Working in a Mentor's Lab

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

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Working in a Mentor's Lab

Postby awesomenebula » Wed May 22, 2013 7:01 pm

I was reading the science buddies "How to find a Mentor" guide and something that I'm really confused about is if we are expected to help with the professor's research in addition to our own project. If someone could explain this to me, that would be great. :)

Thanks in advance!
awesomenebula
 
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Re: Working in a Mentor's Lab

Postby amyc » Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:44 am

Hi Awesomenebula - This is a good question, and it is great that you are doing some groundwork to begin the process of finding a mentor, if a mentor is appropriate for your project/research. I talked with our lead scientist, and she offers this reply:

The arrangement between a mentor and student is variable, so there is no one-size-fits all answer to your question. The key is for you (the student) to set the expectations when contacting the professor. Are you interested in working on some aspect of their existing research? Will you and the mentor work together to find a topic that meshes your interests and their lab goals? If so, state that. Or, if you already have a research plan, tell them about it and state what it is that you're hoping for from them. Do you need advice? Access to equipment? Reagents? You'll need to be realistic though. One of the constraining factors for a professor running a research lab is money. S/he may be thrilled to have you in the lab and able to offer access to equipment -- but depending on the cost of the reagents, there just may not be any wiggle room in her lab budget to accommodate picking up the tab for your reagents. In that case, the professor might be more willing to mentor you if you're working on a project that directly ties in with her research as the reagents will already be in the budget.

In all cases, having a conversation that clearly spells out everyone's expectations is key. But flexibility on your part makes it more likely that you'll find a mentor more quickly.


Hope that helps!
Amy
Science Buddies
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Re: Working in a Mentor's Lab

Postby awesomenebula » Sun Jun 16, 2013 3:48 pm

This answered my question. Thank you very much! :)
awesomenebula
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 4:52 pm
Occupation: Student: 10th grade
Project Question: Find Project ideas
Project Due Date: June 19th - July 20th
Project Status: I am just starting


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