Peggy Fong ~ Community Ecologist

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Working with graduate students

Symbiotic Synergy

Dr. Peggy Fong has what she calls a "symbiotic, synergistic" relationship with her grad students. Peggy passionately believes in her lab running as a team effort. This "culture of collaboration" translates into her students developing cutting edge research of their own. Consequently, these meaningful partnerships with her students result in many joint publications with her graduate students as first authors. In the Marine Biology Quarter, it is the joint effort of Peggy and her grad students, working as Teaching Assistants (TAs), that give the undergraduate students the support and expertise they need to conduct original research, some of which also has been published.

Almost every one of Peggy's grad students has been involved in COSEE West activities and programs - sometimes contributing as COSEE staff, sometimes as teachers. "Grad students have been heavily involved at every level," says Peggy. "I don't think I could get anything done without my graduate students!" Those who have worked as TAs have also gone on to participate in the COSEE West online courses. One graduate student has gone on to further Peggy's work by becoming the Co-Director for COSEE-West at UCLA.

Grad students are an active part of Peggy's life and her research. "Graduate school is a long road, and you have to love what you're doing," says Peggy. "I try to give my students as much intellectual freedom as possible, which makes for happier, more motivated students."

Tonya Kane
Tonya Kane, UCLA Graduate Student, and COSEE West Program Assistant
Tonya believes that Peggy has been a supportive advisor, but also allows for individual independence
Dan Blumstein
Dan Blumstein, Ph.D., Chair, Dept of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, UCLA
Dan works with students in the MBQ program Field Courses to help them communicate their science more effectively
Ranjan Muthukrishnan
Ranjan Muthukrishnan, Graduate Student, UCLA
Ranjan explains how Peggy puts emphasis on working with graduate students in many aspects of their research and education