SHUTTLE Lab Member Expectations

The information provided on this page was developed in collaboration with group members and is a living document. We annually review and edit our mission, values, and responsibilities together and come to a consensus that includes listening to and respecting everyone’s input. Anyone in the group may suggest and lead discussion on these topics, which may generate updates in the lab values and policies.

Table of Contents
  1. Our Expectations and Responsibilities
  2. For Everyone
  3. Aaron
  4. Postdocs and Research Staff
  5. Ph.D. Students
  6. Undergraduate Students
  7. Contacting Aaron

Our Expectations and Responsibilities

The academic environment provides a place to learn new skills and gain depth of knowledge. It is a place to receive mentoring and provide mentoring to those at different educational levels. We all have responsibilities to ourselves and those in the group. Our group is not a hierarchy and we all work together and take on different leadership roles based on our previous experiences and desired experiences. All members of the group will have opportunities to present their research within the group and in the broader scientific community.

All expectations are grounded in the idea of being considerate toward other members of the lab. Treat everyone with respect for their ideas, their work, their time, and their mental and physical health. Communicate your needs and your plans in advance and in detail as much as possible, and listen when others communicate with you. If we all do this, everything will run smoothly!

For Everyone

  • Support your fellow labmates and treat everyone with respect. 
  • Be responsible for your behavior. 
  • To support work-life integration, we maintain flexibility in working hours and respect for personal time. You are not expected to work evenings, weekends, and holidays (including the entirety of winter break). However, if you prefer to work non-standard hours, communicate that to Aaron.
  • You may receive an email during off-hours because of how someone else has balanced their time. You are not expected to respond to emails immediately; however, you should respond in a timely manner (e.g., within 24 hours for a weekday if you are not on vacation).
  • You should take as much vacation as you see fit, and you do not need to formally have vacation time approved in advance. However, you should let your collaborators know when you will be taking vacation so that they can plan around your schedule. Also, when scheduling your vacation you should be sure you can complete your tasks, and you should be cognizant of conferences, research activities that require you to be present in a specific location (e.g. helping with a class, conducting an in-person interview, etc.), and deadlines (e.g. conference manuscript submission deadlines).
  • You should respect your collaborators’ vacations and time off by planning for their absence and only contacting them during time off for urgent matters.
  • You should get involved in your broader community. You should explore opportunities to engage either related or unrelated to your research.
  • If you are struggling, do not struggle alone. You can reach out to people in the lab, your friends, your family, or C.A.R.E. If you notice someone struggling, reach out to the person, or let Aaron or C.A.R.E know so they can reach out.
  • Be ethical. If you are not sure about something, bring it up privately or in a lab meeting.
  • All lab members must complete human studies training.
  • All lab members must attend lab meetings. If you cannot attend due to a conference or personal reason, let Aaron know you cannot attend.
  • All lab members are expected to present during at least one meeting per semester. You are given the freedom to choose the topic yourself (e.g., a technique you are learning about in a class, a journal article you would like to discuss in detail, some aspect of your research about which you would like feedback from peers, a practice conference presentation, etc.).
  • All lab members are expected to serve as the lead author for at least one conference paper per year. For conference abstracts, Aaron expects to have a draft at a minimum of 3 days prior to the deadline. For the full conference paper, he expects to have a complete draft at a minimum of 2 weeks prior to the deadline. For journal articles with deadlines (this case is pretty rare), he expects to have a complete draft at a minimum of 6 weeks prior to the deadline. This allows Aaron the time to give you written constructive feedback while also leaving you with enough time to incorporate my feedback in time. 
  • Mistakes happen. Be honest if you made one or if you discover one. Try your best to work carefully. If you are uncomfortable with a task or equipment, let someone know so you can gain support and guided practice.
  • Be on time and respectful of other people’s time.
  • Work together to establish and communicate reasonable deadlines and timelines clearly and let your colleague know if the request is not possible or needs to change.


  • Will be available to meet with group members at regular intervals. Typically we will have  full lab meetings every other week, alternating with individual meetings with Ph.D. students. Some projects will also have weekly project-specific meetings that bring collaborators together. If you need additional time to meet with Aaron, just ask to meet. This is particularly important for research assistants, who will not have regularly-scheduled individual meetings.
  • Will communicate his regular schedule with the lab members so they know when he is in the office and when he is working from home.
  • Will work with lab members at the beginning of each semester to schedule lab, individual, and project meeting times that work for everyone.
  • Will support members to work independently and collaboratively, facilitating members to become independent researchers that can also work on team projects.
  • Will provide feedback in a timely manner and with respect.
  • Will support and train you as you prepare for your career, whatever that path may be (e.g., academic research, teaching, or student services; policy; industry; etc.). Aaron is committed to planning and directing your research project, which includes setting reasonable and attainable goals and a realistic timeline for completing them. He will also encourage you to seek additional opportunities in career development training and provide advice and assist in finding a position that aligns with your future professional career goals.
  • Will listen to all members of the group.
  • Will be flexible for when the unknown occurs, providing opportunities to change deadlines and goals commensurate with the individual needs.
  • Will be open about funding and supportive of funding opportunities.
  • Will support authorship questions and project responsibilities within the group and with collaborators.
  • Will support all members of the group in writing at least one conference publication every year.
  • Will support Ph.D. students in finding funding traveling to at least one EER-related conference every year.
  • Will support defining norms with collaborators and expectations on communication and presentations.
  • Will seek assistance from other faculty and departmental/institutional resources when necessary, providing access to formal opportunities and programs in complementary areas necessary for a successful career.

Postdocs and Research Staff

  • Will be provided reasonable autonomy to pursue research goals and will be given leadership opportunities within projects.
  • Will work with Aaron to create an individual mentoring plan to support growth. 
  • Will provide mentorship and support to the graduate and undergraduate students in the group.
  • Will get involved in grant writing and project management.

Ph.D. Students

Graduate school is difficult. Productivity (and motivation) will ebb and flow. If you’re anything like me (and chances are good that you are because I invited you to be a part of my lab), there will likely be times when you will feel like an imposter or a failure. A major reason for why this document exists is to set mutually agreed upon expectations to prevent that as much as possible. However, if you do feel that way at some point during your time in my lab, know that I am here to support you through the tough times (and to celebrate you through the good times!).

  • Will support fellow Ph.D. students (e.g., support first-year students to acclimate to graduate school and other students that may have questions related to your expertise).
  • Will work to scope a project. Your Ph.D. is not your career and you are not expected to do everything. You will discover many avenues in your graduate career and it is important to select a subset for your thesis research.
  • Will work with Aaron to create an individual mentoring plan to support growth.
  • Will come to individual meetings with updates from the past two weeks and a list of questions / topics to discuss with Aaron. I recommend you keep a running Google Doc so that you and Aaron have access to it at all times and can both add items that come up between meetings.
  • Will advocate for oneself.
  • Will provide mentorship to research assistants, and will make sure that they have the time and capacity to support any students mentored.
  • Will work with Aaron to find funding to travel to at least one EER-related conference every year. You should also identify conferences beyond ASEE related to your research and discuss these with Aaron.
  • Will let the group know if there are opportunities for undergraduate projects. (Note that undergraduates should not be treated as a way to get more work done, but as an opportunity to mentor and engage with students at a different stage.)
  • Will connect with EER and Aerospace graduate students outside our group to build one’s educational and social support network. We learn from many people and are inclusive of these experiences.
  • Will work full-time over the summer on research unless other arrangements are made with Aaron (e.g. completing your Immersive Learning Experience). There is more flexibility for you to work from a location outside of Ann Arbor during the summers, and you should talk with Aaron about your desired plan for the summer in the middle of the Winter semester.

Undergraduate Students

  • Will treat research as an opportunity to learn about different types of work and not as a line on a resume
  • Will ask questions. If you don’t know something, don’t be afraid to ask (e.g., terms that are used, research methods discussed, software, etc.)
  • Will be mentored by others in the lab, provided direction on their project, and support to achieve their goals. All undergraduates will have a main point of contact in the lab (e.g., graduate student, post-doc, or Aaron).
  • Will have their ideas heard and valued.
  • Will have opportunities to gain leadership responsibilities on a project with continued experience in the group.

Contacting Aaron

  • E-mail is the best way to get in contact with Aaron. You should expect a response within two business days at least. Aaron also frequently replies to e-mails in the evening due to his work / childcare schedule, but there is no expectation that you read nor respond to e-mails outside of working hours.
  • For brief questions or urgent matters when Aaron is on campus, you can visit him in his office, 3053 FXB. If the door is closed, please feel free to knock. But, I may be on a call or in a meeting and unavailable to talk right then.
  • For brief questions or urgent matters when Aaron is off campus (including in the evening), you can also text Aaron. You should not share Aaron’s phone number with others outside of the lab.