Grad Student's Award Winning Poster Leads to PhD Offer

By Dr. Michael Guebert Published: Jul 09, 2013

Taylor MES Grad Bradley Gordon

A Taylor University Master of Environmental Science (MES) graduate student's award-winning poster has resulted in a PhD fellowship at one of America's most prestigious programs.

Taylor (MES) graduate student, Bradley Gordon, recently received the “Best Student Poster Award” at the Midwest-Great Lakes Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration in Wooster, Ohio.  Gordon’s poster, "Creating biological benchmarks for habitat assessment following management of wetlands and oak savannas in northwestern Indiana" was a summary of his graduate thesis research completed under Dr. Paul Rothrock, who received a multi-year grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Gordon’s Best Poster Award earned him a certificate, a $75.00 check and a book on ecological restoration; but it turned into a whole lot more.

“I attended the meeting expecting to be educated on topics in my field. However, the meeting proved even more valuable for networking,” he said. “During the poster presentation, I had owners of private consulting companies, representatives from research-oriented companies, government employees, and professors discussing my research with me throughout the entire allotted time.” 

Gordon said he did not realize at the time that the poster was his introduction to what would lead to a fully-funded graduate fellowship. “One gentleman told me he had funding to hire a research assistant for the coming summer, and he had enough funding to bring me into his lab as a PhD research assistant the next spring semester,” he said. “Weeks later, he surprised me again by telling me he found a fellowship still available for the fall with a hefty stipend, full tuition coverage, and health insurance.”

Receiving a BS in Biology at Northwestern College (Minn.) before coming to Taylor’s MES, Gordon will now be attending the University of Minnesota this fall in the Water Resources Science PhD Program. Funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, he will study correlations of soil erosion in the Minnesota River Basin to a Floristic Quality Assessment, the same assessment tool he learned and used in his Taylor research with Professor Rothrock.  

“All of this is to emphasize how important it is to attend scientific meetings and network with professionals in your field,” said Gordon. “What was originally going to simply be an educational experience turned into a fully-funded PhD position.”