What is the standard procedure for getting a summer research position in Biology at StFX?
- decide on an area of research interest (or interests)
- find a research supervisor by talking to a professor (or professors) whose research interests overlap with yours (by mid January)
Note: this is a requirement – you must have a supervisor to apply for funding
- fill out and submit an NSERC USRA application to the Biology main office by late January (check with the Biology office for the yearly deadline)
Note: although this is an NSERC application, it is also an application for StFX’s internal UCR awards and Biology’s Jack McLachlan and Leo P Chiasson awards. There is one application process for all 3 types of awards.
OTHER IMPORTANT NOTES:
- you can hold a research position during any summer of your degree (particulary after your 2nd, 3rd OR even 4th year)
- this is not the only way to get or fund a summer research position – there are others
- awards are not limited to Honours students
- you need not plan to work for the entire summer to receive an award
What is Research? How do I find out more about it?
- listen in class – you will hear professors talk about it
- talk to professors about the research they mention
- go to research seminars (watch for ads posted in the Biology Dept)
- drop by the StFX undergraduate research day
- read the research posters posted outside professors’ labs
- visit professors’ websites, linked from the department web page
- read the WebGURU – a great web resource for undergraduate research
- go to an undergraduate research conference
Why do research in the first place?
- it can be great fun
- it teaches you critical thinking and communication skills that are invaluable in just about ANY career you choose
- variety: few jobs are as varied as research
- it will help you get into graduate school
- it can help you get into medical school or other professional programs
What can I do to improve my chances of getting into research?
- show enthusiasm – ask questions in class and after class, do extra reading and talk to your professors
- show initiative – make appointment(s) with professors to talk about yours and their research interests
- get good grades
- get advice on getting into grad school
- talk to professors about research
- volunteer in a professors lab, helping them or their other students to do research
Note: volunteering research experience counts just as much as paid research experience
- get a job as a research assistant to a professor or their honours or masters or PhD students
- complete a Directed Studies course with a faculty member
- complete an honours degree – you’ll do research as part of your degree
- join the co-op program – many co-op jobs involve research
- look outside the university: many jobs in non-profit organizations and in government (fisheries, environment, etc.) involve research