undergrad-admin's blog

05
Jun

5 Survival Tips for Summer Research

—from the Researcher’s bench

After publishing the blog post “10 Things to Expect” I received requests for some summer research “survival tips.” I’m happy to provide the same tips I give my new undergrads at the start of a summer experience.

28
Apr

Empty Bench Syndrome

— from the Researcher's bench

Here’s to all the undergrad research mentors who said goodbye to a great student this semester, and feel that little pang of sadness as they clear the bench for a new researcher who starts this summer.

Sometimes it's harder to say goodbye than it seems

Last week, an undergrad who spent three years in my lab finished her last experiment, and made the last update in her lab notebook. It was a bittersweet day.

23
Apr

How to Interview Your Interviewer

— from the PI’s desk

To make the most of your interview for an undergrad research position, you need to ask the right questions to determine if the project is right for you. That might sound easy (and obvious), but if you haven’t held a research position how do you know what questions will give you the most meaningful information?

01
Apr

The One Letter to Rule Them All

— from the PI’s desk

Why this letter matters so much

As an undergrad, one of the reasons you devoted so much time to a research experience was to earn an epic letter of recommendation--one that speaks to your strengths, resilience, character, self-reliance, cultural competencies, ability to solve problems, and contribute to a group effort.

This letter will be a comprehensive endorsement of your graduate, medical, or preprofessional school application complete with specific examples that influenced your PI's opinion. This one letter has the potential to outweigh all other letters from a professor whose class you attended, or from someone who oversaw a volunteer program you participated in for a semester.

25
Mar

Extra Responsibility = Praise for a Job Well Done

— from the Researcher's bench

One of the differences between instructional lab classes and research in a professional lab is how feedback is given.

In an instructional lab, you have quizzes, lab reports, an attendance policy, exams, and possibly out-of-class assignments—all attached to a point system outlined in the syllabus. For most instructional labs, you can calculate your grade and therefore know whether or not you’re excelling.

— from the PI’s desk

Whether you’re pre-med, pre-grad, pre-dental, pre-vet, or headed for the job market after graduation, you will need letters of recommendation. Be prepared to invest 1 hour during spring break to do a little prep work that will pay off in better letters.

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