What Do You Say to a Potential Thesis Supervisor?
You are a graduate student working on a master of science degree in General Biology. Be prepared to describe the degree program to the faculty person if s/he is not familiar with it. Provide him/her with a copy of the program description guide for faculty.
The magnitude of the research project which you will undertake in 1.5 summers is not as great as the magnitude of a project which a person in a full-time 2-3 year master's program (to become a research technician) would undertake. You ARE expected to do rigorous, high-quality research. The project just will be of lesser magnitude or scope. The objective of the General Biology program is to provide you with a research experience to help you become an even better teacher. It is definitely NOT to turn you into a research scientist.
Tell the faculty person specifically what interests you regarding her/his work (why you are interested in working with her/him).
Describe your science (or research) interests.
Ask her/him to describe his/her research a little.
Can s/he give you some papers or references to read?
S/he would be your thesis supervisor for your master's degree (if s/he agrees to have you work with her/him and you decide you want to work with her/him).
Mention that you will register for Independent Study with her/him in the Fall or Spring so that you will be prepared to start doing research in the Summer.
Call Lisa Elfring in Biochemistry (621-1671) if the faculty person has any other questions about the program.
You are not imposing on the faculty person. Educating students is what a faculty person does. You are a graduate student. You will be helping the faculty person study an area in which s/he is interested. The faculty person will gain credit (toward promotion) for training another graduate student. In addition, most faculty here are quite willing to do anything they can to help teachers. This is a mutually beneficial relationship.
The faculty person must also decide if s/he has adequate time, space, etc. to accept you as a student. S/he also must decide if you would fit into the research group well.
Before you leave, tell them you will contact them in ___ days (5-10). Make sure to call back each faculty person to tell her/him whether or not you want to work with her/him. It is not a problem to tell her/him you decided to work for someone else. The faculty person knows you are making a choice.
When both you and the faculty person have agreed to work together, have her/him sign the 'Thesis Supervisor' form, make a copy for your records, and turn the original in to Ellie.
The University of Arizona
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
General Biology Program for Secondary Teachers