STEM

Stuff Happens So Back Up Your Stuff

Last semester, I spoke with a graduate student who was almost done writing his thesis and then--you guessed it--his computer crapped out on him! 

Unfortunately, he didn’t have a backup. His reasoning? "I’ve never backed up, not even as an undergrad and I never had a problem before.”

Above all, avoid the wishful thinking that because you’ve never had a virus, been a victim of ransomware attack, never driven your car over your computer, or had an untrained puppy pee on it that it could never happen to you.

Got Stocks? Remind Your Mentor

If you're taking a break from your research experience, or won't be returning when the next semester begins, there are some specific tasks you'll need to do before saying goodbye to your labmates.

One task that is easy to overlook, but is so important, is reminding your mentor about any living stocks you worked with during the semester.

Here We Are!

If you're in search of quick tips, awesome photos, or in-depth coverage of STEM research topics, we have a social media channel for you.

Finding a research position is hard. Getting the most out of the experience-- without sacrificing your GPA or social life-- can be challenging.

We're here to help.

We have two Instagram accounts, and of course we're on Twitter and facebook too.

—from the Researcher's bench

Should I stay, or should I go?

For most researchers, working in the lab over a holiday break is somewhat different from working in the lab during the rest of the year. For example, if an experiment has flexibly, it can be started or stopped when it's convenient for the researcher instead of planned around seminars, classes, and campus parking issues.

In addition, some researchers take a vacation, adopt unconventional work hours, or hide in their office to work on a manuscript and only visit the lab to search for inspiration, a snack, or a temporary distraction.

—from the Researcher's bench

The mysterious ways of mentors

Most mentors do a solid job informing a new undergrad of the basic requirements of a research position. Typically, they cover the expected time commitment, lab safety procedures, lab dress code, and guidelines for writing a pre-proposal or end-of-semester report. When it comes to working at the bench, most mentors remember to share technical tricks with a new researcher, and offer guidance on getting organized, programing equipment, and finding research supplies.

But sometimes, because we have been in science for a long time or because we are distracted by our own research goals, we forget what it was like to be a new undergrad adjusting to a professional lab environment.

Quitting Time?

Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, your research experience doesn't work out. Maybe you don't like the lab culture, the project, don't have enough time in the lab to gain the skills you need, or you're simply overextended and need to cut something.

If you won’t continue with undergraduate research next term, but your advisor believes you plan to, update them the next time you’re in lab. Yes, it will feel awkward but most advisors will be supportive of your decision.

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