Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Professor stalking

So in preparation for Evolution 2009, I've been highlighting all the different professors I'm potentially interested in for grad school. There are actually a handful from my list (yes, I have an excel file going for the grad school search, shush) who will be attending, so I'm pretty excited. At the very least I'm going to go to their talks and try to introduce myself afterwards. Some of my current top picks will be there, so I'm hoping I like them personality-wise. That is, their research seems awesome, but I hope they're friendly/nice/interesting/etc.

Any advice on how to approach random professors at conferences and show your interest about grad school? My current prof told me to be a "persistent stalker" since popular professors are usually swamped with people trying to talk to them. Does this require a net? Tranquilizers? Bribery with coffee? I'm just afraid I'm going to go into Utter Social Awkwardness Mode, which happens every once in a while. I don't want to come off as too interested, since I'm not dead set on any of them, but I don't want to seem too casual either. *fret fret fret*

12 comments:

  1. Either see if they are going to go somewhere for coffee, lunch, dinner, etc. anytime that day, and see if they would be interested in your company to learn more about their research. Also, tell them that you are interested in possibly going to grad school where they do research; therefore, you want to become more aware of what they do.

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  2. Perhaps in addition to this, you could provide them with a Curriculum Vitae and/or a Resume.

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  3. Hmmmm, I'm inclined to think a resume would be a bit much. I think I just want to meet them so when I email them later they at least have a vague idea of who I am.

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  4. You could always try going 2.0 and posting a blurb about what general sort of grad stuff you're looking for on here. I mean, you write an interesting blog, and, hell, freakin' PZ sends traffic your way from time to time; it's not ENTIRELY unbelievable that someone you're interested in might already know who you are from here.

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  5. Falyne, is it bad that your comment absolutely terrifies me? Hahaha...

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  6. I think it'd be better to come off as too interested rather than too casual. Especially if you're expecting them to remember you later.

    Side note, I find it very awesome you have a spreadsheet for grad school. Seeing as your room is usually not very organized!

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  7. I am oddly OCD about selective things. I make spread sheets for everything, organize my books by theme and height, and color code my colored pencils, yet throw my clothes everywhere and leave dishes out. My organizational skills make no sense =(

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  8. "I am oddly OCD about selective things. I make spread sheets for everything, organize my books by theme and height, and color code my colored pencils, yet throw my clothes everywhere and leave dishes out. My organizational skills make no sense =("

    That sounds just like me, I have a pile of clean clothes in my bed room right now that need to be put away. Dishes in my sink that need cleaning. Yet I have organized all my books by type of book and order I want to read them (of the ones I have yet to read). I also can't stand my food to mix or even be touching. I can't leave old papers laying around either, but the big pile of clothes and dishes are okay.

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  9. I'm going through the same thing right now in regards to finding a grad school, instead of an excel sheet I have a folder for each school. Yeah... so I understand. I get tongue tied around people I really respect which makes me look like a complete fool. I usually try to email professors first - if they write me back I have a much easier time calling them or meeting up with them at the school. Maybe you could try to email a few of them, just in case they get to busy to meet up with you. Good Luck!

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  10. I usually go to small, friendly conferences, and I don't know what Evolution is like, but I've never had a problem just walking up and talking to someone at a conference - that's what they're there for, for the most part (shmoozing).

    If you get invited out for dinner or drinks, make sure to figure out whether there's more than one person involved.

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  11. I too used Excel to get myself organized for grad school, however, I took it a step further and had it calculate where I should go.

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