Need help with research.

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by time md, Apr 12, 2007.

  1. time md

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    Hey Guys,

    Like I have said before I attend a small private college that is located in a small Appalachian community. As you may have guessed there are absolutely zero research opportunites in the area, or at least I don't know of any. I am only a freshman but I would still like to do some sort of research, just because I think that it will be a great experience. Of course I would like to be published, but I understand that this may be near impossible given my situation. I have a science professor who will be willing to help me as much as his schedule will allow. My question is this: Is it possible for me to do any meaningful research, or would I just be wasting my time? If research is possible, what about a publication? Please give any and all advice.

    Thanks
     
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  3. Darkshooter326

    Darkshooter326 Senior Member
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    The questions you are asking are hard to answer because there is so much chance and luck involved with successful research projects, not to mention hard work. In my opinion, starting out as a freshman, you probably won't be able to do much on your own, simply because of a lack of knowledge of techniques, science, etc. But if you are able to find a lab and stick with it for a while, your chances of doing publishable work increase a lot. Also, if you are having trouble finding research during the schoolyear, there are a lot of summer programs available for research, or you could find a PI at a nearby university to do research with.
     
  4. modelslashactor

    modelslashactor Safety not guaranteed
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    you have two options: work with the prof at your school, or head somewhere else in the summer.

    as far as the prof who can work with you, it is doubtful you can publish anything unless he has an established lab and some grant money, but it sounds like he's a nice guy and would probably be able to teach you a lot and give you a good letter, and even if you dont publish you can always go to a conference (and there are grants for students to do this all over the place). i know someone from a small school like yours who went this route and got into great grad schools.

    the other option is to go to a bigger school, the nih, etc in the summer through one of their programs. there are some that are focused toward students from schools with few research opps and you would probably have a good shot at those. the aamc has a list of programs on their website somewhere, i think its called the great network or something. all the deadlines have probably passed for this year, but next year you can apply all over the place.

    if i were you, id probably work with the prof during the year and then apply for outside programs or grants to stay at your school depending on where you want to be/what you want to do. gluck!
     
  5. mlle3000

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    i definitely think research is meaningful as an undergrad...even without a publication! what is important is that you understand the reason behind your experiments, learn how to trouble-shoot, learn the scientific process, improve your analytical reasoning skills, etc....

    it is good that you are thinking about this as a freshman. there are plenty of summer programs that are set up for college students that you can apply to. off the top of my head, Baylor has the SMART program for college students (great opportunity!). also, i know that the CDC has summer research opportunities for college students...so i would assume that the NIH would as well. (just search the websites!) competitive students applying for these programs would have already had some lab experience, so i would say definitely try to learn as much as possible from your current science professor so that you already know how to do some common assays when you apply....

    hope that helps!
     
  6. gsmithers68

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    Another thing you could do is look at international opportunities to do research. There are some programs out there... I didn't use them much since I had some options very accessible to me, but that is worth a shot.

    I would also look into some programs for student exchange where you could spend a semester or two at a different institution. National Student Exchange is really cool and my school offers that. You could apply for that, pick a school you know has research opportunities and spend a couple semesters there taking a moderate load and conducting some research. Just another thought.


    Other options, transfer or find some summer programs. But you probably already have looked into these ideas hehe.
     
  7. Janny

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    I was in your situation as an undergrad (small, isolated lib arts school...) I ended up doing some small time research projects at my school, but to get a "real" research experience I did a summer undergrad research fellowship at a major university. The best part is they paid for everything! flight+housing+stipend for 10 wks. Many of these opportunities are funded by the NSF, just google search NSF -REU (rsrch experience undergrad)
    there are many universities and many programs in almost every science that participate. You do not need rsrch exp to apply but you will need transcripts and LOR's . I am not sure how many of these are available to freshman, most are prolly for sophmores+. You should definitely check it out for the future anyway. I found my experience to be extremely useful in helping me decide if I wanted to go into research. As you know, top tier med schools almost require research experience for admission. If you are thinking on going MD/PhD research experience is CRUCIAL! Hope all of this helps! :luck:
     
  8. Aynsl156

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    I know the NSF (or NIH, can't remember which off of the top of my head) hosts a program called REUs- Research Experience for Undergraduates- at a lot of big schools all around the country. They provide funding to the participating labs. You're assigned a lab and a project for 10 weeks, and I've had friends get published for their summer work. The deadline's long past, but maybe summer sophomore year?

    Or, you can do like I did and just email a bunch of profs at a major university near your house, and ask if you can volunteer in their lab over the summer. Keep doing this for a few summers, and they eventually pay you, and will write a pretty decent recc.
     
  9. time md

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    I am hoping to do research starting next year, preferrably the summer. I should have specified that, sorry. The advice has been very helpful. I would really like to participate in the REU thing that you guys have mentioned. I think I will do like Janny mentioned and try to do some small research during starting the spring semester of next year. If you guys have any helpful hints for this sort of thing please let me know. Like I said I am completely green when it comes to research, but I am sure that my professor will be able to guide me in the right direction.
     
  10. ryouland

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    Quite a few of the REU programs specify that they look for those who are unable to gain research experience at their own schools. You'd probably have a better shot than someone at a major university applying. That being said, most of them require that you're at least a soph and some only let juniors in.

    It's getting kinda late for this summer, I applied to programs for the summer in January and February. Is there some sort of honors research project you can do at your school?
     
  11. Flopotomist

    Flopotomist I love the Chicago USPS
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    One other thing you can always do is think about a project that you can do on your own without a lot of funding. Think things like patient satisfaction, patient surveys, physician attitudes about XYZ. Get a research guru / statistician help you draft your survey instrument, get a prof in the area you are interested in help you write it up, and voila! Research.
     

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