Rob Shepard, recent May 2013 graduate of the Dept. of Biology and student employee of the Center of Excellence for Field Biology has just accepted a graduate assistantship from the University of Arizona. Beginning this August Rob will pursue a M.S. degree in the School of Natural Resources and Environment studying Dendrochronology in the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research. Specifically he will study mesquite succession in Southwestern grasslands and examine the sensitivity of mesquite wood to climate fluctuations. In addition to the offer from University of Arizona, Rob has also received offers this year from West Virginia University and Appalachian State. Following his M.S. degree Rob plans to pursue a PhD with an eye toward entering academia in the future. During his time at APSU Rob has been a leader in the APSU Herbarium (www.apsu.edu/herbarium) as Collections Manager working with Dr. Dwayne Estes. He also has played key roles on several botany projects, including a floristic survey and vegetation mapping project of the Ocoee River Gorge and the study of a small prairie remnant near Dickson. In the past year, he has been mentored in the science of dendrochronology by Dr. Chris Gentry (Dept. of Geosciences), which has prepared him well for his upcoming appointment in Arizona. Good luck Rob!