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Physics Doing Research Post-Bacc?

  1. Jun 5, 2017 #1
    Hi all, I was hoping some of you had experience with this,

    I'm taking a gap year between undergrad and grad and was hoping to keep myself occupied during the Fall and Spring seasons, although I'm looking to keep doing research rather than working for starbucks. What options are there?

    I've heard of working as an RA, but is the best way to approach this just cold-emailing departments? Or are there other avenues for finding a position? Thanks for any and all replies!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 5, 2017 #2
    I worked as a research assistant for my research group post graduation until I found my first job, it was on the project I'd worked on during my undergrad research experience and most involved programming and data analysis. Colleagues of mine worked as research assistants and full time during gap years and were given the option to do part time work while in school (this was in a research oriented company). You might try cold calling departments but letting any former professors of your know that you're looking for part time work and seeing if they have money to spare for a post-bacc doing something like data analysis or instrumentation or something to that effect.
     
  4. Jun 5, 2017 #3
    It's kinda a tight market now for short term gigs unless your productivity in an existing group is already established. You're asking a research group to invest time, effort, and money in your training with an uncertain return since it seems like you are likely to only be there a short time. Your resume and cover letter need to communicate that you will be able to jump right in and be highly productive quickly - plus you'll need a bit of luck finding the right circumstance - for example a program that just lost someone unexpectedly and is in a labor squeeze.

    Depending on your real needs (experience and recommendation letters rather than cash), you may increase your odds soliciting an unpaid internship rather than a paid position. Still dicey for the principal investigator who takes you in, but you are more likely to find a PI with an unfunded side project he would put you on rather than a PI with the needed cash laying around.
     
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