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How to Find a Faculty Mentor
We Can Help!
For assistance in finding a faculty mentor, contact the Haas Scholars Program Coordinator, Leah Carroll:
or stop by: Office of Undergraduate Research
301c Campbell Hall (M-F: 9-12 & 1-4)
Individual advising services are available to prospective applicants to the Haas Scholars Program and to all Berkeley undergraduates. For more information on the Haas Scholars Program, visit: http://research.berkeley.edu/haas_scholars/.
STEP #1: Identifying Potential Mentors
List faculty members with whom you have taken courses and whose work has inspired or influenced your intellectual interests.
Attend lectures on campus to familiarize yourself with other faculty members outside your courses. Check the Daily Cal and the Berkeleyan , visit the UC Calendar of Events website at http://www.berkeley.edu/calendar/, and check departmental postings for information on scheduled lectures and presentations.
Consider the interdisciplinary implications of your interests and identify all relevant departments--including professional schools--that may house potential mentors. Dont just be limited to your major department!
Check departmental websites for up-to-date information on faculty research interests and publications.
Visit departmental offices and request information from staff on faculty research interests and availability. The departmental graduate assistant can often be an especially good source of information.
Look at recent course listings both undergrad and grad -- in relevant departments to find out what faculty members are teaching. Many departments publish their own course listings.
Ask other faculty members which of their colleagues share your research interests.
Talk to fellow students, especially seniors involved in research and/or those active in the majors association -- to find out which faculty members specialize in areas relevant to your proposed research project. T.A.s or G.S.I.s or other graduate students are an especially good source of information about faculty research interests.
Do your homework before you go to office hours; inform yourself about the faculty members research interests, areas of specialization and/or publications. Be able to state why you are seeking out this particular persons advice.
Before speaking with a faculty member, know what you wish to get out of the meeting: feedback on a research or creative project idea? Help defining the purpose or scope of a project? Suggestions for further background reading? Advice about designing a research instrument or plan? Information about laboratory facilities or equipment? You are running this meeting, so its important to have an agenda, both to use time efficiently and to show that you are serious about your purpose.
Dont go in empty handed: have with you a paragraph summarizing your research project/interests, your transcript, your resume, and a list of specific questions/requests for guidance.
Before leaving the meeting, think about what kind of follow-up you would like to have with the faculty member. If you have established a good rapport and would like to develop an ongoing working relationship, ask if he/she would be willing to meet with you again to look at a draft of your research proposal, to answer additional questions about a topic you have discussed, or for some other specific purpose.
If there isnt a good match between your interests and those of the faculty member, ask him/her to suggest other colleagues you might approach. Even if this particular individual has been very helpful, it may be useful to ask for additional suggestions of people to speak with, since the more input you get in developing your proposal, the better.
Be confident and assertive about asking for help, but keep the length of your meeting within the established time limit (e.g. 15 minute or 10 minute slots). Its important to be considerate both of the faculty member, who faces many demands on his/her time, and your fellow students waiting outside the door.
Give your sponsor a copy of your research proposal, if appropriate, as well as any forms she/he will need to fill out to establish a formal advising relationship. For letters of recommendation that must be submitted under separate cover, include a stamped, addressed envelope directed to the appropriate party as a courtesy to the faculty member. Be sure to allow plenty of lead time before deadlines and make sure your sponsor knows when forms are due. Arrange an agreed upon date to check back with the faculty member to verify that forms have been submitted.
If a faculty member declines to serve as your sponsor, dont be discouraged! A negative response likely says more about the professors prior commitments than it does about the merits of your project. If youve done your homework and have a sound proposal, return to Step #1 and begin the process again. With persistence, you will eventually succeed in finding a sponsor. If youre planning ahead now to do interesting research later, you are by definition the kind of highly motivated student that makes the work of being a university professor worthwhile.
Last modified on by CS