Welcome to Undergrad in the Lab!

Undergraduate research can be incredibly rewarding, but where do you start and how do you succeed? Navigating this unfamiliar territory is not easy. Here you will find advice on how to find a research position, and how to get the most out of your experience.

Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.

— Albert Szent-Györgi (1893-1986) U. S. biochemist.

Sometimes Friends Just Don't Understand

Ever have one of those great moments in the lab that you try to explain to a friend who doesn't do research and their response is a blank look or an understated, "That's....great....?"

Moments such as getting the exact amount of chemical you need in a single scoop, pouring the exact number of pipette tips out you need to fill the last box, or having the exact number of microliters left in a tube to set up your reaction. Sometimes those little moments brighten our day, but non-lab friends simply don't get why they are exciting.

12
Nov

The 0-Credit Research Option

We received an inquiry from an undergrad about registering for a 0-credit research option.

For those of you in departments without this option, a 0-credit option often allows a student to list research experience on their transcript, but doesn't require the student to pay tuition or fees to do so. The 0-credit option doesn't factor into a student's GPA, and typically doesn't count towards major requirements or electives.

Is Senior Status Too Late to Find a Research Position?

The short answer: No, it's not too late.

Although it can be more challenging to find a lab position, and be able to finish a project so close to graduation, there are projects for students who have completed all major core requirements. Some labs even have projects that require senior status.

The main challenges you'll face will be to find a lab that accepts seniors or to persuade a mentor to choose you over someone who could be around longer.

01
Nov

Soooo... What Are You Doing Next Summer?

—from the PI's desk

Waiting might mean missing out on an incredible opportunity

I know—it seems way too soon to be thinking about what you'll be doing several months from now. But here’s the thing: If you even think that you might want to participate in a full-time summer research experience next summer, you need to consider your options sooner rather than later.

26
Oct

10 Things to Expect Your First Semester of Research

—from the Researcher's bench

Even if you have previous lab experience from a high school or college lab class, the first few weeks of a new research experience in a professional research lab will have its challenges, surprises, and likely be quite different from what you're expecting.

09
Oct

Choose Your Research Position Wisely

—from the PI's desk

Why passion for a research position will help you get an interview, and faking passion will hurt your chances

Each semester, I post an advertisement for the open undergrad research positions in my lab. The ad includes a description of the project, methods my lab uses, and overall objectives of my lab's research focus. Yet, each semester, several undergrads with interests completely unrelated to my research program apply for a position in my lab.

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