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ZAGS Activities

ZAGS members come from all corners of the nation, and for that matter, the globe! We do a lot of things together which fosters professional collaboration, and great friendships. Here is a glimpse of some of our routine activities, both academic, as well as recreational.

ZAGS Officers:

President: Rich Zamor;

Secretary/Treasurer: Pascal;

GSS Reps: Pascal and Mingzi;

Faculty Reps: Randy Lewis and Tim Colston;

ZAGS Steering Committee: Cassie Poindexter and Ryan Callahan;

Social Coordinator: Deepak;

Green Committee:April Fink;

Listserv/Website Management: ;

Annual Fall ZAGS Retreat:

Every Fall graduate students retreat to the scenic campus of the University of Oklahoma Biological Station on Lake Texoma. The ZAGS retreat is for graduate students and post-docs in the department to convene in a faculty-free setting to share research ideas/results (i.e., symposium), discuss and organize graduate student issues (e.g., securing funds for research, career options, forming advisory committees), and a cook-out/Sooner football!

Some ZAGS members at the symposium. Right: Rickey Cothran preparing for the cook-out

Annual Fall Department Retreat:

Graduate students also participate in the annual departmental retreat along with the faculty. Generally, graduate students have a seperate morning session to address a focal issue, and we get together with the faculty in the afternoon for combined discussion. ZAGS also organizes fun and games for the department.

Paulette Reneau, Dr. Edie Marsh-Matthews (faculty), Dave Gillette and others at the departmental retreat

Hosting Speakers:

ZAGS hosts one seminar speaker every academic year. Usually, a prominent biologist is elected by us, and the top candidate is invited, and hosted by ZAGS. We've recently hosted: Dr. Douglas Futuyma (2001), Dr. Rick Relyea (2002), Dr. Hartmut Walter (2003), Dr. Massimo Pigliucci (2004), and Dr. John Avise (2005).

Sunny Scobell with Dr. John Avise (left; guest speaker), and Dr. Bill Matthews (Chair)

Weekly Graduate student lunch with the Seminar Speaker:

Every Wednesday afternoon, we have the oppurtunity to interact with top biologists invited by our faculty for the departmental seminar. Our department sponsors lunches for the speaker and a few graduate students.

Other conferences on campus:

OU Biology and/or affliated research establishments (e.g., Biological Station, Survey, Museum etc.) host regional or national conferences. ZAGS members help in hosting these meetings. Moreover, these conferences give us the opportunity to interact with top scientists in a relaxed setting.

Puni Jeyasingh with Dr. Matthew Leibold at the Oklahoma-Texas Aquatics meeting

Attending conferences:

ZAGS members attend numerous conferences to present their research. Our department provides us a van to travel to these events at no cost!

Michi Tobler, Jeff Wessner, Courtney Franssen & Rachael Remington attended the Desert Fishes Council meeting in Cuatro Cienegas, Mexico

Community service:

ZAGS members are also involved in community service events in the Norman/OKC area.

Allison Fortner, Jackie Paritte, Heather Galbraith & Dan Spooner ran a marathon to raise funds for breast cancer research.


Happy Hour: We convene at a local restaurant around 4:30PM every Friday for our Happy Hour. One of the few places where you can simultaneously hear stories about an elusive critter finally identified, or that elusive gene finally sequenced! For specifics contact Randy Soto James.R.Soto-1@ou.edu

ZAGS members at happy hour

Special occasions: We're a close-knit family, we celebrate every occasion together!

ZAGS members at Halloween and Christmas parties

Golf: OU has one of the top college courses in the nation! Even better, we get a discount! Quiet a few golf buffs among us, and our faculty. Contact Rickey Cothran podman@ou.edu.

Poker: We play a friendly game of poker once in a while. Contact Brian Davis bmdavi@ou.edu

Soccer: A bunch of us play in local soccer leagues. Contact Rickey Cothran podman@ou.edu

Tennis: Few courts around. Contact Puni Jeyasingh puni@ou.edu

Norman/OKC night life: Numerous restaurants, bars, clubs. Contact Randy Soto James.R.Soto-1@ou.edu

Brewing: Boil the wort! Contact Rickey Cothran to learn/trade recipies! podman@ou.edu

Cycling: Bikers galore! Contact Randy Soto James.R.Soto-1@ou.edu

Music: Two of our own play in their own bands! Contact Dan Allen dallen@ou.edu and/or Jeff Wessner jeffwesner@ou.edu

Knitting: Learn to knit with Heather Galbraith! hgalbraith@ou.edu

Football: In Sooner nation? Of course! We play a friendly game of football once a while. Contact Matt Dugas mdugas@ou.edu

Graduate Program:

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