Ask a Professor from another school

In summary, a student wants to work for a professor over the summer and is looking for advice on how to approach the situation.
  • #1
astrogal19
13
0
Hi everyone,

Has anyone ever e-mailed a professor from another school to try to do research for them over the summer?

I'm a Masters student in physics and i do research in Astronomy. i want to go to certain schools for a PhD program. Say I wanted to go to UCLA, i feel like if i could work for someone over the summer, and impress them, then maybe ill make more of an impact when i finally do apply.

Would it be too soon to e-mail a professor (whose work interests you and is similar to your own) now? Not even sure how i'd word things. ><

From Melissa
 
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  • #2
I periodically get emails like what you discuss. Uniformly, the student has given no thought as to who is going to pay them- if I may be blunt, I prefer to pay 'my' students instead of an external student (and not just because of payroll headaches).

Also, your post seems to imply you are hoping for some sort of 'internship' arrangement with the goal of future employment. Personally, and I may be at variance with the larger community here, I categorically oppose unpaid internships. To be sure, I have graduate students who choose (with mutual assent) to perform a lab rotation, and they are unpaid. However, they are also enrolled students and they earn college credit hours. I am unaware of anyone who is willing to 'try out' an un-enrolled student.

So, here's my suggestion- do your homework. I would take a *phone call* from a student that not only expresses interest in working with me but also offers ideas on how to get paid (a summer fellowship, for example- but there may not be many geared towards graduate students) much more seriously than a tossed-off email.
 
  • #3
If I were a professor at UCLA, I would already have plenty of students within the school itself wanting to work for me over the summer. Even in smaller schools, I get 3 to 4 requests to work over the summer, and I can only take in what funding is available to support them. So why would I want to consider a student from another school?

And it isn't just about funding availability. In my experience, undergraduate students require A LOT more hand-holding, and a lot more supervision, then a graduate student. So it will require a lot of my time for each one that I take on.

You are better off seeking REUs, SULI, or DOE internships where you can go to other facility and institutions where they welcome you.

Zz.
 

Related to Ask a Professor from another school

1. How can I ask a professor from another school for help with my research?

Many professors are willing to help with research, even if they are not from the same institution. The best way to ask for their assistance is to send them a polite and professional email explaining your research topic and why you think their expertise would be valuable. Be sure to include any specific questions you have and a timeline for when you need their input.

2. Is it appropriate to ask a professor from another school for a letter of recommendation?

It is generally acceptable to ask a professor from another school for a letter of recommendation, as long as you have built a professional relationship with them. This can include taking a class with them, working on a project together, or attending a conference where they were a speaker. Be sure to give them enough notice and provide them with any necessary information, such as a copy of your resume or a summary of your accomplishments.

3. Can I collaborate with a professor from another school on a research project?

Yes, it is possible to collaborate with a professor from another school on a research project. The first step is to identify a professor whose research interests align with yours. You can reach out to them via email or through a professional networking platform, such as LinkedIn. Be prepared to discuss your research idea and any potential funding sources for the project.

4. How can I find a professor from another school who specializes in a specific field?

There are a few ways to find a professor from another school who specializes in a specific field. You can search for experts in your field on academic databases, such as Google Scholar or ResearchGate. You can also attend conferences or seminars related to your field and network with professors there. Another option is to reach out to your own professors and ask for recommendations of experts in your desired field.

5. Is it appropriate to ask a professor from another school to be a mentor?

It is not uncommon for students to seek mentorship from professors at other schools. However, it is important to approach this request carefully and respectfully. Before asking, consider if the professor has the time and resources to serve as a mentor. If you do decide to ask, be sure to explain why you are seeking their mentorship and what you hope to gain from the relationship.

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