I graduated school during the pandemic, and attending most of my undergraduate remotely, I didn’t have much chance to pursue research. I am now considering a Phd program but would like to do some research first to see if it’s something I really want to do. I haven’t had much success cold-emailing professors, many who are already overstretched and not willing to take on an outside student. What’s the best way to find research opportunities for someone who is not in school? Should I just read some papers and start tackling a problem by myself?
My interests are pretty broad right now, but include cryptography, machine-learning, genetics, neuroscience, astronomy, and music theory/production. I’m also located in the Austin area, near the UT campus.
I did this by attending a lot of research seminars until I made friends with professors. The universities I've hung out at have all been fine with anyone attending research seminars. A billion years later I was a professor myself. You just have to be friendly but very unpushy, and patient (and smart! - but probably you've got that covered or you wouldn't even be asking).
I followed this plan twice, in public health (mainly biostatistics) and in philosophy. It probably wouldn't work in genetics or astronomy because they require so much technical knowledge before the seminars make sense.Reply