How to Find a Faculty Research Mentor
Because each YSM student develops their own research program, there are numerous ways to find a project and mentor. For first year students, the Scientific Inquiry Course provides extensive instruction and support for students in their search for a mentor. These offerings include formal didactics and small group workshops. Mentor searches conducted after the clinical years commonly incorporate role models and experiences gained during clinical rotations.
Finding a mentor is supported in numerous other ways. Resources include:
- Directory of Faculty Research Interests. This online directory is searchable by Department, Medical Search Headings (MeSH), by keywords, or by individual faculty names.
- OSR’s listing of recent and ongoing projects and mentors. This resource, which is organized alphabetically by department and research topic, is maintained in hard copy format in OSR Offices on 2nd floor Harkness. Students may come by in person to peruse the more than 450 summer and short term projects that have been conducted since 2018.
- Yale Medicine Digital Thesis Library. This online platform contains the titles and mentors of YSM theses organized by year.
- YSM Departmental Research Directory: Yale School of Medicine maintains a comprehensive online directory of departmental research faculty that is updated in real time.
- YSM Departmental Thesis Chairs: The Thesis Chairs can provide recommendations and advice regarding specific opportunities within their department.
- Mentor Discussion Panels: These events, which are arranged by student interest groups and departments, offer an opportunity to meet with potential mentors in an informal setting.
- Upper year students: Peer-to-peer and near-peer perspectives can be especially impactful. With this in mind, the Research Representatives of the Medical Student Research Council arrange research meetings throughout the year and have developed an online manual of advice and best practices.
- Search engines, social media, and Beatrix: Some faculty maintain high visibility in the news and social media. The YSM website has a newsfeed with articles about the school, as do many departments (e.g., Internal Medicine, etc.). YSM also has a listing of school social media channels you can follow.
- Preclinical Role Models: Course instructors and Scientific Inquiry small group session leaders can be excellent resources for students embarking upon their mentor search.
- Clinical Role Models: Mentor searches conducted during and after the clinical years commonly incorporate role models and experiences gained during clinical rotations and projects encountered at YSM Student Research Day.
- OSR Office Hours: Deans Chaudhry and Herzog are available to discuss options with individual students either during weekly office hours or at a mutually agreed upon time and location (virtual or in person). Students should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment.
Additional tips on the process of finding a mentor:
- It is recommended that students perform a preliminary mentor search and select between four to six individuals with whom to make preliminary contact.
- Students should then reach out by email requesting appointments to learn about current research and discuss possible research projects.
- Students should attend research group meetings and meet with research team members in the absence of the mentor to gain insight into the group’s culture, climate, and operations.
- Note: OSR allows the development of mentoring teams comprised of junior and senior investigators.
- Finally, the student should meet again with the chosen faculty member to develop a proposal for the project. The faculty member should make every effort to orient the student to a practical research question that can be answered within the available time and, to the extent possible, should encourage the student to contribute to the project by formulating an independent and original question.
- Don’t forget – faculty spend considerable time meeting with prospective students about research opportunities. While everyone understands that students are meeting with multiple mentors, it is courteous to “close the loop” and let faculty know if you have decided to conduct your research project another the mentorship of another faculty member. They will understand but appreciate hearing the outcome from you!
Drs. Chaudhry and Herzog are available to discuss options with individual students either during weekly office hours or at a mutually agreed upon time and location (virtual or in person).