#1 Tip for college students who want to be scientists?
We asked professional scientists from our team of collaborators, “What is your number one tip for college students pursuing becoming a scientist?”
1) Study to learn and love science
For Dr. Burçin Mutlu-Pakdil, Astrophysicist, it’s very simple. Study to learn! Don’t study for grades. Never
Amelia Munson, Behavioral Ecologist, adds to this with the tip to go out and learn to LOVE the thing you want to study. There will be classes where you learn all the theory and be immersed in the science, but if you don’t understand the organism you want to work with… If you don’t love the organism you want to work with… If you can’t see it out in the world, you’re not going to be as good of a scientist. You want to marry those things together. It’s hard to learn the natural history and what it looks like in the world from a book.
2) Get research experience
Top of mind for Dr. Mike Gil, Marine Biologist, is research experience. The more diverse, the better. You may find you like stuff you didn’t expect to like, and that could even be your calling.
Dr. Jenan Kharbush, Oceanographer, and Dr. Alex Jentsch, Nuclear Physicist, second this motion!
It’s important to experience what research is actually like. And get into research early. Find someone who needs an undergraduate in their lab and just start asking right away, “Hey, can I help?”
3) There are a lot of different ways to be a scientist
An important thing to remember from Dr. Sammy Davis, Ecologist, is there are many different ways to do science, practice science, and have science as part of your life. So, learn about those ways! Learn about all the different people and practitioners of science.
Adrian Perez, Social Insect Biologist, agrees! One way to learn more, is to get involved in science. Volunteer in different labs. Apply for paid research positions. See where the experiences take you, and what peaks your interest.
4) Take lots of science classes
This is first and foremost for Dr. Jenan Kharbush. Taking lots of different classes, plus getting as much research experience as you can is key.
5) Thing “Big Picture”
Dr. Isaac Ligocki, Behavioral Ecologist, loves doing science, but also knows it’s important to keep in mind how your science fits in with science and society as a whole.
6) Get comfortable writing
Scientists do a lot of fun experiments and things in the field, but as Dr. Joe Pfaller, Sea Turtle Biologist, points out – Science is still all about writing. The more comfortable you get with writing, and the more enjoyment you can find in it, the more productive and happy your scientific career will be!
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