It is a pleasure to be in Iowa today to share about graduate school access, inclusion, and applications. Here are some of the tips that were shared as part of the GEM GRAD Lab.
I would really like to bring home the point about developing relationships with faculty. Remember that faculty are people too. Spend some time and get to know them! Every student should have at least THREE professors within the department who would be enthusiastic about writing a strong letter of recommendation and supporting their careers. Please do not wait, and please do not be intimidated. Develop relationships with faculty now. Here are some ways to start.
- Sit in the front of the class. Stay awake, be engaged, and talk with the professor afterwards.
- Talk with professors during office hours. Go over the work that was discussed in class, and ask questions.
- Read the professors’ websites. Read a few of their papers.
- Find out about research that is being done, and volunteer to do some research with the professor.
- See if the professor is involved with a summer research program, and apply to their specific program (you may be eligible for a paid research internship!)
- Share your STEM interests. Talk with the faculty members about the interests that they had at your level. Ask them how they grew and learned more over time. Talk with them about their path and experiences.
- Ask faculty for constructive criticism. Ask them what you should do to improve. Ask them to tell you what you are doing well, and where they see strengths in your approaches.
- Keep in touch with them throughout the years. Continue to update them regarding your progress.
My students who do this receive full support from me, throughout their careers. Some former students are now tenured professors, and we still keep in touch. Good luck as you move out of your comfort zone and develop those important relationships!
Full tips for the graduate school process; this paper is shared in English with parts in Spanish across the U.S. and Latin America.
Tull, R. G., Nino, M. and Ramoutar, N. (2012). Preparing for Engineering and Other STEM Graduate/Post-Graduate Masters and Doctoral Programs. Proceedings of the Tenth LACCEI Latin American and Caribbean Conference (LACCEI 2012), Megaprojects: Building Infrastructure by fostering engineering collaboration, efficient and effective integration and innovative planning, July 23-27, 2012, Panama City, Panama. [Spanish Version of Section 4 here: Preparación para Programas de Maestría y Doctorado]
Here are other resources (also shared here: https://renettatull.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/follow-up-from-the-california-nsbe41-gem-gradlab-applying-to-graduate-school-letters-the-sexyhotdude___-com-reminder-about-emails/)
With U of Iowa Colleague, Dr. Phil Kutzko, Mathematician.