19 February 2010

Subject! Verb! Object!

Here’s a quick pair of suggestions on how not to get your application taken out of the pile.

12 February 2010

Finding a research opportunity on your own campus

I’ve been finding a lot of students have no idea how to go about finding out about research opportunities. So, here’s one for you students.

Clear out some time. If a prof’s door is open, knock and ask if you can come in. If you’re too intimidated by dropping in, email and ask for an appointment. Once you get in the office, ask this magic question:

“Could you tell me a bit about your research?”

Be ready for a loooooong conversation. Because the truth is, not very many people ask about our research, so to have anyone showing any sort of interest is something we enjoy. Heck, very often even our own colleagues don’t ask what we’re working on most of the time.

That conversation can totally change the tone of your dialogue with your professor – in a good way – for a long time. Think about it. Which conversation do you think a professor would rather have?

“Can you tell me about your research?”

versus some variation of:

“Can you sign this form?”
“Can you calculate my best possible grade for your class?”
“Can I take a make-up exam?”

Which conversation do you think a prof would rather have? And which conversation do you think a prof has more often?

10 February 2010

Cancer Prevention Education: Student Research Experiences

The institution: The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas

The program: The “Cancer Prevention Education: Student Research Experiences” program is designed to encourage undergraduate students to pursue research careers by exposing them to mentored hands-on research experiences early in their academic career. Students will work in a research environment with extensive epidemiologic, laboratory and clinical facilities under the supervision of an established investigator on the faculty of M. D. Anderson, as well as attend seminars and lectures. Students are immersed in the type of cross-disciplinary research environment typical of cancer prevention and control research, with opportunities for studying epidemiology (including molecular and genetic epidemiology), behavioral science, clinical cancer prevention, health disparities and other prevention-related disciplines. Based on their interests, successful applicants will be paired with an appropriate faculty mentor for the duration of the research experience. Students will be expected to devote full-time effort to this research experience.

A total of eight students will be selected to participate in the 12-week program. While most students will participate during the summer, opportunities for these research experiences may be available at other times during the year.

Participants in the program receive a stipend of up to $2,166 per month for the three-month period.

Eligibility: Students must have either (a) completed their sophomore or junior year and be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program classified as a junior or senior by September 2010, or (b) completed their undergraduate degree (no earlier than December 2009) and be accepted to start a graduate program by September 2010. Students must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Applicants with visas are not eligible. Students who are members of groups historically underrepresented in the sciences (African-American, Hispanic, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander) as well as those who are the first in their family of origin to attend college are especially encouraged to apply. The Advisory Committee selects students based on the applicant’s record of scholastic achievement, aptitude for science and interest in cancer prevention.

Deadline: 3 March 2010

More information: http://www.cancerpreventiontraining.org

Post-baccalaureate Research and Education Program (PREP)

The institution: University of New Mexico

The program: We are seeking recent (or May 2010) graduates in biochemistry, biology, chemical and nuclear engineering, chemistry, computer Science, physics, psychology, and related fields. The program is an intensive one-year paid program. In addition to lab research, scholars will:

  • Prepare and take the GRE
  • Seek and apply to Biomedical graduate programs
  • Attend professional meetings
  • Enroll in a Research Ethics course
  • Present research
  • Attend weekly meetings
  • Attend seminars


  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • 3.0 GPA
  • Be a member of an under-represented group in biomedical research
  • Received Bachelor’s degree within the 36 months before start of program
  • Be committed to pursuing a Ph.D. in a biomedical research field
  • Demonstrated need to complete an additional year of training before applying to graduate school

Application deadline: No official deadline, but 12 March 2010 is encouraged.

More information: Patty Banuelos at prep@unm.edu, or visit http://biology.unm.edu/prep

03 February 2010

Pollination Biology REU

The institution: Oregon State University

The program:

  • 10 week program
  • $4,500 stipend
  • Students rotate between a dryland prairie in northeast Oregon, a forest ecosystem in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, and agricultural landscapes in western Oregon

Requirements: Outstanding students in biological science-related majors who are currently in their sophomore or junior year of undergraduate study are eligible. NSF requires that participants are U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. and its territories.

Application deadline: 15 March 2010

More information: http://cropandsoil.oregonstate.edu/REU