Very early during 1st year in the fall, the MGN hosts a panel discussion to introduce itself and cover a host of relevant topics. Coffee and cookies are provided, and the event is usually lasts 1-1.5 hours. Another panel is held just before first-year students choose their thesis labs in the spring. We have sometimes opted to host the spring panel immediately before a Friday afternoon, department-wide happy hour, in which case free drinks are provided following the event. Otherwise, we provide coffee and cookies.
General topics covered during the "Choosing a Rotation Lab" fall panel:
- Selecting rotation labs
- The purpose of rotations
- What to do during your rotation
- What NOT to do during your rotation
- Graduate courses and how they are different from undergraduate courses
- Developing healthy habits
- Optimizing your work-life balance
- Imposter syndrome
- Vacation time
- Fellowships and reference letters
- Retreats and networking
- Balancing fun and professional development
General topics covered during the "Choosing a Thesis Lab" spring panel:
- Selecting your thesis lab and navigating "awkward week" discussions
- Lab environment, culture, composition, and diversity
- Picking the PI that is best for you
- Funding situation and stability
- Communication style and constructive feedback
- Expectations for projects, independence, extra-lab activities like teaching
- Lab meetings: style, frequency, sub-group meetings?
- Work-life balance: encouraged, discouraged, does it meet your personal needs?