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Appropriate to ask LOR from PI?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by polyploidy516, 05.21.14.

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  1. polyploidy516

    polyploidy516 7+ Year Member

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    Hi all,

    I would really appreciate your insight in regards to an issue. In particular, last month, I was told by my supervisor that I did not have to come in anymore to work on a project ( I had processed about 1000 RNA/DNA samples in the last 1 year before and had presented in lab meetings about the results, etc). Her reasoning was that there were several issues in regards to how these samples were handled ( they were not directly attributed to me) and she mentioned that none of the other interns will be working there from now on.

    When I asked her for a reference , she enthusiastically offered one saying that I am incredibly polite and hard-working and that it was a pleasure to have know me, etc. I applied for another research job and got it after listing her as a reference.

    My question is: do you think I could ask the PI for an LOR for this experience given how it ended? I was hoping to stay in the lab for another year and hopefully do an independent project...that did not work out...would it be wise to ask for an LOR from her given how my supervisor responded? Im curious and concerned as I had good relations with everyone in the lab including the PI's wife who also worked there. Do you think a strong LOR could be given or should I not risk it?

    Your thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you.
     
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  3. lmn

    lmn 2+ Year Member

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    I would personally try to find a stronger LOR writer
     
  4. polyploidy516

    polyploidy516 7+ Year Member

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    I really appreciate your insight. As I was planning on listing this activity because it will really add context to my application, I was told that some schools ( Harvard, etc) want recs from all labs that you worked in. I was, thus, curious...this PI is known to write excellent recommendations and is well-known in her field.

    Do you think a lukewarm LOR would be detrimental?
     
  5. dismorfik

    dismorfik 2+ Year Member

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    I disagree and think it's ok to ask for LOR. Research is not fool proof. **** happens. Sounds like she knows you well enough to describe your character.
     
  6. polyploidy516

    polyploidy516 7+ Year Member

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    I really appreciate your clarification. I would really like to know how I should go about asking the PI? Would email be appropriate ( as I do not work there anymore)? In addition, should I ask him if he can provide a strong LOR ( I want a strong one as I want my LOR's to be good given that I have a lower gpa and need everything else to be perfect)?

    thanks again for all of your insight!
     
  7. lmn

    lmn 2+ Year Member

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    If you are going to go ahead with it, make sure she says she can give you a strong LOR, you said the reasons leading to your termination weren't directly related to you, but you have to make sure that didn't interpret w/e the circumstances were to be due to some major mistake or negligence by you. A mediocre LOR doesn't help you when other candidates will have LOR's praising them as great workers/researchers/etc. Research isn't foolproof, mistakes happen, but I have never seen someone be terminated from their research projects for any non-extreme negligence or ineptitude.
     
  8. kyamh

    kyamh 2+ Year Member

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    It is totally appropriate to ask your PI whether they feel they can write you a "strong letter of recommendation for medical school". All parts of that statement are important. Strong is important because it gives the PI the indication that you need a good letter, not that you are desperate for any letter. The medical school part is also important. My PI has had plenty of students he would highly recommend for medical school, but not a for a future in research/graduate school.
     
  9. nemo123

    nemo123 5+ Year Member

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    Also, from what I have seen, if LOR writers aren't confident that they can write you a good letter anyway, they will just refuse (even if you don't word your question with the words "strong LOR").
     
  10. polyploidy516

    polyploidy516 7+ Year Member

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    hey all,

    I wanted to give you an update. I emailed my PI today asking him if he could provide me with a very strong letter of recommendation and he said that I should provide him with my cv in addition to anything else he wants me to put and that he would write a letter for me.

    Does this basically indicate that it will be a strong letter of recommendation as I had originally requested? In addition, do you think I am basically safe now as my PI has agreed or should I still be worried given how things ended and that I did not get a chance to do an independent project with her?

    Your further thoughts and clarifications would be truly appreciated. Thank you once again for everything.
     
    dismorfik likes this.
  11. kyamh

    kyamh 2+ Year Member

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    I think you are set. Be sure to annotate your CV and to highlight the things you want the professor to see by bumping them up closer to the top of the CV.

    Edit: Also, I would include a brief summary (1/2 a page or less) about relevant accomplishments that the professor can speak about, maybe a little bit about what you hope to get out of your medical school education. I don't know, the details depend on your relationship. The goal is to highlight the things you would like to be in the recommendation and to make the PI's job easier.
     
  12. polyploidy516

    polyploidy516 7+ Year Member

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    I really appreciate your advice and am grateful for all of your suggestions I will definitely include a cover sheet as to what I want the PI to focus on in the resume as well as high-lighting the interests that I hope to execute after I become a physician.

    one further question that I have is do you think it would be appropriate if I ask her to possibly mentor me for the next year ( as I plan on starting an independent research study I would like to keep in touch with her for advice as he is a well known mentor)? I basically really want to maintain this relationship because he's in the top of his field and I really want to take full advantage of this opportunity.

    Any other further comments would be truly appreciated. Thank you once again for everything.
     
  13. lmn

    lmn 2+ Year Member

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    Sounds like you should be fine, most PIs/Professors have a good amount of experience writing letters and are busy enough that they aren't going to waste their time to write you a poor LOR unless they are the very rare and odd, spiteful type that will go out of their way to burn you. Very unlikely. I would say go ahead and provide him the recommended material (read up about what to send if unsure), and it sounds like he should be able to write you a good LOR.
     

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