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AlphaBeta<3

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I was thinking about trying to reach out to researchers to maybe get onboard with them. A few questions:

1. What should I say? How are you supposed to start that email? Like, I feel like being a random stranger asking to just jump onboard with them is kind of weird.

2. Would it be bad to reach out to numerous people that are in the same center?

3. Any other general advice?
 

mrpeduncle

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Briefly introduce yourself in the email. I mention the school I go to and my year in school. Read a few of the researcher's publications beforehand and mention what aspect of their research you're specifically interested in and why. Mention any previous research experience you have that might be an asset. Keep it brief and succinct. PIs tend to be extremely busy so you don't want to lose their attention with a very long email.

I've "interviewed" a few high school and college students for our lab. The successful applicants are people who can clearly articulate why they are interested in our lab specifically. My PI seems more willing to take on new volunteers if they show a genuine interest in our research. He is more skeptical of people who say "I just want some research experience." Show that you're curious and ready to learn. You do this by asking well informed questions that show you've engaged with the subject a little beforehand.

I don't think it's bad to email numerous people in the same center. A lot of times you won't get a response so you need to cast a wide net.
 
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typhoonegator

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I get a lot of these every late winter and early spring for summer lab internships for undergrads. Tell them where you're from, and what you want to be when you grow up. Then, tell them you read a paper or four of theirs, and are interested in the approach they are taking to the study of X. Focus on the approach. Don't ask to join a lab that does obesity research and just focus on obesity as the reason you want to join. There are hundreds and hundreds of obesity research labs, why this one? Are they studying feast/famine networks in nematodes? Talk about why that seems interesting to you. But don't be so specific and tell them that you want to do exactly what they did in their latest paper, because that makes you seem rigid and naive.

Something like this:

Dr. X,

My name is X, and I go to Y university. I'm currently a sophomore majoring in neuroscience, with a goal of attending medical school starting in 2019. One of my goals over the next two years is to deepen my laboratory experience in pursuit of an MD/PhD program. I'm interested in the neural networks governing appetite and satiety, and I was very intrigued by your recent paper in Nature Neuroscience in which you identified SUR1-mediated pathways for famine resistence in the nematode. I would very much like the opportunity to briefly discuss any opportunities in obesity-related invertebrate modeling that might be available for me to work on with you and your lab. My CV is attached. Thank you for taking the time to consider my request.

Sincerely,

AlphaBeta<3
 
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AlphaBeta<3

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I get a lot of these every late winter and early spring for summer lab internships for undergrads. Tell them where you're from, and what you want to be when you grow up. Then, tell them you read a paper or four of theirs, and are interested in the approach they are taking to the study of X. Focus on the approach. Don't ask to join a lab that does obesity research and just focus on obesity as the reason you want to join. There are hundreds and hundreds of obesity research labs, why this one? Are they studying feast/famine networks in nematodes? Talk about why that seems interesting to you. But don't be so specific and tell them that you want to do exactly what they did in their latest paper, because that makes you seem rigid and naive.

Something like this:

Dr. X,

My name is X, and I go to Y university. I'm currently a sophomore majoring in neuroscience, with a goal of attending medical school starting in 2019. One of my goals over the next two years is to deepen my laboratory experience in pursuit of an MD/PhD program. I'm interested in the neural networks governing appetite and satiety, and I was very intrigued by your recent paper in Nature Neuroscience in which you identified SUR1-mediated pathways for famine resistence in the nematode. I would very much like the opportunity to briefly discuss any opportunities in obesity-related invertebrate modeling that might be available for me to work on with you and your lab. My CV is attached. Thank you for taking the time to consider my request.

Sincerely,

AlphaBeta<3
thank you! That was very helpful and I appreciate the template you provided. But, the lack of research experience (zero) on my CV won't be a red flag?
 

AlphaBeta<3

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Briefly introduce yourself in the email. I mention the school I go to and my year in school. Read a few of the researcher's publications beforehand and mention what aspect of their research you're specifically interested in and why. Mention any previous research experience you have that might be an asset. Keep it brief and succinct. PIs tend to be extremely busy so you don't want to lose their attention with a very long email.

I've "interviewed" a few high school and college students for our lab. The successful applicants are people who can clearly articulate why they are interested in our lab specifically. My PI seems more willing to take on new volunteers if they show a genuine interest in our research. He is more skeptical of people who say "I just want some research experience." Show that you're curious and ready to learn. You do this by asking well informed questions that show you've engaged with the subject a little beforehand.

I don't think it's bad to email numerous people in the same center. A lot of times you won't get a response so you need to cast a wide net.
thank you! I'll search up on the ones that I found and reach out to them. I was nervous because they were all at the same place, but I'm glad to hear that it wouldn't make me seem less genuine by emailing all of them
 

aldol16

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You need to articulate 1) why you want to do research 2) what kind of research you want to do and 3) why you want to do that research in this lab. The last one is very important, as it tells the PI why you want to work in his or her lab.
 

Goro

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Go to the researcher's websites and see what they do. Pick those that seem interesting to you. Then contact them by saying something like "Dr Goro, I'm interested in your research. Do you have any room in the lab for a student?"

1. What should I say? How are you supposed to start that email? Like, I feel like being a random stranger asking to just jump onboard with them is kind of weird.

Not at all. It's expected.
2. Would it be bad to reach out to numerous people that are in the same center?

think not only about the subject, but about what you'd like to learn. For example, is electron microscopy interesting? How about FISH? (go look it up). PCR? NMR? Western blotting?

3. Any other general advice?[/QUOTE]
 

DingoPingo

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I was thinking about trying to reach out to researchers to maybe get onboard with them. A few questions:

1. What should I say? How are you supposed to start that email? Like, I feel like being a random stranger asking to just jump onboard with them is kind of weird.

2. Would it be bad to reach out to numerous people that are in the same center?

3. Any other general advice?

It's not weird to be a stranger, but it's useful if you're not a complete stranger.

One thing that might help is to see if people you know have any connections to scientists that you're interested in. Maybe your professors know some people. Then you can be introduced that way, like, "Hi I'm a student in this guy's class studying microbiology or whatever, he recommended me to ask you about possible research openings for a student etc." That way there is some semblance of connection.

I think Goro's approach is pretty cool. Just be straightforward and ask if they have openings.

Another way is to look for some list of openings, maybe your school has something like that, eg. research opportunities, or join the premed email list.
 

Nerdeka

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Don't send out mass emails to every single researcher's email you find, pick a few you are genuinely interested in. You will probably have better results doing this. :)
 

AlphaBeta<3

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Go to the researcher's websites and see what they do. Pick those that seem interesting to you. Then contact them by saying something like "Dr Goro, I'm interested in your research. Do you have any room in the lab for a student?"

1. What should I say? How are you supposed to start that email? Like, I feel like being a random stranger asking to just jump onboard with them is kind of weird.

Not at all. It's expected.
2. Would it be bad to reach out to numerous people that are in the same center?

think not only about the subject, but about what you'd like to learn. For example, is electron microscopy interesting? How about FISH? (go look it up). PCR? NMR? Western blotting?

3. Any other general advice?
[/QUOTE]
thank you :)
I emailed like 20 people so far, I'm trying to cast as wide a net as possible
 
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Mad Jack

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thank you :)
I emailed like 20 people so far, I'm trying to cast as wide a net as possible[/QUOTE]
Someone will bite. It might take a while though, so don't get all nervous if they don't get back to you right away (I tended to get antsy about the wait back in the day).
 
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AlphaBeta<3

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