrigan: Conservation Media; media production, long and short-term project management
Jillian Ditner: science communication: illustration and graphic design
Charles Eldermire: camera technology, livestreaming; public outreach, online communication; bird behavior
Laura Helft: science communication, science education, science outreach, strategic communications, science filmmaking
Andy Johnson: Conservation Media; filming and producing science-based communications media about birds and habitat conservation
Brooke Keeney: Birds of the World monographs, scientific editing, vertebrate natural history, digital publishing, molt
Lisa Kopp: informal education, visitor programs, student tour guides and bird walk leaders
Randy Little: sound recording, Cornell engineering, history of the Lab
Hugh Powell: science communication, web publication, social media
Daniel Sheire: Multimedia Producer, content creator for video and social media
Tom Swartwout: filmmaking, editing
Diane Tessaglia-Hymes: graphic design, art direction, Bartels Science Illustration Program, auditorium art exhibits

Graduate Student Advisors at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

In order to be the primary advisor of a Cornell MS or PhD student, that faculty member must be a member of the associated Graduate Field. Lab faculty and their associated graduate fields include:

David Bonter: Natural Resources
André Dhondt: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Natural Resources
John Fitzpatrick: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Holger Klinck: Natural Resources; Zoology
Irby Lovette: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Amanda Rodewald: Natural Resources
Maren Vitousek: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Mike Webster: Neurobiology and Behavior

Other Cornell University Faculty

Many Cornell University faculty are involved in advising or serving on the graduate committees of ornithology students. One place to look for these broad resources is to browse the web sites of relevant departments, including these:

Key Resources