I am currently a sophomore sincerely interested in becoming involved in medically oriented research, in hopes of one day publishing. Is this going to be more difficult because I am not a biology major (thus, no mentor = no connections) and because I don't have any formal laboratory research experience? How should I go about finding/applying to meaningful research positions? By meaningful I mean actually learning and contributing, rather than just washing test-tubes all day. Should I send out numerous letters of interest and resumes before the school year starts or should I apply in person once the school year begins? Do research positions pay and do they pay well? This is especially important to me because I am a federal work-study student and money is definitely an issue. Is there such a thing as a permanent research position? Would I actually be working personally with the PI and is a strong letter of recommendation from them possible? How do medical schools view research positions with the NIH? How difficult is it to attain a research position with the NIH? Do research positions exist for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or any other government agencies? Why do medical schools prefer people with research experience that have published? Does being "published" mean being the author/co-author or a paper - or is having your name mentioned in the "thanks to:" section count? How common is it for undergraduates to become published? How long does it typically take to become published? Is becoming published difficult and or time consuming - is it all worth it? Do all researchers publish? If not, how do I find researchers that are likely to? Is it considered unprofessional/greedy to ask a researcher "is it likely that I can eventually become published in this position?" Is it worth doing long-term research even if you do not become published? Are all publications equal in they eyes of medical school admission officers? Do medical school admission committees prefer to see laboratory (test-tube) research or is research in the field of public health considered better/equal/lesser? And finally, what is the best and worst part of being a research assistant? WOW I have a lot of questions - so everyone tell me everything about research. Thanks to everyone who replies! I LOVE THIS PLACE!