One hundred percent of the last eight undergraduates to contact us about doing research in our laboratory have contacted my male partner and not me. Only one of these students was female. She too contacted only Dave. What is going on? Isn’t it obvious we run a joint program?
Do these students not look at our web page? Do they not talk to anyone? If they did, they would know that I am the one that takes the leadership role in our group with undergraduates. They could easily contact both of us. But they do not. They only contact Dave.
That first email to a professor inquiring about research is really important. I’ll write about it later with a different heading. What you should know is that what you are asking is the free give of about fifteen thousand dollars in time and supplies per semester, not to mention any salary you might get, and not including faculty salary. You are asking for time from people who have very little time. You are asking for a lifetime of letters of recommendation. You are asking for an adviser, a supporter, a person who will intervene on your behalf, a person who will take a parent-like interest in your success. You are asking for a person that will actually see to it you learn the things you should be learning, how to write, how to think critically, statistics, careful experimental design, collaboration, planning, time use, responsibility, and much more.