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Come work with me!

In January of 2020, I'll be joining the faculty in the Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.

I will be looking for motivated PhD students & post-docs

to join the WUSTL Geomorphology Lab.

I am looking for students interested in pursuing PhD research broadly related to erosion and sediment transport mechanics using a combination of approaches, including (but not limited to) physical experiments, numerical methods, environmental seismology, and other field observations.


Individual projects will be largely dictated by student interest but some jumping off points include:

       - "Unpacking" the state function of incipient motion in gravel rivers

       -  Interplay of abrasion & plucking as mechanisms for bedrock incision

       -  Biological and physical controls on the evolution of rocky coasts

       -  Erosion and geomorphology in the Ozark Mountains


Interested students should contact me directly (cmasteller at epsc dot wustl dot edu) to learn more. In your email, please describe your interests and relevant background.

Post-docs are also encouraged to contact me with ideas for collaborative research projects.  While there is some funding available, we will most likely need to build a customized funding plan to support your work.

German nationals may be eligible to seek funding from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Please email me for more details.


My responsibilities as your advisor

- Work with students to identify and address research objectives through collaborative design of a dissertation project
- Ensure financial support throughout graduate school (+ travel to relevant conferences)
- Provide a supportive, constructive, and collaborative work environment 
- Meet 1-on-1 weekly to discuss progress during early stages of graduate tenure, and biweekly/as needed during later stages
- Consistently discuss future career goals and help to facilitate achievement of those goals - your success is my success! 
- Listen to feedback and provide support during difficult times. 

Your responsibilities as a group member

- Be open, excited and eager to learn and collaborate!

- Don't be afraid to ask for help.  You're here to learn!
- Participate in lab group meetings and in departmental events (seminars)
- Follow through on weekly meetings and short-term research plans
- Apply for outside funding (I will help you identify relevant fellowships)

- Communicate progress, pitfalls, and short- and long-term goals 
- Submit 3 manuscripts for publication over the course of your PhD training

Earning a PhD in Earth and Planetary Sciences is undoubtedly a commitment and you have chosen to pursue it to achieve a mix of professional and intellectual goals. It is my job to ensure that your time in the WUSTL Geomorphology Lab helps you to achieve those goals in a stimulating, supportive, and scientifically rigorous environment.  

WUSTL Geomorphology mixes extensive field and laboratory work with quantitative data analysis and the development and use of numerical models.  These outdoor and laboratory experiences can be strenuous at times and include hiking over rough terrain, performing extended laboratory experiments, and carrying heavy equipment both in the field and the lab. Due to the nature of these activities, they can sometimes present non-traditional working hours. 


Students must also be comfortable with quantitative methods of scientific inquiry.  MATLAB and Python are the predominant programming languages used in the lab, so experience or a willingness to learn either of these programming languages is required.

WUSTL Geomorphology is committed to building a diverse group, both scientifically and culturally. Potential students from all trainings, career stages, and backgrounds are encouraged to contact me.

Student expectations in the WUSTL Geomorphology Lab

(adapted from Margaret Zimmer)

Potential students can find more information regarding the graduate program and application process hereApplications are due January 1, 2020.


WUSTL EPS is a dynamic, medium-sized (24 faculty, ~36 graduate students), nationally ranked program for Earth and Planetary sciences.  WUSTL faculty span a broad range of disciplines, including geology, geobiology, geochemistry, geophysics, and planetary sciences. The broad research interests of our faculty means that you’ll have access to a diverse set of expertise to support cutting-edge research. WUSTL EPS also has strong ties with the Tyson Environmental Research Center and Field Station, the McDonnell Center for Space Sciences, and the Fossett Lab for Virtual Planetary Exploration.


Graduate students are well supported within the department, and if accepted, I will work with you to ensure funding through the completion of your PhD.

Why St. Louis?

Situated at the confluence of the Missouri and the Mississippi, it is easy to be inspired as a geomorphologist in St. Louis. 


Beyond that, with a metro population of 2.8 million, St. Louis is a vibrant and diverse city. WUSTL’s campus lies on the doorstep of Forest Park, which offers over 1,000 acres of green space, complete with running and biking trails, as well as the St. Louis Zoo, Science Center, Art Museum, and Missouri History Museum. For a city of its size, there are a large number of restaurants, coffee shops, and breweries (micro- and macro-) across the city.  In 15 minutes or so, you can take the Metro downtown to catch a Cardinals or a Blues game. Want to get out into nature? Drive a few hours south to explore the natural beauty of the Ozark Mountains (the geomorphology is excellent!). 

The confluence!
Busch Stadium, Go Cards!
Ozark Mountains
Ozark Mountains
Forest Park
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