undergrad research

14
Sep

Mentoring Matters with Dr. Jennifer Robison

photo of Dr Robison and family displaying school spirit (Manchester University Spartans) at home

Dr. Jennifer Robison Assistant Professor of biology at Manchester University located in North Manchester, Indiana. Her research program focuses on understanding the molecular and physiological events that occur during abiotic stress in plants. Connect with her on Twitter @JenRobiSci .

Q1:If you had a mentor(s) as an undergrad who you credit for the career path you're on now, please share a little bit about who they were and what they did that made such an impact.

14
Sep

Mentoring Matters with Dr. Mary E. Konkle

Dr. Mary E. Konkle is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Ball State University (WHERE). Connect with her on Twitter at @mechem44996100 .and by email mekonkle@bsu.edu

Q1: If you had a mentor(s) as an undergrad who you credit for the career path you're on now, please share a little bit about who they were and what they did that made such an impact.

—from the Lab Manager's bench and the PI's desk

We know that mentoring is challenging, surprising, rewarding, & so much more. On Twitter, we often use #ProudMentor or #ProudPI to retweet when a mentor tags us in a tweets about the undergrad members of their research team.

If you want to share a few words on why you mentor, the impact it's made on you, or other thoughts were listening. And we’d like to share it with others, too.

Our goals for creating the Mentoring Matters series are straightforward.

1. We want to show undergrad researchers that mentors are "real people" and not wholly mysterious creatures.

Taking The Leap

When I was new to research, one of the most frustrating things my mentor would say was, "Choose whichever works."

I often tell my students that two scientists in a lab lead to three (or more) potential strategies on how to tackle a research question. In the beginning of your research experience, your mentor will tell you which approach to take.

At some point, she will expect you to weigh the options and choose a strategy to follow. You might not pick the right one the first time, but it’s important that you don’t let that possibility stop you from taking the leap.

—from the Lab Manager'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.

MicroInspiration: Do Undergrad Research

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