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HHMI Research Scholars Opportunity

  1. Aug 15, 2012 #1
    Hello, everyone.

    I am an undergrad physics major - returned to school after many years, in case you had forgotten *_*

    It is almost Fall and time to start a new semester. I was all set to take a pretty full load of Chemistry, Computational Physics, Physics, Math, and Philosophy classes starting next week. Then, I received a letter from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute offering me an opportunity to get paid to work in research at my university - 10 hours a week during the semesters and full-time during the summer - for 2 years culminating in a published paper and/or conference presentation. I have been talking to faculty about different projects and different lab environments all over school, including electrochemistry, biophysics, neutron/x-ray diffraction, biology, accelerator technology, laser stuff...all sorts of exciting projects are available!

    My problem is that I had set up a schedule of taking lots of units each semester and taking classes in the summer in order to graduate in a timely manner. Taking this research opportunity will definitely delay that - or my worst fear - cause a serious ding to my current 4.0 GPA (either of which would make me quite sad, but probably not kill me).

    Anyway, now I am very conflicted. The projects are so exciting, and the opportunity is really unique since I am only in my first year of physics classes. I have a lot of years' working in labs in the semi-conductor industry, but a basic research lab would be a whole new exciting adventure that I really want to pursue.

    What would your advice be? Focus on my studies - or - grab the brass ring and go for the research job?? Also, since I am a Physics major should I just stick with physics research, or can I branch out without hurting my physics portfolio?

    I just cannot decide - I actually change my mind about 10 times a day and I have to make a decision by mid-September.

    Thanks again for your kind and thoughtful responses. I really do appreciate reading your thoughts.

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 15, 2012 #2
    Do the projects. Actual experience is invaluable, classes can be deferred.
  4. Aug 16, 2012 #3
    Yes, that is exactly what I keep telling myself...
  5. Aug 16, 2012 #4
    Take the offer. This is a no brainer. Go for it!
  6. Aug 16, 2012 #5
    Thank you, Carlgrace. I really respect your opinion, so I guess I am off and running! This should be exciting!!
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