- Ms. Rachel Sorensen Temp advisor is Aileen Keating (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Information on research rotations for genetics and genomics can be found here).
HOW DO I FIND OUT ABOUT POTENTIAL LABS?
- Be thinking about which toxicology faculty or toxicology research areas you might like to work with/in BEFORE your arrive. It will be less stressful if you have done some reading ahead of time.
- You may set up all three rotations at once or as you go through the fall.
- Attend the required Friday, August 17 activities in the Molecular Biology Building. 8:30 a.m. in 1102 Molecular Biology followed by short presentations throughout the day. Contact person: Katie Blair email@example.com for full schedule.
- Email faculty in whose research you are interested--ask about opportunities in the lab; make an appointment to meet
- Talk with TOX Graduate Students about different labs
- Meet with your temporary advisor your first week to discuss your interests; let your advisor give you some recommendations.
- You will have the opportunity to hear about faculty research weekly through TOX 689.
- You are responsible for locating and setting up your own appointments and research rotations, but meet with your temp advisor or speak with Linda Wild if you need assistance.
WHAT WOULD A TYPICAL ROTATION LOOK LIKE?
- You would meet with faculty member to discuss what you will do in the lab and what your research interests are
- Review and discuss possible research projects during your rotation in the lab
- Decide which project you will work on
- You are expected to attend lab meetings and contribute
- Because of classes, spending time in the lab during the day can be difficult. To get the most of the lab experience, you may need to come in in the evenings or weekends as well.
- At end of the rotation, summarize your rotation project at lab meeting, discuss
- Meet with faculty member to discuss the rotation experience; what worked well and what did not. This is especially important for the first rotation. If there are concerns by the faculty about your involvement in the lab, finding out early will help you have a better experience in future rotations.
- Rotations are very much like a job interview. For you: Do you like the research? Do you like the work environment? For the faculty member and the lab: Are you a good fit for the lab? Do you follow through on what you set out to do?
HOW CAN I MAKE THE BEST USE OF A ROTATION?
- Primary goal is to identify a thesis laboratory with funding.
- Maybe the most important choice you will make in graduate school.
- Transition between tuition paying student to independent thinker.
- Talk to the faculty member as to expectation
- What times/days does she/he expect you in the lab?
- We understand that you need time to yourself, off campus, to relax, and enjoy the weather (fall is a great time in Iowa). But also make the best of the opportunity that rotations provide.
- Did we mention read the publications for that lab! Relate what you are reading to your laboratory experiments.
- Make note of how the faculty member interacts with their students and how often--some students prefer to talk to their major professor every day while others prefer to find them when needed.
- Enthusiasm counts! Work ethic counts!
- Your day will be filled with classes and preparing for classes so spending time in the lab can be difficult. To get the most out of the laboratory experience you may need to come in at night, odd hours and weekends. You will learn more. Work ethic counts in the eyes of the faculty member and lab mates.
- Learn more than just the basic techniques in the lab.
- Interact with other members of the lab and find out what they are doing
- Attend as many lab meetings as possible.
- Does the faculty member have the qualities you prefer as an advisor.
- What kind of lab environment do you think is the best fit?
- What techniques do you favor?
- Which research questions excite you?
- You will discover that the connections you make may last the length of your career.
- Learn about the equipment in the lab and what it can do. Even if you are not interested in the research or find a lab that is a better fit during rotations, you will be making connections to individuals with expertise, see equipment that might be useful for future experiments, and discover faculty you might like to have on your program of study committee.
- Ask good questions. What are good questions? Questions should show you are thinking about the project or experiment.
- Faculty would like students to be professional. What do faculty mean by this? If you agree to be somewhere at a specific time, then be there. If you indicate you will do something by a specific time, finish by that time.
- Recognize that this is similar to a job interview where you, the lab members, and the faculty member decide if you are a good fit for the lab.
- Read the lab publications. Read relevant background papers for the lab.
- How are students in the lab funded generally?
- Ask questions when you don't know what to do next.
- Will you give a presentation at the end of the lab?
- What are the research opportunities in the lab?
- Who is your main contact in the lab on a day to day basis?
- How can I obtain keys to the building and the laboratory?
- How should I keep the data I collect (lab notebook with dated entries?, Labeling for gels, lanes, key to samples)
- Should you attend lab meetings?
- Talk to the members of the Lab.
- Are people in the lab helpful?
- If you need help, is the major professor easily accessible?
- What do they like; what don't they like about the lab.
- What is the personality of the faculty member in relationship to students?
- Is the faculty member hands on or are you expected to think on your feet?
- What are the research opportunities in the lab?
Do you get an opportunity to design your own experiments.
- Love the Science!
- Find the major professor that is the right fit for you.
- Lab environment where you learn, feel supported, and enjoy coming to work.
- An important concept to consider when participating in rotations is that it is a two-way interview. You are trying to decide which lab will be your research home for the next five years, which area you will be trained in and that you will become an expert in. You are finding out which lab culture is the best fit for your personality and interests. The faculty member and his lab are interested in hard-working graduate students; your work ethic and ability to work well with others in the lab will dramatically influence that lab's success and productively which impacts funding. Your rotation in a lab does not happen in a vacuum; a faculty member may talk with other faculty with whom you rotated and members of his/her lab before making a decision. Please treat each rotation as an important part of the overall decision process, both for you and for the lab you wish to join.
Love the science!
HOW SOON SHOULD I HAVE ALL OF MY ROTATIONS CHOSEN?
- You may choose all the first week. (some students like the knowledge of having these set up, find it to be less stressful)
- You may choose the first right away and the others later.
- If you choose all the first week and then change your mind, please let the faculty member know so they have the opportunity to have other students rotate through the lab.
- You should have the 3rd rotation chosen BEFORE you leave for the holidays in December.
WHEN SHOULD I BEGIN MY FIRST ROTATION?
- You should begin your first rotation no later than the beginning of the second week of classes.
I BEGAN A ROTATION AND I KNOW THIS LAB IS NOT FOR ME.
- Since the goal is to find a permanent lab that is the right fit and that has funding, begin looking for another lab immediately to finish this rotation within. You should continue in the lab where you are at until you locate the new laboratory.
I SET UP 3 ROTATIONS BUT NOW I WANT TO CHANGE.
- Go ahead and set up the new rotation.
- When it is confirmed let the faculty member that you planned to do the rotation with know that you will NOT be rotating in the lab.
- This will give the faculty member a chance to talk with other potential rotation students.
WHAT IF THE ROTATION PROJECT I AM WORKING ON RUNS LONGER THAN EXPECTED?
- By 8 weeks in a lab you should have a good idea if the lab is one you are interested in.
- Do not stay past the end of rotation date.
- You may need to leave before completing the project.
YOU SHOULD MEET WITH THE MAJOR PROFESSOR AT THE END OF EACH ROTATION
- You may be asked to present at the end of the rotation during lab meetings
- Discuss with your major professor what you have learned.
- Discuss what questions addressed by the research group interested you most.
- Ask about possible projects should you decide to join the lab.
- Discuss your research progress during the rotation (your notebook should be completed and legible).
- Do not committ to a lab until you have completed rotations.
WHEN SHOULD I BEGIN MY SECOND ROTATION?
- You should start your second rotation the third week in October.
WHAT ABOUT THANKSGIVING WEEK?
- You should speak with the faculty member you are rotating with to discuss this week. There are no classes.
WHEN DOES MY SECOND ROTATION END?
- Your second rotation ends the last day of finals of the fall semester.
I REALLY LIKED MY SECOND ROTATION. CAN I CHOOSE NOW?
- No. Ask the faculty member by what date they would need to know if you would like to discuss joining their lab
- Let them know you are required to do three rotations.
- Do not commit to any laboratory until you have completed all three rotations.
- If the faculty member has other students rotating in their labs, they will not be able to make a decision until the last student has completed their rotation.
HOW LONG IS THE BREAK BETWEEN SEMESTERS?
- The break is three weeks. You do not have to be on campus during this time.
WHEN SHOULD I DECIDE ON MY THIRD ROTATION?
- You should decide on your third rotation by December 1.
WHEN SHOULD I BEGIN MY THIRD ROTATION?
- You should begin your third rotation no later than the beginning of the second week of spring classes
I REALLY LIKED MY SECOND ROTATION AND TOLD THE FACULTY MEMBER I WOULD BE BACK AFTER MY THIRD ROTATION, ONLY NOW I REALLY LIKE MY THIRD ROTATION AND WANT TO STAY.
- If you change your mind, let that faculty member know.
- We remind the faculty that they should not put pressure on the students to make decisions prior to the end of their last rotation, but sometimes it happens.
WHEN SHOULD I MAKE MY DECISION AS TO LABORATORY?
- Begin discussions the first week in March.
- You should know what laboratory you will join before spring break.
DEPARTMENT FINANCIAL EXPECTATIONS
- When deciding on the lab you plan to join you need to ask specifically how you will be supported during your graduate training. Is the funding based on 12 months or less? Will the funding be all TAs or all RAs or a mix. What amount per month will I be paid? Below is some helpful information that you can use when asking these questions. This information is for FY19 (July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019). Note: Effective July 1, 2017 (FY18), the University minimum stipend for 1/2 time students on assistantship (RA or TA) is $2000 per month.
- Department of Agronomy: FY18: All Ph.D. and M.S. students in AGRON who are awarded a RA assistantship for half-time (20 hours per week) are usually supported for 12 months per year (July 1 to June 30). The stipend for such an award is $2122 per month. This includes student health insurance (single coverage) and 100% tuition scholarship for Ph.D. and 50% tuition scholarship for M.S. students (charged at in-state rates).
- Department of Animal Science: FY18 1/2 x MS=$2000/mo, and 1/2 x PhD=$2,160/mo. This includes student health insurance (single coverage) and 100% tuition scholarship for Ph.D. and 50% tuition scholarship for M.S. students (charged at in-state rates). Assistantships are for usually for one fiscal year, from July 1 to June 30. If a student has a TA appointment, the GDCB TA appointment period is August 16-December 31 for fall semester and January 1-May 15 for the spring semester period. Generally TA�s are not available for summer term. Animal Science faculty have the option to use the IG rates instead of Animal Science.
- Department of Biophysics, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: FY18 The BBMB standard stipend rate for a PhD student is $2,167/mo and for a MS degree student is $2000/mo for a half-time (20 hours per week) RA or TA assistantship. The stipend includes student health insurance (single health coverage) and 100% tuition scholarship for the PhD and 50% tuition scholarship for MS degree student. Appointments are usually for one fiscal year, from July 1 to June 30. If a student has a TA appointment, the BBMB TA appointment period is from one week before classes start in the fall and spring semester to the last day of classes. TA�s are not available for summer term.
- Ecology Evolution and Organismal Biology: FY18: Grant stipend, 1/2 time (20 hours per week) (RA) amounts depend upon laboratories and funding agency. Length of time could vary from 12 months down to by semesters. TA assistantships are $2,100 per month for a half-time (20 hours per week). EEOB students (TA's) may receive 1 or 2 months summer support--this varies depending up departmental resources and number of students. EEOB TA appointment period is August 16-December 31 for fall semester and January 1-May 15 for the spring semester period. Generally TA opportunities are limited for summer terms.
- Genetics Development and Cell Biology: FY18: The GDCB standard stipend rate is $2,100 per month for a half-time (20 hours per week) RA or TA assistantship and includes student health insurance (single coverage) and 100% tuition scholarship for Ph.D. and 50% tuition scholarship for M.S. degree students. Assistantships are for usually for one fiscal year, from July 1 to June 30. If a student has a TA appointment, the GDCB TA appointment period is August 16-December 31 for fall semester and January 1-May 15 for the spring semester period. There is limited funding for summer TA's.
- Departmental of Plant Pathology and Microbiology: FY18: The minimum stipend for a first-year Plant Path student is $2000 per month, for a � time appointment (20 hours per week). RA includes student health insurance (single coverage), 100% tuition scholarship for Ph.D. and 50% for M.S. degree students. (The other 50% of tuition may be covered fully by the student�s advisor when funding is available.) Assistantships are renewable each fiscal year, from July 1 to June 30. Annual salary increase varies, depending on the percentage rate allowed by the College. Historically, PLPM has not had funding for TA positions to offer to our students, but that may potentially change in the very near future.
WHAT ARE THE QUESTIONS I SHOULD ASK UPON COMPLETION OF MY ROTATIONS TO THOSE FACULTY WHOSE LABS I MIGHT LIKE TO JOIN.
- Should I choose this lab, what do you believe my contribution will be to the lab?
- What is the average time to completion of a degree in your lab?
- How many publications on average do your students produce during their training?
- Will you as an advisor be fairly accessible?
- Will I have the opportunity and financial support to present at off-campus meetings? Regional, National, International. Frequency?
- Will I have the opportunity to help and be mentored in writing lab grant proposals?
- What would be my employment conditions: wage/stipend, hours expected in the lab, vacation & holiday?
- Is this stipend a Research Assistantship or a Teaching Assistantship?
- Should I expect to TA while I am in your lab? How many semesters?
- What other course requirements should I expect to take that are specific to your department or to this lab?
- Do you have other expectations for your students, for example a field season, or collection times?
WHAT FORMS DO I NEED TO FILL OUT WHEN I DECIDE ON MY PERMANENT LAB? (BECAUSE THERE IS A FORM FOR EVERYTHING)
- Home Department for Students Admitted to Interdepartmental Majors UNDER "Graduate Student Request Forms"