Many research labs have made desks available to first-year students at the beginning of the fall term. Each rotation will be at least three weeks in duration. The purpose of this program is to enable a more in depth interaction with senior graduate students and to provide and additional place to work and spend time on campus (in addition to the graduate student lounge). Students enrolled in 5.52 (“Tutorial in Chemical Biology”) in the Fall will receive safety training and participate in lab rotations as part of the class. Students not enrolled in 5.52 will not
be permitted to conduct research while participating in desk rotations. Participation in this program is entirely voluntary.
Some research groups do not participate in the rotation program, often because all of the desks in that lab are committed. The faculty and students of non-participating groups, however, are available and happy to meet with first-year students to discuss research and group life. The desk rotation schedule is finalized over the summer and assignments are provided during orientation. For more information about desk rotations, please contact Jennifer Weisman
Faculty research talks will be scheduled in the first weeks of September. First-year students are urged to attend as many of these presentations as possible, because they provide an excellent means of learning about the research going on in the department. Copies of the schedule of research presentations are included in the orientation packet and any updates to the schedule will be sent via email. In addition, a departmental poster session will follow the last session of talks. This event is intended to be community building and allow the first-year students to interact with group members and encourage further scientific discussion and exploration of current research in our Department.
In addition to attending faculty research talks, first-year students must also make appointments to meet individually with those faculty whose work is of interest to them, in order to learn more about specific research underway in their laboratories. Faculty will expect to hear from interested students. Many labs hold weekly research group meetings, and first-year students are encouraged to attend these meetings. All students are expected to explore research opportunities with at least three different faculty members by meeting individually with the professor, but meeting with five is strongly encouraged. These individual meetings are in addition to attending the introductory evening research talk for first-year students. Having desk space in a research group’s lab does not replace the requirement of having had serious interaction (speaking in depth with a faculty member about research or attending a faculty member’s research presentation) with at least three different faculty members prior to submitting their Research Supervisor Selection Form.
In addition to attending group meetings, meeting with faculty, and attending evening faculty talks, at any time during the term (even before a professor’s research talk), students are encouraged to visit labs to meet informally with graduate students and post-doctoral researchers. In the “General Information” section of the graduate guide
, there is a list of graduate students in many of the research groups who are available to serve as contacts to facilitate visits to their laboratories and to answer questions. The Faculty Research Talk schedule also includes several opportunities to meet with members of our student organizations and to ask questions about the research supervisor selection process.
The last step is for first-year students to decide which groups are their top choices for graduate research. Once a student has decided on their top choice of research group, the student should inform the faculty member that they are their top choice for research supervisor
. If a research supervisor is listed on the Research Supervisor Selection Form as one of the three choices, it is expected that the student has already met with that faculty member. In order to minimize pressure on students to make a decision prematurely, no faculty member is permitted to agree to supervise a student until finalized by the Graduate Officer, or to make any advance commitments about supervising the student. In addition, no student is permitted to conduct research during the fall term prior to the week of November 14, 2022. Students must submit the Research Supervisor Selection Form
to the Chemistry Education Office (6-205) by Monday, November 7, 2022.
During the week of October 31st students are strongly encouraged to have a discussion with their top choice(s) for research supervisor. The purpose of these meetings is to discuss the likelihood they will be able to supervise you. In particular, during this week, faculty will be able to inform individual students if it will be impossible for them to advise that student. Faculty are not permitted to agree to supervise a student before the Research Supervisor Selection Forms are turned in, but may give strong indications of their plans during the week of October 31st.
Students should complete online Research Group Selection form here with their final choices by 12:00pm on Monday, November 7, 2022. On the form, you must list the 3 – 5 research groups that you have explored and indicate which groups are your first, second, and third choices. If a research supervisor is listed on the Research Supervisor Selection Form as one of the three choices, it is expected that the student has already met with that faculty member at least once.
Please note that although it is not necessary for you to arrive at a first choice by November 7, 2022 many faculty commit all of the available openings in their lab that week. Therefore, you should be sure to check with the faculty members in whom you are potentially interested to determine whether or not you will need to make a decision by November 7, 2022 in order to be considered for that group. In order to remain in good academic standing, all chemistry graduate students must be officially have a research supervisor by the end of their second term.
Graduate students submitting forms on November 7, 2022 will be notified of their research supervisor assignment during the week of November 14, 2022. No student will receive an assignment to a research group prior to notification from the Department. Additionally, no student is permitted to conduct research during the fall term prior to the week of November 14, 2022.
Some students do not get their first choice of research supervisor. While a disappointment at first, we have found that the second or even third choice of a student almost invariably works out for the student in the long run. Students should go into the search process for a research supervisor with an open mind and with the knowledge that we have a great faculty and there are more than one faculty members who can serve as your mentor.
Occasionally, a student may wish to change their research supervisor. Each of these situations is different and students should consult with both Professor Willard and Jennifer Weisman.