Science isn’t for everyone, but curiosity is likely the drive to get you started into thinking about doing research.
- I think networking is key to get yourself noticed.
- Your passion and dedication will have you liked.
- Your resume and credentials determine whether or not you will get paid.
For High School Students:
I commend you on your interest in science so early, but here are some things you can do.
- Talk to your science teacher and see if he/she know of anyone or any place you can apply to do a science project/report with
- Check out local/distant universities for high school students opportunities (Some programs are more rigorous than others, so research!)
- Determine what kind of experiments/laboratory you are interested in working in.
- Check work-study websites for list of jobs in laboratory OR Check for faculty members (best if they are your professor)
- Research on what the lab does: either read up on the faculty on their website, you will usually see their full name and a list of their publications
- Go to: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ and try to get their paper, using your university wifi/LAN (you usually get free access to articles) OR Google Scholar
- Read the abstract and methods to see what they study (reading the abstract) and what they do (methods)
- Get your resume and cover letter ready – cater it to the lab of choice (don’t be super generic, they will know you mass emailed it)
- If you got a hit on your work study page – send an email with your cover letter, resume, and write a professional (short, simple, and to the point) email to the professor/lab of interest
- Wait for a reply
- If you are bold – go directly to the professor’s office and talk to them. I know this sounds crazy, but I know a guy who did this. He’s a doctor and post-doc right now at Stanford. (So, don’t be discouraged!)
- Try looking at internships in companies (this is highly recommended for those who are interested in getting into research immediately after college)
- If it didn’t work out, repeat and try again! (or ask an upperclassman friend – that’s what I did)
For College Graduates:
This is a little bit more challenging since your GPA, experience, and who you know become a lot more important if you have graduated for a few years.
- If you graduated for a few years, try picking up a lab course at a JC and get to know your professor. Chat it up and see if they can help you out.
- If you just graduated, you still have the career center and perhaps do what is recommended for the “For Undergraduates” listed above
- If you have friends who are in grad school, ask them to mass email your information, resume, research interest to their peers. There are usually a mailing list for grad students/post-docs who might be interested in seeing if they can get a volunteer interested in doing research
- Emailing professors and seeing them directly may also help. For me, I knew someone who was a post-doc and he sent out my resume to the post-doc mailing list and that’s how I got my foot in the door.
- Try looking up companies who would like to hire newly grads, Genentech does it (http://www.gene.com/gene/careers/interns_coops.html) I’m sure other companies do too.
- A lot of big name companies like Amgen, Genentech, BioRad, etc. are pretty big in offering internships. The higher your credentials, the more likely you will get accepted. Of course, there is always an exception! Who you know and your luck all play a big role in this.
Opportunities come and go, often time surprises you. I hope this will help you on your way to satiate your thirst for research. I truly hope you the best. One thing you really got to know is that, science seldom goes the way you expect it to be. Just remember to keep and open mind and allow yourself to be surprised!