Thank you for reaching this page. If you are a PhD applicant or a student already at Penn State and want to work with me, below are a few paragraphs that I highly recommend you read:
I always look forward to and enjoy working with motivated students with similar interests. However, establishing a mentor-mentee relation usually requires more considerations. First and foremost, a mentor-mentee relationship entails mutual understanding, effective and responsive communication, and substantial commitment in terms of time and attention. Therefore, to guarantee enough attention for my current students, I have limited capacity in terms of the number of students I can work with simultaneously (3-5 at this moment).
Since most of the time initial contact still starts with an email, so I want to suggest what you can include in your email to help me understand how I can respond. First, if you could introduce yourself and include your resume, it will help me understand whether and how I may be of help. Second, if you are interested in working with me, it helps if you can articulate why. This means the very first thing you can do is to read some of my recent work. It takes perhaps less than an hour, depending on your reading habit, but I promise you, it will help both of us tremendously. Once you have decided that you are indeed interested in working with me, then the next action is to think exactly how the work that I do aligns with yours. Maybe you are interested in the research area. Maybe you want to apply your skillset. Maybe you want to propose your own research topic... There are many possibilities that I cannot enumerate, and what you write does not have to be as elaborate as an essay. But again, it helps a lot. If your email contains these types of content and possibly more, this shows to me that you are very serious about what you are looking for and I will get back to you usually in one day or two. I cannot promise that my response will meet your expectation, but at the very least it will be commensurate with yours.