Mentor

Questions related to finding and working with a mentor, finding an idea, etc.

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Mentor

Postby Taraneh » Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:47 am

Hi,

I want to contact one of the professors in a local university to help me with my project which is about cancer prevention and cure. He is the chief researcher in the department of oncology and on his website it clearly says that cancer prevention and cure is one of his research areas but he has absolutely no publications regarding these matter. All his publications are about insulin-like factors.

You know how it is useful to mention in your email that you read the person's work and that you are impressed by them,but in my case it would be irrelevant if I mention i read his work on insulin.

I would appreciate if you tell me what you think I should do? Is it ok if I mention that I read his work anyway? Or is there something else that I can replace it in that part of my email?

Thank you very much,
Taraneh
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Re: Mentor

Postby barretttomlinson » Sun Jan 11, 2009 1:15 am

Hi,

I cannot tell you what would work best - I don’t know. My intuition suggests that the more effective approach is to tell him why you would like to meet him, a general idea of what you are trying to do, and how you think he can help you. I don’t think it will hurt to mention you have read his papers, if you really have and have understood them - I would take it as a high compliment if someone told me that.
It bothers me somewhat that you say his published work does not reflect what he states as his main interest on his website. The only way I could think that would be true would be if he recently changed his research focus and does not yet have publishable results(which is possible , but not likely). Have you really read the introduction and conclusions of his papers to be sure he has not shown the relevance of the work to his stated main focus?

Another possible angle: Are you hoping to work with him in college? Professors are always on the lookout for promising students who want to work with them! A professor’s reputation is largely built upon the work done by his students.

Those are my thoughts - which you should consider with considerable skepticism, and then follow your own instincts.

Good luck!

Barrett Tomlinson
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Re: Mentor

Postby Amber_MIT » Mon Jan 11, 2010 6:07 pm

In addition to barrett's advice, you can also check out our "how to find a mentor" page which has some tips.

http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... tors.shtml
Stuck? Check out our project guides!
Project Guide: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_guide_index.shtml
Advanced Project Guide: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/competitions_index.shtml

Amber Hess
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