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undergrad-admin's blog

14
Oct

Careers Week in STEMM on Twitter. October 16- 22, 2022

text is Career Week in STEMM. Oct. 14-22, 2022. on Twitter @YouInTheLab. Also present are emojis that represent science and research a plant, computer, microscope, labcoat, graph, test tube, petri dish, telescope, and smiling face wearing glasses

What: A week-long Twitter event to promote summer undergraduate research programs (SURPS), job openings for STEM graduates, and help demystify the grad school application process.

We started this event in 2019 and focused on grad school topics using #GradRecruitWeek.

This year we've expanded the topics to include SURPS for students who will be applying soon (many applications are due in the next few weeks and early next year), to connect principal investigators (PIs) who have job openings in their research groups with researchers, and to share other job opportunities.

When: October 16- 22, 2022

a person wearing purple latex gloves holding a pipette and the words ready, set, pipette

—from the Lab Manager's bench

I originally wrote this post on Quora to answer the question, "How do I get involved in undergraduate research while still in community college and working on my general education?" This version is slightly different from the one I posted on Quora.

You might feel that your options are limited but you probably have more than you think.

20
Aug

10 Things to Expect Your First Semester of Research

A gloved finger holding a microfuge tube and a pipette tip being placed in the tube

—from the Lab Manager'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.

A laptop computer with the screen open. A coffee cup to the left of the computer and a stack of scientific magazines to the right.

—from the PI's desk

No matter if your long-term career goals include research, medicine, or using your STEMM degree primarily for science communication, policy, or another direction, participating in an undergrad research experience is a unparalleled opportunity. This is in no small part due to the personal and professional development you gain from the exposure to in-depth, experiential learning--especially one that takes places over the course of a summer.

In addition to learning new research skills, communicating your results, and making a discovery to solve a problem or answer a question, you have the opportunity to earn a recommendation letter to support future applications for grad, medical, or professional school, and graduate fellowships.

However, if you are early in your undergrad career, you may not need that letter until a few years after your summer research experience. Sure, you could come back to your mentor after that time and request a recommendation, but that approach has some major disadvantages. Most importantly, the more time that passes between when you leave the lab and when you ask for a recommendation letter, the fewer the specific details about your strengths and successes your mentor is likely to remember—and it’s those specific details that can turn a strong letter into an epic one.

 A list of 10 things that are split between two columns. The first column lists 1. Fatigue. 2. Rewards. 3. Frustration. 4. Elation. 5. Hofstadter's Law. The 2nd column lists 6. New and deeper connections. 7. Incomprehension. 8. Personal growth. 9. Feeling like a real researcher. 10. Resenting the return of the semester.

— from the Lab Manager's bench

For some undergrads, this summer will be spent lounging on the beach reading and hanging out with friends. Days will be spent blissfully sleeping until a parent annoyingly insists that it’s time to get up and do something.

But alas that’s not for you.

16
Apr

If Only Choosing a Career Path Was This Easy

a tape roll in different colors with different suggestions industry, teacher, grad/med school, sci-comm, editor, analyst

—from the PI's desk

Not knowing exactly what you want to do with your life doesn't mean that you're doomed to fail in your career path.

If you're struggling to answer questions such as, "Should I choose medical school? Graduate School? Pursue an MD-PhD?" or "What I can use my undergrad degree to do if I don't want pursue another degree?" or "What if I'm already set on a path is it too late to change my mind?," know that you're not the only one.

Rest assured that for many who are undecided finding the right career path is a process that takes more effort and time than expected. And although we hope that you chose your major in part because you enjoy the subject matter and want to use that information in your career in some way, sometimes the broad scope of potential paths are overwhelming. For example, you might decide to use your undergrad STEMM degree as the foundation for additional degrees—such as an MD, MSC (master's of science degree), or PHD. Or you might decide on a career where your BS degree is all that is necessary to be successful.

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