Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs
Dr. Juliet Lu is a political ecologist and a scholar of Global China. She is Assistant Professor of Environmental Governance & Business at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. She is jointly appointed in the Department of Forest Resources Management and the School of Public Policy & Global Affairs.
From 2020-2022 she was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Atkinson Center for Sustainability at Cornell University studying the role of Chinese rubber firms in global initiatives to make the natural rubber supply chain more sustainable. She received her PhD from the Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management at the University of California, Berkeley in August 2020. Her doctoral research explored the political economy and territorial implications of Chinese agribusiness investments and development cooperation initiatives in rubber in Laos.
Her broader research interests include the impacts of China’s growing demand for raw materials on land and resource management in Southeast Asia, the intersection between resource governance and state formation in borderland regions, and discourses of environmental protection and sustainable development in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative. She co-hosts the Belt and Road Podcast (https://www.buzzsprout.com/196316), which features emerging research and nuanced discussions on China’s growing impact on the developing world.
From 2009-2013, Juliet worked as a researcher in the environmental sector in China (World Agroforestry Centre, Yunnan) and Laos (Centre for Development and Environment, Vientiane) where she studied agroforestry, communal forest management, market-based sustainability initiatives, and the spatial analysis of large-scale land concessions.
I'm especially seeking folks with experience (and language skills) in China, Vietnam, Laos, or Cambodia. I'm also excited to mentor non-native English speakers, non-traditional students broadly defined, and folks committed to fostering diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. See my website (https://julietlu.com) and the Interdisciplinary Biodiversity Solutions website (https://ibios.ubc.ca) for a sense of the work we might do together.
Currently only considering supporting Postdoctoral fellow applications for the year 2024-25.
Complete these steps before you reach out to a faculty member!
- Familiarize yourself with program requirements. You want to learn as much as possible from the information available to you before you reach out to a faculty member. Be sure to visit the graduate degree program listing and program-specific websites.
- Check whether the program requires you to seek commitment from a supervisor prior to submitting an application. For some programs this is an essential step while others match successful applicants with faculty members within the first year of study. This is either indicated in the program profile under "Admission Information & Requirements" - "Prepare Application" - "Supervision" or on the program website.
- Identify specific faculty members who are conducting research in your specific area of interest.
- Establish that your research interests align with the faculty member’s research interests.
- Read up on the faculty members in the program and the research being conducted in the department.
- Familiarize yourself with their work, read their recent publications and past theses/dissertations that they supervised. Be certain that their research is indeed what you are hoping to study.
- Compose an error-free and grammatically correct email addressed to your specifically targeted faculty member, and remember to use their correct titles.
- Do not send non-specific, mass emails to everyone in the department hoping for a match.
- Address the faculty members by name. Your contact should be genuine rather than generic.
- Include a brief outline of your academic background, why you are interested in working with the faculty member, and what experience you could bring to the department. The supervision enquiry form guides you with targeted questions. Ensure to craft compelling answers to these questions.
- Highlight your achievements and why you are a top student. Faculty members receive dozens of requests from prospective students and you may have less than 30 seconds to pique someone’s interest.
- Demonstrate that you are familiar with their research:
- Convey the specific ways you are a good fit for the program.
- Convey the specific ways the program/lab/faculty member is a good fit for the research you are interested in/already conducting.
- Be enthusiastic, but don’t overdo it.
G+PS regularly provides virtual sessions that focus on admission requirements and procedures and tips how to improve your application.
ADVICE AND INSIGHTS FROM UBC FACULTY ON REACHING OUT TO SUPERVISORS
These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a potential thesis supervisor.
- For Profit or Patriotism? Balancing the Interests of the Chinese State, Host Country and Firm in the Lao Rubber Sector (2022)
The China Quarterly, 250, 332--355
- Grounding Chinese investment: encounters between Chinese capital and local land politics in Laos (2021)
Globalizations, 18 (3), 422--440
- Great expectations: Chinese investment in Laos and the myth of empty land (2019)
Territory, Politics, Governance, , 1--18
- Development cooperation with Chinese characteristics: Opium replacement and Chinese rubber investments in northern Laos (2017)
In China's Backyard: Policies and Politics of Chinese Resource Investments in Southeast Asia, , 154-181
- Tapping into rubber: China’s opium replacement program and rubber production in Laos (2017)
The Journal of Peasant Studies, 44 (4), 726--747
- Coping with climate-induced water stresses through time and space in the mountains of Southwest China (2012)
Regional Environmental Change, 12 (4), 855-866