Special arrangements to do summer research becoming awkward?

moxymed

Busy crying 'n dying 'n my studiez
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Mar 18, 2016
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Alright well this may be the dumbest thing I've posted here, but I'm an OMS-1 wanting to do summer research (and maybe a research block 3rd or 4th year). I assisted in some research in undergrad as well as worked in several labs after undergrad (not doing much research there). I have no publications and was just a tech monkey. I did get to partake in discussion and give my input about the study in undergrad.

Because reasons, I can't be present for the 90% attendance required to do the formal summer research program at my school.

In a meeting with the research head, he suggested I contact professors with projects I liked, explained the situation and asked if there was some way to still participate.

I had one bite on a project in my specialty I'm hoping for!

We arranged a meeting, but here are my Qs:

1. Is asking for a CV 24 hours before out meeting indicative he will be critical of me? Is that normal? I had to sell myself a little over email (yay COVID times).

2. If he's proposing I do data analysis and not collection, will I have anything to show for my research? I wouldn't be on the abstract then, would I? Students go on to present, but I'm guessing that's off the table.

3. Do I have any, uh ... leveraging ability here? I am doing this strictly to bump my residency app. Not to be another lab monkey.

Please help!
 

ThrowawayShmoaway

2+ Year Member
Jan 2, 2019
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1. Is asking for a CV 24 hours before out meeting indicative he will be critical of me? Is that normal? I had to sell myself a little over email (yay COVID times).

2. If he's proposing I do data analysis and not collection, will I have anything to show for my research? I wouldn't be on the abstract then, would I? Students go on to present, but I'm guessing that's off the table.

3. Do I have any, uh ... leveraging ability here? I am doing this strictly to bump my residency app. Not to be another lab monkey.
I don't think asking for a CV means he'll be critical--he probably just wants a quick look at your background/experiences/interests. It's totally normal to ask for one, and you should maybe consider preemptively attaching your CV in the future when reaching out to mentors/PIs-- it's what I (and I think other students) do, and it's not really considered presumptuous or annoying because they can always just not open the attachment if they don't care, but it's there if they are someone who likes looking at them first.

As for your second question, I think that's something you should broach with him if you feel comfortable. Ask him what his expectations are or what tasks/efforts he considers authorship-worthy. If he's a good mentor and/or has experience working with medical students, then he may be used to that question or may even bring it up himself, as the good ones usually understand that students want/need something to show for their work at the end. Often, which tasks earn a spot on abstracts and pubs comes down to PIs' preferences. Obviously effort needs to be put in, but some PIs have different opinions about when they'll include students. For example, I've been listed as an author before for only doing the stats/data analysis for a study and none of the data collection.

And in terms of having any "leverage", probably not, unless this PI usually has trouble finding committed students or you bring some specific skill to the table that he doesn't have access to. Like in my authorship example above, the reason I was listed after only doing data analysis was because I was able to run the stats on the weekend on super short notice, 24 hours before the manuscript submission deadline. I wouldn't describe that as "leverage" per se, but in that case I obviously was the only person available to my PI at that time who could offer that skill on a very short timeline. But I definitely didn't try to negotiate/leverage doing the stats in exchange for getting authorship, I did them because I like my PI and wanted to help-- the authorship was his decision. I don't think it's a good idea to try to "leverage" anything as a student. IMO, take what you can get.
 
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moxymed

Busy crying 'n dying 'n my studiez
5+ Year Member
Mar 18, 2016
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  1. Medical Student
I don't think asking for a CV means he'll be critical--he probably just wants a quick look at your background/experiences/interests. It's totally normal to ask for one, and you should maybe consider preemptively attaching your CV in the future when reaching out to mentors/PIs-- it's what I (and I think other students) do, and it's not really considered presumptuous or annoying because they can always just not open the attachment if they don't care, but it's there if they are someone who likes looking at them first.

As for your second question, I think that's something you should broach with him if you feel comfortable. Ask him what his expectations are or what tasks/efforts he considers authorship-worthy. If he's a good mentor and/or has experience working with medical students, then he may be used to that question or may even bring it up himself, as the good ones usually understand that students want/need something to show for their work at the end. Often, which tasks earn a spot on abstracts and pubs comes down to PIs' preferences. Obviously effort needs to be put in, but some PIs have different opinions about when they'll include students. For example, I've been listed as an author before for only doing the stats/data analysis for a study and none of the data collection.

And in terms of having any "leverage", probably not, unless this PI usually has trouble finding committed students or you bring some specific skill to the table that he doesn't have access to. Like in my authorship example above, the reason I was listed after only doing data analysis was because I was able to run the stats on the weekend on super short notice, 24 hours before the manuscript submission deadline. I wouldn't describe that as "leverage" per se, but in that case I obviously was the only person available to my PI at that time who could offer that skill on a very short timeline. But I definitely didn't try to negotiate/leverage doing the stats in exchange for getting authorship, I did them because I like my PI and wanted to help-- the authorship was his decision. I don't think it's a good idea to try to "leverage" anything as a student. IMO, take what you can get.

Hey, just wanted to jump back on to say thank you for your advice right before my meeting.

The meeting went "okay," but a few issues became apparent.

1. Professor thinks it's likely research won't proceed and the only position available would be reading other people's research and summarizing.
2. If research does proceed, chances are zero to nil to be put on the paper since he'd only let me do data analysis. I'd have to stay on long-term through the year and balance that with school and volunteering.
3. He brought up that I had to remediate a course last semester and that I won't be eligible for his project if that happens again. Ouch. I had a family member unexpectedly die and I was pretty sick with no support / other issues going on (resolved).

So yeah, the fact he asked for a CV 24 hours before the meeting and did not from another peer he met with was kind of telling. Just a little classless but guess that's his right -- his project.

Anyway, thank you again. I think I'm going to look into a good volunteer opportunity instead this summer. I want to do med-peds, so this wasn't a make or break (and I can do a research block later too).

Cheers!
 
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