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.
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.

a sandy beach

—from the Lab Manager'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.

12
Feb

Your Guide for Considering a Gap or Personal Year

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

Exploring the Process

Figuring out if you should take a year off between finishing your undergrad experience and enrolling in a graduate, medical, or professional program isn't always an easy path. So, if you're feeling stressed out about the uncertainly of it all, know that it's part of the process. Deciding what to do, wondering if taking a break will be worth it, if you should even consider it, (or feeling frustrated because a gap year wasn't part of your 10 -year plan) is stressful.

06
Jan

New Years Resolutions and Summer Research Applications

A photo of microscope lenses and a side on the microscope stage

—from the PI's desk
As an undergraduate student, the new year might include making self-improvement goals such as getting better organized, more sleep (and less Netflix), and attending office hours to make meaningful connections with professors.

But if you also include exploring your summer research options before the semester is in full swing, you won’t lose out on an incredible opportunity simply because you miss an application deadline.

A sticky note that says Grad School Applications: If you want to work with a specific PI, Ask them if they are accepting new students

Question: Is a specific PI is accepting new grad students this cycle?
Solution: Contact the PI directly.

If you want to work with a specific PI, then you need to know if they are accepting new grad students for the degree program you’re pursuing (MS or PhD). If this wasn't obvious to you don't worry because many undergrads on the path to grad school have asked for advice on this subject.

14
Oct

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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