Dec 4, 2010
10
2
Status
Medical Student
So I'm not sure if anyone else has encountered similar problems, but I'm an MS1 and I'm starting to get incredibly frustrated about finding research opportunities. My biggest interest is in radiology, but practically every researcher I email is not interested in working with a student. A couple of weeks ago, I got excited when I finally found someone who was interested in working with me. I drove out to meet with him on a weekly basis and started working on some of his research data for him. Then he completely stopped responding to my emails and texts about further meetings. A few days have passed, so I'm assuming that I'm back to square one.

Why is it so hard to find someone who is willing to work with you? What tips would you guys have about finding a good mentor? I'm definitely starting to get discouraged here.
 

violet7

10+ Year Member
Aug 31, 2007
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Well, radiologists are known for being somewhat asocial...why else would you commit to a specialty with no live patients and hours in the darkness in front of computer ;)

On a serious note, I don't know what to tell you. I've never had this problem. I also picked up a research project during year one of med school, and I've never had any issues with my research mentor. But she is in a people friendly specialty, perhaps that's why :)

Keep contacting people. There ought to be someone out there willing to work with you. Is your med school affiliated with a teaching hospital? Then try locating a doc involved with students already, not a complete outsider.
 

Isoprop

Fascinating, tell me more
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Oct 15, 2007
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Are you looking at just radiology? Maybe you need to broaden your net. You can spin almost any research to apply to whatever specialty you end up choosing.
 

URHere

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Nov 20, 2007
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A few days have passed, so I'm assuming that I'm back to square one.
A few days of silence isn't unusual in the research world. Maybe he's at a conference or frantically scrambling to make a grant deadline?

Give it some time, and don't pester him. If he still hasn't responded a week from now, head to the lab or get in touch with someone else he works with to figure out what's going on. Don't make a big deal out of something that may be totally harmless.
 
OP
sylph
Dec 4, 2010
10
2
Status
Medical Student
A few days of silence isn't unusual in the research world. Maybe he's at a conference or frantically scrambling to make a grant deadline?

Give it some time, and don't pester him. If he still hasn't responded a week from now, head to the lab or get in touch with someone else he works with to figure out what's going on. Don't make a big deal out of something that may be totally harmless.
Yeah, it actually occurred to me that he might be out of town or something like that. It's still a little bit frustrating, though. I feel like it's more useful to have research in the field that I'm interested in--is that true? Or is pretty much any research useful?
 
May 10, 2010
144
1
Status
Chill out: RSNA was last week. Today is Sunday. I've also got projects involving radiologists and they've been checked out for 2.5 weeks.

And no offense, but you sound like a 13 year old girl. Why are you texting a professor with whom you have weekly meetings?

On a more helpful note, find out the schedule of your department's research meetings. Attend those, approach speakers and ask them about their research. Ask residents or the meeting moderator about ongoing projects and which attendings might need help with data entry.
 
OP
sylph
Dec 4, 2010
10
2
Status
Medical Student
Chill out: RSNA was last week. Today is Sunday. I've also got projects involving radiologists and they've been checked out for 2.5 weeks.

And no offense, but you sound like a 13 year old girl. Why are you texting a professor with whom you have weekly meetings?

On a more helpful note, find out the schedule of your department's research meetings. Attend those, approach speakers and ask them about their research. Ask residents or the meeting moderator about ongoing projects and which attendings might need help with data entry.
I text him because he asked me to, actually. He said that was the best way to get in touch, since he doesn't often check his email.

Thanks for your advice!
 
May 10, 2010
144
1
Status
Additionally, if your offers of unpaid labor are really being consistently rejected, you may want to clear an email of identifiers and post it here (or show it to a friend and ask for advice).

If you're not comfortable doing that, just try this:

Hi Dr. __,

My name is __ and I'm a _ year medical student with interest in radiology, clinical research, and ___. I located your bio and publications through the university page and noticed that you have ongoing research in areas of interest to me.

My schedule is such that I have __ hours per work to devote toward a project. I have experience with basic/clinical research for ___ years and ___ summers. I have some assistance with data entry, am proficient at pubmed searches, and believe I could be an asset on an ongoing project. If you've ideas for research that have yet to be solidified, I'm also happy to assist with new project proposals and applying for IRB approval.

I've attached a CV with names and phone numbers of previous mentors that are willing to serve as references. If you think I could assist you in anyway, please let me know and we can pick a time to meet or continue the conversation via email.

If you've no work appropriate for a medical student, might you suggest a colleague or administrator who I might contact to learn about more opportunities?
 

ruiner

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Jul 5, 2009
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I was about to commiserate with you but then the rads program director finally got back to me. Guess they're busy.
 
OP
sylph
Dec 4, 2010
10
2
Status
Medical Student
Thanks for the form email--I sent it to a bunch of PIs. Hopefully I'll get lucky and someone will be interested.