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.

Who Owns "Your" Notebook?

Many students are surprised to learn that they don't actually own their research notebook. Depending on the institution's rules, your PI might not even own it--it could be considered property of your college or university.

Some PIs are fine with students making their own copies of a notebook at the end of their research experience, but others are not. Regardless, most will require you to leave the original copies in the lab for a variety of reasons.

—from the PI's desk

Ask relevant questions for a successful interview

Each semester, when you select your classes, you apply a methodical approach. You no doubt consider several factors such as: what will satisfy major requirements, help you prepare for the MCAT or GRE, add weight to your transcript, and, of course, what sounds the most interesting. Essentially, you don’t play “registration roulette” and find yourself in advanced string theory when you really need a cell biology course.

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.

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