Interested in working in the Hood lab? Please contact Dr. Hood well in advance of the semester that you are hoping to start. We often have a waiting list for fall and spring.
The value of working in a lab as an undergraduate:
Working on a research project as an undergraduate can be a formative experience. It can help you decide if a research-based career is right for you, and it can help you gain field, lab, and animal husbandry skills that may be valuable to you in the future. Most importantly, establishing a strong working relationship with faculty members and graduate students can ensure that those individuals will be happy to write letters of recommendation for you. An exceptional letter of recommendation can help you stand out in a pool of job or graduate school applications.
Requirements and expectations:
Undergraduates should take research just as seriously as any lecture or lab course at Auburn. We like all undergrads to sign up for credit when they first start working in the lab. You will be assigned a grade at the end of the semester based on:
Your reliability - you show up to work on time, you complete the number of hours expected of you each week, you provide at least one week's notice if you have a conflict, and missed days are kept minimal.
The quality of the data that you generate.
The completion of written research expectations and reflection questions and your laboratory notebook.
The completion and presentation of a group research project.
To obtain BIOL4980 credit students are expected to work approximately 5 hours per week for 2 credits, 7 hours per week for 3 credits, and 9 hours per week for 4 credits. There will be several ongoing research projects in the lab at any given time. You will be assisting with one of these projects. New students typically help with day-to-day data collection and care of our animals; most students work with our mice. If you are considering working in the lab and are uncomfortable with mice, our lab will not be a good fit for you. Caring for our animals is among the most critical jobs in the lab. It is critically important that this work is done carefully and thoroughly. Trusted students who do an exceptional job with animal care gain opportunities to work in the lab. Nearly all of the samples that we collect are irreplaceable and must be treated as such. Students would work in the lab will work closely with a grad student or technician and are expected to take the care required to ensure that the data they are generating is accurate and precise.
If you are interested in working in the lab, please email it to Dr. Hood (firstname.lastname@example.org) and an email indicating why you are interested in working with our lab group. Although gaining research experience can be extremely beneficial to your career development, it cannot replace poor or even mediocre performance in the classroom. When working in the Hood laboratory, you will be expected to maintain a solid academic record. Students with a GPA of less than 3.0 will not be allowed to work in the Hood lab while taking classes. If you are having trouble with your courses at any point during the semester, please discuss ways to scale back your research responsibilities with Dr. Hood.
Conducting independent projects:
A great way to get even more from your research experience at Auburn is to conduct your own research project or, more commonly, be responsible for running a set of assays/analyses associated with a current study in the lab. Some of these projects will produce publishable work. Students who are considering an independent project should work in the lab for a considerable period first (at least a year) to gain some necessary skills, understand the process of science, and become familiar with our laboratory's capabilities. Auburn currently has a competitive undergraduate research funding program through the Office of the Vice President for Research. This award both provides funds for research and a stipend to the student. Applications are typically due in February. If you are potentially interested in applying for one of these awards, discuss options with Dr. Hood at least 4 months in advance.
Getting a strong letter:
Science magazine published an article for undergraduates working in labs. This paper provides excellent pointers on what you can do to ensure that Dr. Hood will write you a strong letter. Getting a Great Recommendation Letter, Science Jun 27, 2016. When requesting a letter, please email Dr. Hood a short review of what you have worked on in the lab. Please also include a brief description of why you are well suited for the position that you are applying for. Please Dr. Hood your request at least one month before your deadline.