New Paltz Evolutionary Psychology Lab Member Orientation Page

As I’ve said publicly on several occasions and am stating here on the web – the New Paltz Evolutionary Psychology lab is the best lab on campus! Members of the lab really think this – and this fact helps us thrive. In recent years, our lab is averaging well over 5 publications a year – with most students in the lab acquiring multiple co-authored articles and giving multiple conference presentations during their time here.

And alumni of our lab succeed – getting into PhD programs at places like Binghamton University, Kansas State University, and the University of Florida. AND our kickball team, Team Pleistocene, has almost won the Psychology Department kickball tournament on multiple occasions!

While the two main themes of my own research focus (generally) on the evolutionary psychology of human mating and on the nature of evolutionary psychology within the landscape of higher education, I strongly encourage students who are established in the lab to follow their own interests – leading to projects on such varied issues as the evolutionary psychology of body piercing (published in Review of General Psychology), the evolutionary psychology of sport (published in PLOS ONE), the evolutionary psychology of emotions, the evolutionary psychology of clinical disorders, the evolutionary psychology of music, the evolutionary psychology of fitness, the evolutionary psychology of politics, and more. We’re a productive and diverse team with interests that span the issue of what it means to be human. See our lab publications found here for more information.

This page is designed for people who are in the lab or who are interested in joining the team.

WHO is in the lab?

The lab has me (Glenn) as director – and we usually have an advanced graduate student (currently Mandy Guitar) as the “lab supervisor” who takes care of much in the way of logisitics and organization. We often also have a communication liason (currently Rebecca Newmark) to help with getting information where it needs to go.

The full list of lab members (found here) includes current grad students, current undergraduates, alumni of the program, affiliated faculty from New Paltz, and affiliated faculty from other institutions.

When does the lab meet?

Generally, the lab meets on Fridays at 4 during the semester (with special meetings called as needed). Students in the lab often meet with me during my office hours too (or meet with one another on specialized project teams) as needed. Before NEEPS each year, we gear up to give presentations (we are usually in competition with labs at Albany and Binghamton for the strongest numbers and presence at the conference  – and we usually show pretty darn well!). The conference is usually in late Spring.

How do I get “credit” for my work in the lab?

Students usually get “independent study” credit (either PSY or EVO 495 (if undergraduate) or PSY or EVO 595 (if graduate-level)) – typically three credits a semester. And if a student is working on his or her thesis, he or she will typically get credit for that during his or her time (sometimes instead of independent study -sometimes in addition to it – driven by what’s best for the student’s situation). If it’s best for a student (given his or her situation) to not receive credit for a semester and to “volunteer,” that’s typically fine too.

As you can see by the web pages of our students (linked from the page found here), “credit” often comes in the form of scholarly presentations at conferences (usually partly funded by the university) and co-authorship on articles. In fact, it’s fair and accurate to say that some of the members of our lab – at the MA level – have as many scholarly publications as would be needed for a professor to get tenure at many universities across the country. Yeah, we’re that productive!

What about the World-Renowned EvoS Seminar Series in Spring?

The SUNY New Paltz Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) Seminar Series is really the best thing realted to evoultion that we have on campus – and while it’s not directly related to our lab, I strongly encourage all members of our lab to attend all the talks (typically given by the top scholars in the world on topics related to evolution). Further, often, students in our lab will work as a “course assistant” for the undergraduate EVO 301 course tied to the seminar series – working with me (when I teach it) or with other instructors of the course. This is typically given as EVO 595 credit. And it’s something that I strongly recommend doing as a member of the lab. The Seminar Series has connected so many of our lab members to important figures in the field and has led to many collaborative projects with our students’ work showcased in presentations and publications.

EvoS Club

The EvoS Club is a campus-wide club dedicated to supporting activities related to evolutionary studies at New Paltz. Often (almost always?) the members of the EP Lab play a major role in leading this club. The club has access to some of the the $1,000,000+ generated for the Student Assocation each year – and these monies can be used for all kinds of activities (supporting student travel to conferences, inviting speakers from afar, field trips, parties, etc.). As a member of the EP lab, definitely consider joining the EvoS Club!

Communication

While we communicate via email, we’ve recently started using a closed Facebook group site, which seems to provide for efficient and thorough communication among the group. Make sure to join the FB group if you’re in the lab!

Funding

For research projects and student travel to present at conferences, funding is available. The Graduate School offers money – as does SA and the Psychology Department. And even other possible sources exist. Information on funding opportunities is posted on the FB group site. And general information on sources of funding for research and conference travel is found here.

HOW do I join?

Our group is usually pretty big, but we nearly always welcome bright, enthusiastic, and hard-working folks into the lab if it looks like a good fit. If you’re a prospective graduate student, you should email me ahead of applying to our program. If you’re a current undergraduate student interested in doing research with our team, there’s a good chance that we could use your skills and help. So, again, email me or stop by to talk during my office hours – make a case that you have genuine interests in evolutionary psychology and that you have the skills (high GPA usually helps – along with having taken a course in EP and/or the EvoS Seminar course).  Contrary to any rumors that may be out there, we like having undergraduates on the team!

And if you’re a scholar at another school interested in collaborating with our lab for a semester with our lab (such as during a sabbatical), note that we are able to house a visiting scholar – and our recent visit with David Widman of Juniata in this capacity was hugely successful leading to lots of projects being both started and, in several cases, completed! In a short amount of time. Something to think about. Our space could be expanded and improved, and parking’s a nightmare, but our lab is really awesome and we often can benefit from the help of “another evolutionary psychologist” being around!

What do I do once I’m in the lab?

Below is typical summary of “what you’d do,” semester by semester, if you’re a member of our lab for two years (a typical stint):

First Semester

Attend all lab meetings, give a presentation on something you might be interested in studying, maybe sign up for “independent study” credits. Jump on an existing project or two being done by “advanced” students in the lab. Start thinking about a project or project that you’d like to oversee. Think about playing a role in the EvoS Seminar Series, EvoS Club, and attending/presenting at NEEPS. Take whatever classes you need and do very well in them!

Second Semester

Continue to attend all lab meetings – and probably get independent study credit. If you’re a graduate student, think about starting a thesis proposal. Continue work on any projects you’re working on. Plan for NEEPS or whatever other events the lab is working toward at the time. Take whatever classes you need and do very well in them!

Third Semester

Continue to attend all lab meetings – and, again, probably get independent study credit. If you’re an MA student, defend your thesis proposal and start/complete your IRB materials for your thesis. Make progress on whatever additional projects you’re working on. Take whatever classes you need and do very well in them! If you’re planning to head to a PhD program after this, you probably want to apply to programs now – and talk with me about different possibilities and the process.

Fourth Semester

Continue to attend all lab meetings – and, again, probably get independent study credit. If you’re an MA student, you’ll need to do “thesis credits” and complete your thesis – and meet with me a bunch of times to go over it (including data analysis and write-up and scheduling the defense with the committee). Defend your thesis. Prepare for NEEPS, HBES, or whatever the lab is working on at the time. Play a major role in the EvoS Seminar Series – always. Make progress on whatever additional projects you’re working on. Take whatever classes you need and do very well in them (if you still have classes to take)! If you’re planning on this being your last semester, work with the lab to make sure that projects you’re working on have some kind of plan for completion or handoff.

Teamwork

Teamwork is what allows our lab to be so successful. Any given project typically has a team of between 2-8 people from the lab on board. We divide up the tasks, work together, work often with collaborators at other institutions, and we never fail! The EP lab is always comprised of students who are intrinsically motivated – and who are task-oriented. In other words, people in our group genuinely believe (a) “I want very much to do this work” and (b) “I’m going to do the work not until 5pm, but until the task is complete.”

We work together, we help each other, and we have fun. And we try to beat Corwin Senko’s kickball team in the Departmental Kickball Tournament each Spring!

Questions? Concerns? Feeling like you need guidance?

See me! I know I’m busy and have a zillion things going on, but at the end of the day, the EP lab is absolutely essential to my work, and making sure that all members of the lab feel like they have purpose and know what to do to succeed is foundational for me. Meeting with me is usually best in half-hour meetings during my “appointment-based” office hours – but definitely see me during my open hours – and/or other times – as needed. Your success is my success is the lab’s success!

Your Future

I hope that each graduate of our lab learns the following:

- An awful lot about evolutionary psychology!

- The fact that work is fun.

- The fact that there are huge benefits to working as a team.

- The fact that mutual respect, hard work, and a positive attitude go a longer way than you can imagine.

- Doing great scholarship related to evolutionary psychology is within your reach.

- Note that I graduated college with a 3.22 and I doubt I would have gotten into SUNY New Paltz based on my high school grades – if I can succeed in this field, so can you!

- What you put in is what you get out.

- The stars are 100% within your grasp.

We like to keep our alumni close – by featuring them on our lab page, continuing collaborative projects, getting together at conferences, inviting them to campus for special events, etc. Membership in the lab doesn’t have to end with graduation!

Thanks NP EP Lab for being the best lab on campus! Looking forward to being able to continue to make this claim for decades to come!

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