So you want to be a minion...

 
 

So you want to join the Corthals Lab? *of course, we’re awesome!*


First, look at our research projects: if none of the research themes spark your interest, you should look no further on this page and elsewhere for research.


Second: if you are over-committed (i.e. too many classes, other internships, jobs that take half of your schedule), delay your commitment to research at our lab until you have a lighter schedule. Signing up with the lab and not showing is taking someone else’s space. Not showing up in the lab will result in dismissal from the lab.


Do you have what it takes to be a minion at the Corthals lab?


  1. A sharp and quick mind cannot take the place of hard work.

  2. Own your project, whether you have picked it from a range of projects available in the lab, or developed it over months, it is yours to conduct and finish.

  3. You will only succeed if your project motivates you enough that you can slog through the uncertainty and frustration of scientific work.

  4. You MUST be able to work well in a team, with the other students. Negative attitude of all kind (arrogance, being aggressive, or any other negativity) will lead to you being dismissed from the lab, whether or not you have completed your project.

  5. Your project answers questions that have not been asked before. You must have the determination to answer them.

  6. Your advisor (Dr. Corthals) is very busy, but will make time for truly crucial advice. Be prepared when you meet with her.

  7. 95% of everything is showing up. You must put in the time reading, working in the lab, analyzing data, etc. to be able to carry out your project. If you are over-committed elsewhere, it is probably not a good idea to join a lab.

  8. If you don’t know what a word/theory/name means, find out. By yourself. Online. Ask Dr. Google (Google Scholar)

  9. At lab meetings DON’T BRING PROBLEMS, BRING SOLUTIONS. Do not come to lab meeting with statements such as ‘And I can’t move forward’ or ‘that is as far as I got and now I am stuck’ or worse ‘And I don’t know how to, so I stopped...’. If you stumble on a block in your research, find out solutions by searching in the literature or other online resources. Chances are, other researchers might have faced the same problem, and will have a protocol described to get you out of a tough spot. If not, bring several ways through which you think problem might be approached/resolved at the next lab meeting, so we can all find a way out of it, as a group.

  10. The Corthals Lab also works in close collaboration (you can say as one giant lab) with the Davalos Lab at Stony Brook University, Dept of Ecology and Evolution, so you may want to check their webpage too!

  11. Check out the cool Corthals Lab logos on the right! :)


Undergraduate students:

  1. Investigate the publications and projects up and running in the lab, and find one or more research lines that attracts you.

  2. Consider why you want to join a research lab. Your motivation must come from within, and not just because you think this will look good in your applications to an unrelated graduate school. It probably will not if  your research PI cannot attest to your enthusiasm and hard work.

  3. Your project or honors thesis will demand at least 40 hr/week over the summer, and at least 10hr/week for writing when the semester is in session.

IMPORTANT: Research undergraduates at John Jay must first apply and be accepted into to the PRISM Undergraduate Research Program. You can apply here: http://prismatjjay.org/applications/


Also know that there are many opportunities within John Jay and CUNY for fellowships.

Graduate students (Masters):

  1. If your adviser had the answer she would have published it already.
    Read this modest advice from Stephen C. Stearns, and then this reply from Ray Huey

  2. Graduate work will make you feel less outstanding than you thought you were. Prepare to be challenged

  3. Your aim should be to become the established authority in what you do by the time you get your degree. Your adviser need not remind you of that


Know that there are many opportunities within John Jay and CUNY for fellowships.


FINAL BIT OF ADVICE: before you write to Dr. Corthals, ask the current undergraduate and graduate students at the lab to see if the Corthals Lab will be a good fit for the goals you want to achieve.

Joining the lab