April 5, 2017

What to ask during Second Look faculty meetings?

The Vanderbilt MSTP Second Look Weekend incorporates individual appointments with faculty members in your research interest area. The purpose of these meetings is to make sure that there are faculty members who you are interested in working with at Vanderbilt. Since we have a summer laboratory rotation that begins shortly after your arrival on campus, this is a great opportunity to meet with future laboratory rotation mentors in person and is very helpful in choosing that first rotation. Below are some helpful questions suggested by Dr. Danny Winder and Dr. Ambra Pozzi, Associate Directors of Graduate Education for the Vanderbilt MSTP, that you may want to use to help guide these conversations with faculty members.

  • What are the current major research questions your lab is pursuing?
  • What sorts of activities/research could you see me pursuing during a rotation?
  • Will you be available during the set rotation period (approximately June 21-July 14)?
  • What are you looking for from students as they rotate through your lab?
  • What is your general mentorship style?

In addition, once you’ve identified faculty members who you may be interested in working with, it might be a good idea to reach out to some of their current or former graduate students to gain a broader picture of their mentorship style. If there are faculty you weren’t able to meet with during Second Look, it might be a good idea to reach out to them and set up a phone conversation. Many faculty members will be very willing to speak with you over the phone. The Vanderbilt MSTP Leadership Team is happy to help with this process.