I have wanted to be a mycologist since I was 11. Oddly specific, huh? I really love this field and I want to get into a good program ideally at a top school.
I know Cornell has a huge plant pathology department, and some faculty studying basidiomycetes. Plus I have an intellectual crush on Cornell and would love to go there. Duke is home of the Vilgalys lab, another wonderful place for mushroom science. I have also started to get involved with Harvard's Pfister lab very recently.
So my question is, for a highly specific field, what should I be aiming to have my master's application look like? I am going abroad to do field research and hoping to publish my findings next year. I hope to do well on the GRE, but have not thought of taking it at this point.
Since I already know some of the mycologists who have worked at Harvard and Duke, is forging a connection by interning in these labs a good strategy for an admissions angle? I would like to do so in any case, but I'm curious to what extent that will be looked at in admissions. For that matter, have any of you worked for a lab as an undergraduate and had that person become your supervisor later on?
Any mycologists who have other recommended programs or experience with the admissions process?