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Brandeis University

Undergraduate Researcher

January 2020 • Waltham, MA

What I liked

I was able to work remotely. I appreciated the flexibility this afforded me. I was also interested in my work.

What I wish was different

Advice

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Research Fellow

May 2021 • Waltham, MA

What I liked

I loved the opportunity to engage in a graduate-level research process, creating and executing my own self-conceived research study.

What I wish was different

n/a

Advice

Have fun and go with the flow! There are lots of potential setbacks in the research portion of academia, but also plenty of solutions. Do your best, and if something doesn't go as planned, just adapt and move on.
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Historian Research Assistant

May 2020 • Waltham, MA

What I liked

flexible

What I wish was different

being able to involve more

Advice

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Undergraduate Research Assistant

June 2019 • Waltham, MA

What I liked

Doing work that interested me, on the cutting edge of science. Meeting other students within the lab was nice too, more friendly faces around campus.

What I wish was different

My workload was minimally communicated about between my mentors, and the incredibly long weeks led me to burn out by the end of the summer.

Advice

Be realistic about the time that you can commit to a job, lab or otherwise. Nothing is worth it if you work yourself into the ground and begin to resent it.
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Economic Research Assistant

April 2020 • Waltham, MA

What I liked

Within loose time constraints, I worked on my own schedule. Easily done remotely. The researcher also wants to build my experience and skill set.

What I wish was different

The ideal source for our data has a significant time lag, so it would be nice if that was currently available.

Advice

When looking, don't be afraid to reach out to professors you already know. And when working, don't be afraid to ask questions. These professors want to help you succeed.
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Undergraduate Researcher

May 2016 • Waltham, MA

What I liked

I love the feeling of community I experience with both colleagues within my lab and within my department. There is a lot of opportunity for collaboration, and I feel I've personally been a lot more successful as a result. Everyone around me is always pushing me to move forward, and they are more than willing to help me get there.

What I wish was different

Integrating myself within the community took quite a bit of effort. I wish my PI or my manager would organize more social events during the workday to make things a bit easier, but otherwise, I don't think there's too much room for improvement. It's been great!

Advice

Speak up! Be friendly! Make yourself known! My experience working in a lab at Brandeis has taught me that you're far more likely to succeed if you aren't going at it alone. Since everyone else is busy with their own work, it's up to you to build those relationships, especially as the new kid on the block.
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Research Assistant

December 2019 • Waltham, MA

What I liked

Working in a research lab at Brandeis has been an extremely rewarding experience. I have learned so much about molecular biology, laboratory techniques, and the research process from experienced members of the Marr lab. Through hands on experience I have learned basic tissue culture techniques and how to maintain mammalian cell lines. I also used molecular genetic techniques to create mutations in a gene involved in translation initiation and performed cell-based assays using these mutants. I am so grateful for the professor, graduate students, and post-docs in the lab who take time to explain the theoretical basis of the experiments as well as the procedural details.

What I wish was different

I wish I could have spent more time in lab - but this was not possible due to COVID-19 policies.

Advice

Don't be afraid to ask your mentors questions.
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Organic Chemistry Teaching Assistant

May - August 2020 • Waltham, MA

What I liked

I enjoyed working in breakout rooms with a small group of students and working through problems together. Dr. Murray is very well organized and was extremely thoughtful about how the TAs could best help the students.

What I wish was different

Working in a virtual format was tricky at times.

Advice

Review the material each week before the student's learn it to make sure you remember everything!
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Economics Research Assistant

July 2020 • Waltham, MA

What I liked

A chance to work in the field of interest.

What I wish was different

Maybe more background or more similar opportunities

Advice

Research Assistant positions at Brandeis are rigorous and demanding - plan your schedule well!
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Zoom Assistant

July 2020 • Waltham, MA

What I liked

I enjoyed the pay, as well as getting to oversee a conference of a topic I was interested in.

What I wish was different

The organization was a little shoddy, I wish things had been a little clearer.

Advice

It's a great position, take it!
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Physics Laboratory

June - August 2019 • Waltham, MA

What I liked

I really enjoyed learning new skills, particularly how to work in a Linux environment and how to use Python to examine data.

What I wish was different

I wish that there was an additional component of the job that was active and not just sitting at a desk.

Advice

Physics research is really exciting, but at first it can be slow. It takes special effort to learn something new and push through the initial barriers before the job really takes off.
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REU fellowship

June - August 2019 • Waltham, MA

What I liked

I loved being able to make new connections while doing the research I loved. You are really able to get a "feel" (not the true thing) for being a graduate student doing research. I loved the lab I was in!

What I wish was different

I wish I had tried to reach out more. It is very hard to explore other departments/people when you're in your lab all week.

Advice

Apply to a bunch of programs and don't be afraid of not getting something. I only got one out of 10 that I applied to. Be respectful and willing to do anything!
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Fly Kitchen Assistant

May - August 2019 • Waltham, MA

What I liked

I liked being able to provide for the science labs around campus and allow them to do their jobs. I also liked being able to listen to music while I worked.

What I wish was different

I wish that there was a more social environment at the job.

Advice

I think that jobs such as the fly kitchen are a great starting job for students who are interested in getting into lab work but do not have the experience yet, especially freshman and sophomores.
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Undergraduate Research Fellow

June - August 2019 • Waltham, MA

What I liked

Gained valuable research experience under close mentorship. Developed professional skills in weekly workshops to prepare for apply for and succeeding in graduate school. Culminated with a presentation of summer research at an undergraduate symposium.

What I wish was different

Advice

If you are interested in research careers, go onto the NSF website and apply for their Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) which take place all across the country each summer.
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User Experience Intern

June - July 2019 • Waltham, MA

What I liked

It was easy for me to work and attend summer classes

What I wish was different

Advice

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Office Assistant

May 2019 • Waltham, MA

What I liked

The atmosphere is very peaceful and the work load is not too laborious.

What I wish was different

Make sure you have outside work, some days did not require too much.

Advice

Have a positive attitude and arrive on time.
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Makerlab technician

May 2018 • Waltham, MA

What I liked

The work environment was amazing. Worked closely with superiors and got to work in a variety of different projects across Brandeis. It makerlab is a hub connecting engineering principles to subject experts at Brandeis.

What I wish was different

Nothing, the work experience gained and the connections crafted were amazing. The opportunity that this position provided was a big reason why Brandeis was worth it.

Advice

Get engaged early. It's easy to think of the job as just fixing printers and sitting around. It is on the student to be proactive to seek projects and ask for work that is deeper than just the surface customer service that the makerlab is about.
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Undergraduate Research Assistant

January 2018 • Waltham, MA

What I liked

-Working in academic research -Being mentored by renowned professor and PhD students in the lab -Getting to know other people on the floor/building -Building skills commonly used in life science research

What I wish was different

I wish I could have the project more planned out and be more independent before the summer, so that I can be more productive

Advice

Start looking for grants early
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Office Assistant

February 2017 • Waltham, MA

What I liked

It was very flexible and I was able to learn new skills, like web-editing.

What I wish was different

Honestly, it was perfect!

Advice

Don't be afraid to just work! It doesn't need to necessarily advance your career (i.e a job at a law firm). As long as you are financially stable and learning helpful skills, go for it!
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Student Interviewer

May 2019 • Waltham, MA

What I liked

I really liked the office environment, the camaraderie between student staff and professional staff and the actual job itself. Not only does this job rely heavily on writing skills but you improve public speaking skills, gain the ability to train others, and lots of hospitality skills as you are interacting with students and families from all over the world.

What I wish was different

There is not much I would change about my experience. I think one aspect that could be added to further help student employees learn about the field would being able to shadow meetings or be included on staff projects.

Advice

Don't overlook spending a summer on-campus! There is a very different vibe and it can be really rewarding throughout the year as well.
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