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Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Dr.D-man, Dec 15, 2005.
What is a good way to tell a professor that you want to get involved in their research?
Do significant research in their field before asking them. Like spend a full saturday doing it. And then just let them know after class, or at office hours. Don't be upset if all your newfound knowledge isn't brought up, but if you have the chance, let it free! Good luck!
That's pretty much it. "I am interested in your research on X. Specifically, I am interested in Y with regard to Z. I would like to get involved in your lab. Could we meet to discuss this? My schedule is flexible. Thank you. Sincerely, Dr. D-man." This means you need to know about x, y, and z and what the professor does with them. Come to them with questions (hypothesis) to show you've been thinking about it and they will shower you with love (a position).
I just emailed up some professors whose research I thought was interesting and I ended up working in neuroscience labs researching mechanisms of vesicular release for over 4 years.
I just went in and introduced myself, and asked if I could help with her research. I knew some about what she was researching, which I researched beforehand, as I suggest you do. I would pick a professor who's research is interesting to you, and really drive that point in. I didn't get paid, but it was good experience non the less, and she was very cool with me wanting to help. Try to find out first whether positions exist to apply to first, though this can be difficult sometimes, and in that case I would just go wing it.
Talk to people before you do this! A lot of profs are really nice at first, but with time they are real dicks. Talk to other students and make sure they are good mentors, then research their stuff and talk with them.
Are you referring to researching what they have published (it's all listed), or just the general topic of their research interests?
What is that avitar a picture of?
This is great advice! If a professor has no graduate students and only a few postdocs and techs it is because they have poor interpersonal skills and are huge turds. You may learn about science and critical thinking, but then - because professor jackass thinks he's hot **** and has no other avenues to express this because everyone else hates him - he'll tell you how to talk to people and will try to fashion you into his little "mini me" and you'll realize he's a big ass. And then he'll be an ass to you and it'll be too late. You will have been there for a year and will have to be nice and put up with his **** to get that letter of rec otherwise you'll have nothing to show for your year of commitment so he's essentially got you by the balls and that's the bad place for people to forcibly grab you.
Hmm... is this coming from experience?
Yeah, I was miserable there towards the end. But I did get a great j. neuroscience article out of it and hopefully a good letter of rec in my file at my undergrad school (got it in my file before I quit). I actually learned a lot about science and stuff, too. And I made some great friends with the other techs in the lab, too, so it wasn't all bad. And the techs and one of the post docs would get drunk at lunch and come back and just mess around. But I wanted to beat the **** out of the PI when I quit - I'm not a violent guy at all but bet I could totally do it. I ended up just telling him to **** himself one friday and never went back. (I was the third person do that in 6 months.) He was just a condescending **** of a man. So, be careful and choose wisely!
I don't necessarily recommend spending an entire day researching someone's field. I had to contact a few professors before I found one that would take me in and this had to do more with scheduling and their needs than my knowledge of their field, so it would have been a considerable waste to do a whole lot of unneccesary research. Of course, if you are really really interested in the field then why not? I'm sure it varies from professor to professor, but I have found that a simple, "I am looking for some research experience and would like to get involved in your lab in any way possible" works. I would avoid the cliche "I am pre-med and am super, super interested in endo-hydro-scopic-array-function-microanalyis..." You may as well be honest and tell them you are intrested in finding out how a research lab works and would love to help out the best you can, unless of course you really are interested in endo-hydro-scopic-array-function-microanalyis
It totally depends on the specifics of your situation. For example, the size of the university in question, the size of the prof's lab, the number of undergrads and grad students already working for the prof, the nature of the prof's past research, the nature of the prof's surrent research..... But a good way to get started is to find out a little bit about the work that the person is doing (your school's own website may be helpful if the academic department has bios of the faculty), and then contact the prof and indicate your interest and ask their advice about how do to explore your options.
go to them, ask them about their research. most people will be more than happy to expound on the details of their research. see if you're interested, if so tell them. that's all it is.
also on the huge turd/dick argument, you'll meet up with people like that all your life. learning to deal with a huge turd/dick while getting an LOR and/or publication out of it is good experience.
Yeah you will deal with huge turds/dicks all your life, but in this instance it is avoidable. As a puny undergrad in a science lab, you don't want to spend three years working for one. Because the OP can (hypothetically) pick whomever he/she wants, the OP should consult others in order to avoid the huge turds/dicks (funny image by the way).