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Thread: College students (mostly in the US)

  1. #1
    instigator thez_yo's Avatar
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    College students (mostly in the US)

    A lot of you guys on here are either early in college, or just starting to think about college.. so here's some help--

    **the chance to travel and do research**
    I realize that I had a pretty awesome College experience, and I just want to use this post as a resource for College students to let them know that the world is your oyster if you just reach out a little bit. If you're in the sciences, there is a program for US students that pays you to travel to a different University (or research site), some even outside of the US, for a summer to do research. Here is the link, and the application process isn't that bad. Here's the link for looking for programs listed by subject area:
    http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/reu_search.cfm
    Most want post Sophomore or Junior year students, but you can always email and ask anyway because the worst outcome is that you still hear 'no', but the best is that you get a 'oh, yeah I love you now come join us!'. Here is the description for the REU website:

    --
    NSF funds a large number of research opportunities for undergraduate students through its REU Sites program. An REU Site consists of a group of ten or so undergraduates who work in the research programs of the host institution. Each student is associated with a specific research project, where he/she works closely with the faculty and other researchers. Students are granted stipends and, in many cases, assistance with housing and travel. Undergraduate students supported with NSF funds must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions. An REU Site may be at either a US or foreign location.

    By using the web page, Search for an REU Site, you may examine opportunities in the subject areas supported by various NSF units. Also, you may search by keywords to identify sites in particular research areas or with certain features, such as a particular location.

    Students must contact the individual sites for information and application materials. NSF does not have application materials and does not select student participants. A contact person and contact information is listed for each site.
    --

    Please go make friends with all your professors - don't be afraid, they're just human too. Also, if you're in physics I know that CERN takes in European summer students too

    **the chance to get scholarships and grants**
    Most students that are undergrads aren't doing research... so If you do go talk to your professors and get into a research group, there are some fine and dandy awards for that. You can probably find some that are based in your department or college, but also there's a national Barry M. Goldwater award that can give you up to $7500/year in college, which goes a long way. Here's a link from unc, but you can follow the links to the scholarship sites and see if there's a representative for it at your school:
    http://www.distinguishedscholarships...tid=41:juniors

    and here's the wikipedia article
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_M...er_Scholarship

    **traveling in general**
    Go work for a research group that has foreign colleagues.. Then you can go see if you can't go to their University and go poking around a week before/after you finish your research. Also, one that uses foreign equipment, for the chance to travel and use it. And just because there isn't a site at that REU page *doesn't* mean that you can't arrange a summer internship on your own at a different site from the University you attend. You might not get your flights/drive there covered, but you'll probably get paid some sort of small stipend.

    **help on school work**
    In addition to asking your professors, there are a TON of knowledgeable people on these fora that have completely different non-CP lives outside of Terraforums.. they make good resources. If you're afraid of contacting them, just send a bribe along with a question

  2. #2
    BigBella's Avatar
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    Where were you when I was chasing my tail in college?
    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

    -- Galileo "Biff" Galilei

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    thanks for the info/links!!!! after reading the details, i think that i actually met 2 people at a Salk institute tour last week who were a part of the biological sciences REU program.

    now i just need to sweet talk a few profs.
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    War. War never changes. Est's Avatar
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    All good resources; I've looked at the REU site before.

    Even though you only dedicated one line to it, I'd like to emphasize the importance of talking to professors. It's easy to say "I'm an undergrad, I have nothing to offer this professor!" or "my GPA isn't perfect, so this prof would never want me," or "I didn't ace this prof's class, so he probably thinks I'm a dummy." However, you need to understand that professors and grad students will jump at the opportunity to get help in the lab.

    A) If you volunteer in a lab you can learn a tremendous amount, get to know people, and figure out what you're interested. It can also help you get to the next step.

    B) If you qualify for financial aid, you can get work-study money, so you can make cash working for the lab. Since it's government subsidized, the lab only pays a fraction of the total, so they're happy. Even if you don't qualify, you should still see if you can get a pay job, even if only for the summer.

    This is a great way to test the waters and see if you're really interested in a particular field. A lot of universities (mine included) are putting more and more emphasis on research, and less on teaching. If you're at a research university and you're not participating, you're missing out big time!

    My own experience is a good example. I was afraid to ask a professor if they needed to help because I got a B in her class, my GPA was mediocre because I transferred (and lost all that lovely lower-division padding), and I didn't qualify for work-study money. But I asked her if she needed a volunteer for the summer -- she upped the ante and offered me a paid position. I continued to work for the lab for the next two semesters. In addition, I got funding and did my own research project in the very same lab. Now, having graduated, I'm employed there full time.

    There's no need to dedicate yourself to a single lab (it just worked out for me because I love the work and the people), but that's an example of the types of doors that can start to open if you just take the first step.

    Great thread, TheZ.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBella View Post
    Where were you when I was chasing my tail in college?
    seconded
    Grow to learn, learn to grow.

  6. #6
    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    "Please go make friends with all your professors - don't be afraid, they're just human too"

    hmmmm

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