• Question: What advice do you give to students who want to become scientists?

    Asked by 653hyda42 to Avani, Jeff, Kenzi, Lindsay, Zoe on 18 May 2015.
    • Photo: Jeff Shi

      Jeff Shi answered on 18 May 2015:

      Never stop asking questions. Just because the answer isn’t obvious doesn’t mean it’s out there, and just because it isn’t out there doesn’t mean you can’t be the one to answer it.

    • Photo: Zoe GetmanPickering

      Zoe GetmanPickering answered on 18 May 2015:

      Find a mentor in college. If you can find one in Highschool if you can. There are a lot of factors that can lead to a strong career, and a mentor will help you with them.They will help you find and apply for grants, they will tell you which classes to take and which teachers are good. They will help you find paid or volunteer research experience and they will tell their science friends that you are awesome to help you get jobs. They will help you write applications and will write letters of recommendation.
      How do you find a mentor? It could be a teacher you like or a researcher whose lab you work in. Find out which professors at your college are in the field of science that interests you. Ask older students to figure out who is nice and helpful. Then take a class with them, go to office hours make meetings. Ask them questions and show enthusiasm. Don’t be afraid to ‘cold contact’ people. Just send out an email to lots of professors you have never met saying that you are interested in a career in science and that you want advice. Some will respond and help you out. Or you can try to get into their lab for a paid position or volunteer. I emailed random professors until i got a job in my first year.
      You might be wondering ‘Why would a busy professor take time to help me out?’. All of those professors had their own mentors who helped them. you cant pay your mentor back for all the help, so you pay it forwards and help the next generation of students.

      Advice 2-Experience is super important- You need some lab/field experience to get into grad school or get a good job. Often, but not always, you will need to volunteer before you will get paid. Volunteer in a lab for a few hours a week or do summer research programs. These will all help you get great jobs, get skills, make contacts and help you figure out what area of science you want to focus on. You can do that while still in highschool if you have the time. There are lots of summer programs that will give you a chance to do science, and some college professors will let high school students volunteer in their lab.
      Good Luck!

    • Photo: K. Lindsay Hunter

      K. Lindsay Hunter answered on 18 May 2015:

      First things, first: pay attention in school, no matter the subject, bc it ALL pays off! Math and science aren’t the only classes you’ll use–you need to be able to write well and clearly. Also, the history reports you do are good preparation for the primary literature reviews that are essential to forming your research question.

      If you’re finding a subject hard or even not challenging enough, try reaching out to scientists on Twitter–most of them are heavy into outreach and will be happy to point you to some help! You can find me @Paleo_Bonegirl on Twitter, and I’d be happy to get you started!