For his senior project, to gain experience in formal research, Hall began working with Philip Ives. Hall reported that Ives was one of the most influential people he encountered during his formative years. Hall became fascinated with the study of Drosophila while working in Ives’ lab, a passion that has permeated his research. Under the supervision of Ives, Hall studied recombination and translocation induction in Drosophila. The success of Hall’s research pursuits prompted department faculty to recommend that Hall pursue graduate school at University of Washington in Seattle, where the entire biology department was devoted to genetics.