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How to Get Involved

Before Contacting a Professor
  • Have an idea of the research area you are interested in.
  • List courses that you have taken that would be relevant to do research in your area of interest.
  • List the courses you plan to take in the next two semesters (this will help you determine how much time you can commit to the research work).
  • List your skills that could be useful to the research lab.
Use Your Network to Gather Information
  • Ask peers who already have worked in research labs for advice on how to get involved in research.
  • Talk to professors you have had courses with; they may have information about opportunities to join a research group.
Identify Professors Whose Research Aligns With Your Interests
  • Get to know the professors in your department and their areas of expertise.
  • Check if there are specific requirements to join the lab (i.e. courses taken, GPA).

How to Make Contact

  • Faculty are people too! While often busy, faculty care about the same things as you do, so it is perfectly normal for you to reach out to them.  Remember to always be professional and responsible in all of your contact.

  • Show what you know You have taken time to read some of their work, beyond just the basics.  Let them know that you are really interested and want to talk to them to learn more.  In other words, be specific about your interests and why you are contacting them in particular.

  • Looking for a lab? Try Lab Managers! Many principle investigators are incredibly busy and delegate parts of running the lab to others.  Say you are open to speaking with whoever is available.

  • Don't send mass emails Do you respond to bulk emails that are obviously not written to you, but to some unseen group?  Take the time to write an individual email.

  • Don't ask for too much right off the bat In your initial email, don't ask whether they will take you in their lab or pay you to work for them.  Instead, ask to meet so you can discuss possibilities.

Student researcher


Yvonne Kumon
Assistant to the Associate Dean
(630) 829-6084

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Cheryl Mascarenhas, Ph.D.
Associate Dean, Science & Health
(630) 829-6587

Tonia Rucker
Senior Assistant to the Dean
(630) 829-6187

Elizabeth Ritt, Ed.D., RN, NEA-BC, CNE
Dean, Science & Health
(630) 829-1933