Hey guys! I've put out notices to the ATL Homeschooling Association the ad below - namely - that I am looking for a homeschooler 10th - 12th grade to mentor in scientific research / biochemistry this summer! Details are below. If you are a homeschooler, no matter if you're part of a group or not, and you're interested in science - you qualify! Contact me. I'd love to hear from you! FYI, since this is a pilot program, the details are being worked out on a regular basis and I will be continually tweaking things. Requirements are also somewhat fluid at this time. Thank you in advance for your patience!
Homeschooler Summer Program 2015 Intro Letter
This internship would be a summer program (May / June 1st - Aug 31st) in which I could take on a student interested in pursuing science as a career, and would like to get some lab / biochemistry experience. Start and end date are somewhat flexible according to student needs. I'm very interested in providing science mentorship opportunities to homeschoolers, as I was one myself from preschool to 12th grade and was not able to participate in one. I originally got the idea from The Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science and Technology, which requires all their junior and sophomore high schoolers to participate in such internships. I would like to open up the same to homeschoolers.
This program is about me helping you to reach your goals in any way I possibly can. Giving people what I always wanted as a high schooler is a dream come true for me. I've somehow, by the Lord's grace, sneaked into science. Now, I want to unlock the door and share it with any and ALL I can find! Especially homeschoolers, like I was.
About: Application Deadlines
Contact email: jpetree331[at]gmail.com
Program start date: May 1st (depending on student schedules)
Program end date: August 31st
When offered: if all goes well, taking applications every year for the summer, between Jan - March 31st
Decision deadline: you will find out whether I can take you or put you in another lab no later than April 1st
Pre-requisites: Absolutely none required, except your passion in science
Items to include in application email: Please give me a rough idea of the hours you will be available to work, as well as any time you will need off during the summer - this is the only critical info I require on which I may base some decisions. In addition, feel free to give me a little background about you, experiences, classes, what kind of science you are interested in, and favorite parts of it, or any goals you may have, so that I can get to know you better. These details do not at all influence acceptance in this program. I don't have to be impressed! Promise. Don't be afraid to apply! If you would like to send me a resume, you certainly may but it is not required.
*Student must be available during the hours that I work, which are 7 am - 6 pm M-F.
Most undergraduate summer research positions are full-time jobs, essentially "science boot camps" for the summer, where you can immerse yourself in science and work at least 9 am - 5 pm. This idea is what I prefer to offer and will give preference to the student who can spend this time with me. Doing so allows me to pour into the student all my energy and they will gain the maximum benefit. Otherwise, my time is splintered and not as helpful. I realize that not everyone can meet these requirements. If not, you really need at least a back-to-back of two days of 8 hours each to get serious things done. Doing research in 3 hour blocks of time scattered throughout the week with no consecutive days is really not possible. The other days one comes in can be less. Thus, if working 15-hrs, it needs to be in consecutive days. These requirements will allow me to give the richest possible experience to the mentored student. As I do not yet know how available most people are, these requirements may change as needed, depending on the applicants, so feel free to apply even if you don't have these hours. Other labs may also not necessitate two back-to-back days for research. This is something I will be investigating.
Project area: biochemistry
Possible techniques to introduce / learn: polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, determining DNA / RNA concentration, protein expression / isolation / purification, enzymatic reactions, imaging fluorescent DNA / RNA, RNA transcription, PCR
Project details: Contact me by email or in person for more info!
Final thoughts: In this mentorship program, I intend to guide students through performing some basic experiments, get an introduction to foundational lab practices such as sterile technique, help them learn to do one or two on their own, and give them a feel what being a grad student in science is like. They may even take a role as an assistant in my work, or perform a small side-project of their own. Depending on where I am, we may focus on only one or two techniques in depth, rather than doing a broad survey. Student interest will guide things learned, as well as work hours. I am also open and flexible to modify requirements as needed / desired.
My professor: Khalid Salaita
About our lab: For more information about our lab and its work, see our lab website: http://chemistry.emory.edu/faculty/salaita/Home.html
*Note: Our lab deals mostly with surface chemistry and measuring the force that cells pull on their target molecules; however, my work is quite different from the bulk of what we do.
About me: For more info about me, my history in science / grad school, see my science info page and science blog.
What If I Don't Get Accepted? Benefits to Applying and FAQ
1. I would still like to be a science mentor and contact for you here at Emory. If interested, I will put you on my contact list, and keep up with you as you prepare for and attend college, periodically sending you a note, and seeing how I can be helpful or answer questions. This way, you don't have to worry that you're bothering me. This was always a tremendous fear of mine. So instead, I'll bother you! With permission. If you'd like to be on my contact list, regardless of the program, email me as well and I will add you to it!
2. I have an open door policy! Anyone can come by my office at any time, ask questions, have additional lab tours, etc. Look around, find someone you'd like to talk to in the Emory chem dept and I'll set it up! I know just about everyone or someone who does. I'd love to have students come by to talk about science, their goals and whatever they like. We can go hang out and have coffee between experiments and I'll tell you whatever I can about what you're interested in. If you want, you can observe / hear about whatever experiment I'm doing that day (shadow me for a day) and I'll give you a project update about how things are going.
3. There's a chance - I can't promise anything - but there's a chance I may be able to place additional applicants with my friends in other labs. So even if I can't take you on, I will *try* to find someone who can.
Conclusion: Come all ye homeschoolers who may! I want to help you as much as possible and introduce you to more of scientific research and everything we do in the chem dept here at Emory! If all goes well, I will do this year round. Scientific research is my supreme PASSION, and I'd love nothing more than to share it with you, especially those equally passionate.
Don't be discouraged! Be persistent when looking for a research position! Getting one in highschool is very hard. Professors target sophomores and juniors in college. However, that doesn't mean it's impossible. You'll never get what you don't attempt. If you're persistent, getting a research position at some point (especially in college) is not an IF, it's a WHEN. For my tips on finding a research position and what to do when you get one, see here. Written for juniors / seniors in college, it applies best to freshman / sophomores or sophomores / juniors in college, though it can apply to anyone seeking a research position.
Do you offer anything for younger students? At this time, I would like to focus on students in the 10th - 12th age group, who are preparing for college. However, if you have a younger student who is interested in science and would like a tour, email me! I can't offer an internship, but I will try to answer questions. I am still working on relating what we do to younger audiences, and haven't built up my confidence in this area, BUT I could use the practice! So, let me know. :)
*Due to a technical / user error, some of the titles above were swapped afternoon of Jan 18th. I apologize for the confusion. It should now be fixed.
Update on Applications As of Jan 20th
You guys are awesome! I know I said some of the same up above, but it cannot be emphasized enough: When I started out in college as a homeschool student, I wondered how I'd do against everyone else, but it turned out well! The key to science is persistence. Never give up, never surrender! That's what we learn in research too. We fail so many more times than we succeed, because there's only one right solution but thousands of ways to fail. Don't let that discourage you! Not only can you get a research position in college, with effort, it is highly likely. As above, for more tips about getting research positions, see here. They apply best to freshman / sophomores or sophomores / juniors in college, though I wrote them for juniors / seniors. The hardest times to find positions are always going to be highschool and college freshman.