Information for Prospective Students/Postdocs

& Lab Statement on Diversity/Inclusion


I am not taking any additional applications for a August 2020 start date. Please see below to get an idea of the timeline for the 2021 application cycle.

Graduate students will: join and expand research in the Hotchkiss Lab exploring how land-water interactions, hydrology, climate, and aquatic ecosystem processes (carbon metabolism, nutrient cycling, food web dynamics) shape the transport, transformations, and fates of carbon and nutrients in wetlands, streams, lakes, rivers, and fluvial networks. More information about ongoing research can be found on this site. Graduate students conduct independent research, in collaboration with Dr. Hotchkiss, while engaging with undergraduate mentoring and broader research collaborations. In addition to working with others in the lab, members of the Hotchkiss Lab benefit from interacting with students, faculty, and other science professionals within and outside the Department of Biological Sciences: all graduate students will be active members of the multi-lab Stream Team; Ph.D. students may be eligible to join the interdisciplinary Interfaces of Global Change Program after their first year at Virginia Tech; and all lab members are welcome to participate in the Cross-Boundary Biogeosciences Group.

Successful applicants will have: interest in ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, and/or ecohydrology; research and scientific writing experience through previous employment and/or studies; and the ability to work independently and collaboratively. Candidates with strong quantitative skills are especially encouraged to apply. In most cases, Ph.D. applicants should have the equivalent of a M.Sc. from a graduate program in the United States (a 2-3 year program with a research thesis), but exceptions with significant research and publication experience as well as a Bachelor's degree in a related field will be considered.

If interested in joining the Hotchkiss Lab: Before submitting an official application to the Graduate School (see timeline below), applicants should email Dr. Hotchkiss a CV or resume and a "letter of interest" - a short letter describing your research interests and experience, future goals, and why you are interested in joining the Hotchkiss Lab. Include whether you are interested in pursuing a M.S. and/or Ph.D. and your preferred start date. Prospective students who are eligible and interested in applying for an NSF GRFP Fellowship are encouraged to contact Dr. Hotchkiss prior to submitting. Please email any questions and letters of interest to ehotchkiss[at] For letters of interest: include your name and "graduate application" in the subject line.

Virginia Tech's Department of Biological Sciences application requirements, deadlines, and guidelines can be found at: We no longer require GRE scores as part of our application process.

Timeline for letters of interest, applications, and campus visits (for applicants interested in an August start date):

  • Early autumn: Email me (see above)! I schedule video call interviews with applicants who have submitted letters of interest and whose interests and objectives appear to be well-aligned with my research group.
  • Late autumn: I invite some applicants to submit an official application through the Graduate School in time for December deadlines. I am willing to pay the application fee for anyone I invite to apply.
  • Late winter/early spring: I arrange for visits to Virginia Tech/Blacksburg with top-ranked applicants. All travel and lodging costs will be covered. I do not extend offers to applicants until after we have the chance to meet in person during campus visits.


Please contact me (ehotchkiss[at] if you are interested in working as a postdoc in my group. I don't currently have an open position, but I am willing to discuss potential funding mechanisms and collaborate on grants to fund postdoctoral fellows.

I will have a call for postdoc applicants to collaborate on a new NSF Macrosystems project in Spring 2020.


Please email me at ehotchkiss[at] if you are interested in conducting an undergraduate research project and/or gaining experience with field or laboratory research. Our lab is at capacity through Spring 2020, but I am happy to meet with students to discuss future opportunities.

Summer 2020 research opportunities:


The Hotchkiss Lab is committed to the inclusion of underrepresented groups in science. We acknowledge that the potential for success in and contributions to science is not determined by race, ethnicity, sex, gender, age, sexual orientation, physical or cognitive disabilities, or socioeconomic background. In fact, we believe that diversity of people and perspectives can only increase our ability to advance scientific research, management, education, and policy. We are dedicated to recruiting, retaining, and mentoring individuals in a way that promotes diversity and equity in our research group and classrooms.

Virginia Tech’s Principles of Community:

Photo series of a dragonfly (Ophiogomphus severus) emerging