How to get into research! In High School / College


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Research: How and where to start?

Dr. Sammy Davis, Ecologist, answers the question you really want to know… how do you get into research?

While this video is recorded in 2021, as we all know has been a crazy time, this advice is timeless and will be applicable whenever you are ready to dive in.

There are three main things to help you find your opportunity:

  1. Talk to your mentors. These are your teachers, professors, or TAs (if you’re in college). Reach out to the ones that teach classes you’re interested in and ask what they recommend. You don’t have to have a plan yet, just start the conversation and find out what is interesting to you. What sort of topics do they research? How did they get there? Just start gathering topics and formulating a plan.
  2. You’ve talked to your connections and they’ve given you some ideas. Now it’s time to go online and look for REUs, or Research Experience for Undergraduates. These are paid research opportunities for undergraduates to gain hands-on research experiences. We recommend pathwaystoscience.org to help you search by level and topics to find opportunities available for you!
  3. Don’t wait until you start a research role to build skills. Start working on auxiliary skills, research-related skills that you can work on to help you prepare now. Some of these are skills you build in classes that you take with you to research but work on building perseverance, problem-solving, critical thinking, analysis, leadership, teamwork. Building these now will just help make you that much more ready when the time comes to join a research team.

    There’s also an opportunity to build skills specific to your field. Think about wilderness training, first aid, scuba diving, computers, and mechanics… a lot of these can make you extra valuable!

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