To Join

Dear Incoming Graduate Students,

Welcome to the Northwestern University Chemistry Graduate program. This site is to serve as a general aid towards new graduate students looking to pursue research endeavors in the Nguyen Group either as a joint collaboration/mentorship or as a full member of the group. Of course feel free to apply this advice for other groups you are considering, as well. Listed below are a few tips on how to navigate through your first quarter of NU grad school:

  1. Take the preliminary exams seriously because testing out of these courses will reduce the stress from balancing course load and searching for a research group to join.
  2. During orientation, pay close attention to the professors’ research presentation as they tend to answer a lot of questions in regards to what research they are “hiring” for and how many graduate students they are looking for. Ask as many questions of the Professor afterwards and to their current graduate students, showing genuine interest. You want to leave a lasting impact.
  3. During orientation, start setting up meetings with these professors and lab members ASAP (especially after the professors have given their talk). Once your classes start, you are going to be busy with homework, exams, talks, grant writing, and several other tasks that could make scheduling a meeting a lot harder. Remember the professors will be traveling for talks and teaching as well. To set up a meeting, in respect to the PI’s schedule, follow the listed guidelines:
    1. Read through the research summaries on the website
    2. Look for recent papers on the “publication” tab that reflects the general idea of what you research focus you are interested in.
    3. Email the professor…
      • From your Northwestern (or your undergrad school) email address
      • With an informative title that summarizes of your message (i.e., “Scheduling an appointment to discuss potential research projects”)
      • With a list of times that you are free to meet for the next two weeks at least.
    4. Follow up with the professor as frequently as you can if you are really interested in their research
    5. If you are ambitious (and you should be), ask the PI for a research topic that you could draft an NSF proposal for before the November due date. This might give you insight to the PI’s level of interest as writting is generally very time consuming. Plus showing initiative early on is very impressive
  4. Be sure to attend group meetings of the research group of interest. For the Nguyen group this is on Mondays @ 5pm in Ryan Hall 2003
  5. Go to open houses to meet the group members and have some great food. These are generally in October, so pay attention to the fliers on doorways!

These are the things I found useful during my matriculation through my first quarter. Remember graduate school has already started the moment orientation kicks off so plan ahead and plan wisely. Of course if all you want to do is “Nguyen Nguyen Nguyen no matter what!” Then check us out at Ryan Hall 2003 for our group meetings and open house!

 Your fellow 3rd year Graduate student,

CA