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Obtaining entry-level research positions?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by MUN2005, Feb 8, 2002.

  1. MUN2005

    MUN2005 Miner?

    Aug 19, 2001
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    How can I get a research position if my grades are not excellent? It seems that the only people at my school who get such research positions are those who have grants because their gpa is so high. My gpa is 3.1. Has anybody gotten a research position from doing anything else other than applying for a grant or for winning an award or something? I am very interested in getting some experience, any advice? Thanks.
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  3. Doctora Foxy

    Jan 28, 2002
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    Medical Student
    Well I don't know what year you're in, but usually freshman in my school start out with basic lab work, like working with fruit flies or even washing lab equipment. After a year of that they are able to move up since they have experience. The first year doing this is worth it because by the time you're a junior you have published papers.

    As for me, I haven't done any real lab research.

    Hope this helps! Best of luck to you
  4. DarksideAllstar

    DarksideAllstar you can pay me in bud

    Dec 17, 2001
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    Resident [Any Field]
    If you are interested in research check out Howard Hughes at <a href="http://www.hhmi.org" target="_blank">www.hhmi.org</a> and look for the summer research program for undergrads. In this program you get a stipend and can work at a number of different schools. They don't require that you have any previous research experience.
    I would also ask some prof's in your dept about working in their labs, usually everyone is looking for free help. Just make sure you look at what they are studying before you talk to them in order to :
    1) see if it interests you, and
    2) have an idea of what they are doing in the lab
    Also check and see how many papers they have published within the past couple of years. The more, the better. Any questions, email me.
  5. P60001

    P60001 Senior Member

    Nov 22, 2001
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    I know at my school it is variable. It seems to depend on the PI. If he/she has the funds and are willing you can get paid, or you can sign up for credits. I started in the summer on a Howard Hughes grant, but during the school year I get credits. It is also possible to get a NIH REU grant. Also, many schools have funds set aside that a student can apply for. As far as finding a lab, look for a field you are interested in and go talk to a PI. I realize this can seem intimidating, but most PI's I have contract with are willing to work with you. However, there is quite a bit of variability in what you may be allowed to do. Some PI's will expect you to earn a position by washing glassware or making reagents, but others may give you a pipet and a project for you to begin working on. I guess what I am trying to say is, go ask around and let people know you are interested.
    Good luck.
  6. Sonya

    Sonya Senior Member

    Aug 12, 2001
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    are you talking job, or just research experience.

    is this during your undergrad, or getting a job after, or summer job?

    If you're doing it for class credit, i'm sure many people will take you.

    To get a job: read up profs research. find what interests you, and e-mail (phone, visit, etc) the prof and tell him your background. If you're a junior/senior, find someone with research related to some classes you've taken, or done well in. you don't need to find a formal program like howard huges. Just contact the prof, and if he needs work, he'll take you. It'll be a big plus if you've taken an upper division course related to what they are doing.

    I've done bench research with one of the profs here for almost three years. I found it quite easy to get position.

    BUt that was for a couple reasons: I contacted them at the right time (right before fall semester started). I think that was the key as an undergrad. They aren't going to spend a lot of time finding a great candidate for an undergrad student - anyone does the job. thus, if you contact them when they need you or keep in touch with them if they say they may need in the future, that'll help

    This is WashU, it's a good school with funding for lot of people, and encouraging of their students and all. I know it would be harder for undergradst to find something at other schools.

    I have good background. I had a good GPA and such, so thay may have helped. I don't know how much it helps.

    In all looking for jobs, you need to approach the market the right way. How you go about looking is sometimes more important than what you got.

    That's my speech. You can e-mail me if you had questions.

  7. CoffeeCat

    CoffeeCat SDN Angel

    Jun 3, 2001
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    The number one thing is to TALK to a professor. Check out online what they research, maybe find a professor that you've taken a class with (and got a decent grade). Also, contact them early as another poster mentioned. And if you can afford to volunteer, try that first. One of my lab jobs they couldn't give me class credits (b/c I wasn't yet a junior) and they don't pay so I volunteered. You still get the same experience and if a job opens up you'll be the first in line.

    Also, if you're looking for a job. Definitely look for easy stuff like washing glassware, etc. If they interview you, ask about possible research projects later on. A girl in my lab started out a few months ago washing glassware and she's so caught up and did such a good job that she's moving on to other menial tasks and I'm sure she'll soon get into doing experiments.

    So, believe me you WILL get a research position if you want one. Even if it's not what you want to be doing, if you can suck it up for a few months, you'll have research experience under your belt which will be great for your next position. Just remember, be persistent (in a nice way)!
  8. megkudos

    megkudos Senior Member

    Dec 18, 2001
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    AT my school most people do research for creit and can do it at any point during their undergraduate career, the minimum GPA to do it is a 2.8 (and that's only the bio department's restriction). Some professors don't look at your transcripts, others do. I would just contact researchers (find out from your schools's bio office if there is a list of people's research interests). Just tell them you are interested in doing research and you were wondering if they could meet with you. Then take it from there. I wouuldn't settle for washing glassware or doing other meanial tasks--just find something that interests you or else you will be miserable!! As a side note, are you a biology major? Keep in mind that you can do research in others fields as well (e.g.-psychology, anthropology), if you have taken classes in that area. Well good luck.

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