Thank you to those who attended the meeting today. I just wanted to share the announcements I went through in the meeting, which pertain to not only the club, but also to some upcoming internships. Please see the attached image (below) for the preview and the full PowerPoint (posted in the Files tab) for more details.
For the lab event with Dr. Wagner, I will most likely be sending an interest form out at the beginning of next semester, so don't worry about that for now.
Also, Claire, our last president, sent this message to me for those who are interested:
I am last years president, Claire Scott. I hope everyone is doing splendidly, academically and in all other ways! I am currently working as a Postbac CRTA at the National Cancer Institute for the next year as I apply to graduate schools. If you are interested in doing research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), whether you are graduating this year or not, please read the following. Very carefully. There is a lot of information, I tried to get across all of the important bits. Thank you for your patience and good luck!
First, why should you apply?
Well, the NIH is a great place to do cutting edge research in a WIDE range of topics. There are clinical labs, basic research labs, and everything in between. The majority of labs are well funded and thus stable, there are hundreds of brilliant minds at work. There are all kinds of talks, events, and conferences, and it is a place where you will be able to work on your own project or contribute significantly to someone else's! It is also an esteemed institute and not a bad way to spend a gap year, if you see that in your future. There are a couple locations, with Bethesda being the main campus.
Okay, so, doing research at the NIH. There is a Summer Internship Program (SIP) and a Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA if you work at any of the institutes beside the National Cancer Institute(NCI), or CRTA if you work within the NCI, but it is the same application.) The IRTA program is made for people who have/ will soon graduate. It lasts for 1-2 years and you work full time in a laboratory. The SIP program....lasts for the summer.
The links to information on these two opportunities are listed below, and from these pages you can navigate to the application. They also have pages on advice for applying!
The application opens mid-November and is rolling. I would highly recommend submitting your application as soon as possible because not many PIs wait until the application deadline in March before selecting a fellow.
What you need to know about the way this application process works is that you complete an online application (cover letter, resume, transcripts, letters of recommendation, ect.) and then your application is in pretty much a big search engine along with all of the other applicants. Principal Investigators (PIs, aka senior investigators, aka the bosses) of laboratories are not going to look at every application. Some will search keywords that pertain to their lab (for example, embryogenesis, neuroscience, HIV) and browse through the applications that include those words. Some PIs will never look at the broad pool of applicants and only pay attention to people who reach out to them personally.
The best way to go about getting a position is to
1. Look through the PI lists and find 6-10 individual PI labs that you find interesting. Totally feel free to as many PIs as possible while keeping the quality of the emails high and personal (read below for email tips). Not all labs have funding for/ want a SIP or IRTA, so more
2. Include keywords of your interests in your application. If you find a lab/ labs you would really like to work in, use the keywords listed on their website in your application (there is a list under "areas of expertise" on most lab websites)!
Finding PIs and Labs
Do whatever works best for you. I personally made an excel sheet for the labs I was interested in. It included PIs names, emails, a short lab description, the branch it belonged to, when/if I had contacted them, what their response was, and when I planned to follow up.
*** some of the links below only pertain to one branch of the NIH, but you can find a page of information like these for each individual branch of the NIH***
*Pay attention to the location of the labs, if that matters to you.
List of all institutes of the NIH: https://www.nih.gov/institutes-nih/list-nih-institutes-centers-offices
Example- NHLB list of past SIP students - you can use this (and the pages like this for the other institutes) to find PIs that are likely to have funding for a student next year. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/grants-and-training/2019-summer-students-directory
Example- branch directory, to see the PIs within the lab and what the labs work on https://ccr.cancer.gov/research/lab-branch-program-directory
Aim to construct a template email so that you don't have to write out a brand new email from scratch every time. For example you can keep the parts about your background, and change why you are interested in the particular lab. Also be careful about changing the name of who you are emailing, if you are copying and pasting emails.
One possible way of doing it would be to have 3 *short* paragraphs, but find a way that works for you!!!!!!!
The first would change depending on the lab. You would state why you're emailing, then explain your interests and why you are specifically interested in their lab and maybe why you would be good for the lab.
The second paragraph would describe yourself, your background and your interests succinctly.
The third would include your contact information, your gratitude, and any plans for follow up if you have them. Also tell them they can access your application in the portal, and that your resume and cover letter have been attached to the email.
*attach your resume and cover letter to the email so that they have less work to do to get to know more about you.
-Make sure your answering machine on your voicemail is professional hahaha
-You can also email staff scientists within a lab you are interested in, as another way to show sincere interest.
Importantly, if you don't hear a response back after 2 weeks (or less, if you're feeling bold), send a follow up email! Your email probably got lost in the midst of all of their other emails, or they could use a reminder of how they did in fact want to talk to you.
That is where I will stop. If you have any questions you’d like to ask me, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope you found this helpful, and I hope some of you find these programs to be a good fit for you!
Have a great day!
That is all. Everyone have a great rest of their semester and good luck with exams!