choosing graduate mentor

Donald Wigston wigston at
Mon Feb 13 09:12:03 EST 1995

In article <3hmk1k$pqs at>, tiamariaaa at
(Tiamariaaa) wrote:

> I am somewhat new to the neuro graduat program and am in the 
> process of choosing a graduate lab/mentor.  I am a bit confused,
> however, and could use some advice.
> The problem is that I am very clear about the type of research
> I want to do, but there isn't anyone doing exactly that.  A lab
> or two comes close, however, but I _really_ like and respect
> the director of a third lab which is involved with something
> other than my main interest.
> So-what is the most important thing to go by at this point
> in the game?  Get into the lab doing work in the area of my
> interest?  Or try to get into a lab with a great mentor and
> hope to post-doc in the field of my interest?

Get into the lab with the great mentor and try to work on a project that
will help you to eventually work on what you want. Then, for your postdoc,
choose the best lab that works on something like you want to do, but be
sure to establish beforehand how much of what you work on in that lab you
can take with you when you leave. Not many grad students end up working on
what they did in grad school. It is more likely that you will work on
something related to what you do as a postdoc. In order to get a good job
you need excellent publications, and excellent letters of recommendation
from excellent, preferably well known people. The key is a demonstrated
ability to think for yourself and to do good work, preferably lots of it!

Donald Wigston
Atlanta, GA

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