being a perfect undergrad

<p>for biomedical phds</p>

<p>what would you consider the perfect undergrad working in a lab to be? what would this undergrad do in a typical day? (example: read papers, extracurriculars, hours spent in lab, etc)</p>

<p>I'm just trying to figure out how to improve my daily routine to learn better, be more effective, etc.</p>

<p>A perfect undergrad in a lab would apply for their own funding, develop their own project, publish, perform the required undergrad duties (whatever they may be in your lab) and present at lab meetings.</p>

<p>Wow...belevitt hit its the nail on the head. makes me want to go back to undergrad.</p>

<p>While I agree with belevitt that a perfect undergrad would do all those things, that also sounds remarkably like what a perfect grad student would do as well. And while a perfect undergrad should be very invested, I think it's reassuring to know that expectations are not quite so high for undergrads. No one on your interviews will be expecting you to have an NIH grant or anything. As an undergrad, my funding came froma little department-wide grant that I received, on the level of $1000 for research, $3200 stipend. If you are in the running for an NSF pre-doctoral fellowship, that of course would be a huge bonus. But even receiving a small grant and maybe being second author on a couple papers would put you ahead of most other applicants.</p>

<p>And of course as a member of any lab, you should be reading as many relevant papers as possible and contributing to lab meetings, etc.</p>

<p>I wasn't suggesting that any undergrad has it that all and no interviewer would expect all of those things. The question was- what is a perfect undergrad?</p>

<p>Oh I know I know. I just wanted to reassure the prospective applicant that he would be ok if he didn't have all that. Sorry I meant to make that clear.</p>

<p>"apply for their own funding" -- how does one do this? Are there grants for undergraduates available from the NIH or NSF or some place like that? (I'm referring to sources outside of one's own university.)</p>

<p>Yep, check out the NIH. T34 grants.
PAR-07-337:</a> MARC Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research, Institutional National Research Service Award (NRSA) Research Training Grant (T34)</p>

<p>There's also, I believe, some HHMI money for undergraduates to do research.</p>

<p>The perfect undergrad, in my opinion, would be one who's not afraid to ask for help when needed (and therefore doesn't destroy expensive equipment or break lab rules), but who is able to understand and synthesize advice when given, so that he/she doesn't need to be asking for help every five minutes and can apply advice previously given to a new situation.</p>

<p>I think it's reasonable to spend at least 10-12 hours in lab per week as an undergrad. A very dedicated undergrad might spend 20 hours.</p>

<p>I agree with belevitt about presenting at lab meeting. Undergrads aren't at lab meeting to be nice chair ornaments -- you should listen and try to understand and ask questions and contribute. Lab meetings in my lab are all about helping the presenter with his or her data and approach, and more brains working on a problem are always better.</p>

<p>belevitt, I have noticed that one. However, it states "The overall goal of the NRSA MARC U-STAR program is to increase the number of scientists from underrepresented groups engaged in biomedical/behavioral research. The program will do this by providing support for the research training of undergraduate science/math students from minority-serving institutions to prepare them to pursue Ph.D. degrees and future careers in biomedical and behavioral research." </p>

<p>I'm not from an underrepresented group, and I don't go to a "minority-serving" institution.</p>

<p>Also, HHMI doesn't appear to have anything of the sort.</p>

<p>Not directly related to OPs questions, but I would consider a "Perfect Undergrad" to have participated in a summer research program/internship as well (or two).</p>

<p>You sure are correct about T34's being restricted to minorities. This wasn't the case several years ago when I applied. My sister got a UROP grant. Check through your institution for more info. HHMI no longer does individual grants, they only do institutional grants.</p>

<p>A perfect undergrad would have 4.0 GPA with at least 20 A+'s and a first author paper in Nature/Cell/Science.</p>

<p>" A perfect undergrad would have 4.0 GPA with at least 20 A+'s and a first author paper in Nature/Cell/Science. "</p>

<p>Well I'm a failure :).</p>

<p>Not perfect ≠ failure.
But I guess you are not perfect.</p>

<p>To add to the perfect undergrad wishlist- a perfect undergrad would clean up the bench when they are done and remember to put antibodies back in the fridge. The undergrad in my lab right now is not perfect.</p>

<p>The perfect undergrad would have also taken classes just to see what they were like, without fear of getting a few Bs along the way... so 4.0 not required.</p>

<p>Not really.
The perfect undergrad would have tried to take the class without fear but still would have gotten the highest grade in the class, because he is perfect.</p>

<p>I don't know -- I think the perfect undergrad (who's going to become the perfect scientist, mind you) probably has a few B's on his record. Who cares about jumping through hoops in class when you can spend the night in the lab?</p>

<p>belevitt, we also have some not-so-perfect undergrads right now. One left the fluorescent dissecting scope on all night, and another left the mouse surgery room an unholy mess. The rest of us were not amused.</p>