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Weird issue with professor (undergrad research)

  1. Apr 16, 2009 #1
    So I talk to a professor about an undergraduate position in his lab (I'm in my second year) and he accepted me, got me a scholarship, and even offered me a fellowship for the summer if I am available during the summer. But it seems that he is always busy and did not arrange for me to meet with his graduate students (he asked me to see him). He isn't very responsive to emails and I'm not sure what to do. I haven't even started research/working yet! What should I do?

    It seems that he is very busy and he just accepted me to be nice...
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 16, 2009 #2
    Go see him in person? I do not think there are that many professors who give students summer positions and scholarships just to be nice. He must of liked you somehow, or needs the help really bad!
  4. Apr 16, 2009 #3
    Thanks for you reply.

    I met him in person before, but it seems that he has been very busy lately and hasn't responded to my emails... We were supposed to meet again, but he postponed or cancelled the meetings twice. He's also rarely in his office. He seems like a very busy person. Would it be rude to send him reminders more than a few times?
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2009
  5. Apr 16, 2009 #4
    Why not ask the graduate students what to do? It seems that if your professor isn't around much, the person you want to get your assignment from would be the senior graduate student(s).
  6. Apr 16, 2009 #5


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    Just be patient and keep trying. Some professors don't reply to email. Some people are just better to get on the phone. Also, some professors just don't keep 'regular' 9-5 hours. In general, I don't think it's rude to try to contact your own supervisor though.
  7. Apr 16, 2009 #6
    Thanks for the responses guys. I finally contacted him and he said he had an unexpected meeting. I guess I have to get used to his strange schedule and his style. I will probably ask the graduate students after I start working since they tend to respond via email faster.
  8. Apr 17, 2009 #7
    Definitely get in with the graduate students. I have been doing undergraduate research for over a year, and am currently working on a manuscript for my own research. The professor who is head of the lab has done absolutely nothing for me, I am lucky to get her to review my abstracts. Graduate students know what they are doing, and tend to be more than happy to take you under their wing. Good luck.
  9. Apr 19, 2009 #8


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    Once you are working in the lab, you'll be right there to ask questions in person when you see him available in his office...or can ask the grad students or post docs in the lab. You'll probably be assigned to someone else in the lab to work with as your "immediate" supervisor, such as a grad student.

    Sometimes things just come up, especially when it's time to prepare final exams for courses and submit final grades in addition to the usual research, etc. Usually, summer time is a good time to work with people in labs, because they are able to focus all their time on the research rather than dividing time with teaching and other administrative things that seem to be concentrated during the regular semesters.

    Good luck and hope it all works out well for you.
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