SETI REU

ofey
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:59 pm

SETI REU

Postby ofey » Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:30 pm

For various reason I really really want to do the SETi reu program in one of the next two summer. If you are familiar with my past you my academic background is shaky. How can I best pinpoint target a single REU for chance at success? Has anyone on here done the SETI REU?

I want to apply for next summer but I am worried because:

a. I've yet to put down a few really solid semesters that will look impressive. My individual grades in important classes are mostly very good but there is a lot of stuff that might give reviewer a double take without some more solid evidence of my talents.

b. I'm just transferring to a new school and really don't have any professors to write any meaningful recommendations about me. The best I have is a professor who I had taken Calc II & III with for a B+ and an A.

Does this mean I'll have to wait another year for a chance at an REU?

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grae313
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Re: SETI REU

Postby grae313 » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:50 pm

It might be difficult for you to get into an REU, especially since they seem to be particularly targeted to women and minorities. You don't lose anything by applying though. Remember that there are plenty of other ways to get involved in research, and in fact most people get their research experience by working with professors at their school rather than REUs.

ofey
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:59 pm

Re: SETI REU

Postby ofey » Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:10 pm

grae313 wrote:It might be difficult for you to get into an REU, especially since they seem to be particularly targeted to women and minorities. You don't lose anything by applying though. Remember that there are plenty of other ways to get involved in research, and in fact most people get their research experience by working with professors at their school rather than REUs.


I was looking at the past people in the SETI REU and there are a good amount of white males if that gives me any hope. Would doing something like contacting a scientist directly be too drastic?

I probably am already set up with some research work next semester(too late to list on my resume or use a a reference for this summer) and my school has its own in house summer REU program I'd have a much better shot at. But I still really want to work on SETI just because it is SETI- not even because I am just looking for another line on my CV to help get into graduate school. I just think it is a really cool project and want to experience it for a bit.

laser
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Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 5:00 am

Re: SETI REU

Postby laser » Tue Nov 23, 2010 12:18 am

The REU that I participated in was mostly white males. Out of about 15 students, two of us were females (both white), and three or so were non-white males, so well over half the students were white males. I was the oldest student in the program (early 30's), and there was another student (minority male) who was also older (about 25). I don't think that being a white male is going to keep you out of an REU.

I applied to the SETI REU for last summer and got rejected. Considering the nature of my current research, and the research I had started prior to the REU, I actually had a decent shot (I was almost surprised with that particular rejection). I applied to lots of REUs and got rejected from most of them. No big deal, as I also got offers from a few. And the one I ended up in, which resulted in research in a field that I was never exposed to, and that they don't do at SETI, and wasn't even what I thought I wanted to do (until I met with the professor and was so intrigued that I couldn't possibly imagine doing anything else at that point) ended up being so compelling and interesting that it has effectively redefined my future research goals.

I had two summers available to me for an REU, as an untraditional transfer student, returning from several years out of school. The first summer I had very few options for letter writers, as my writers barely knew who I was. I wasn't accepted into any program. The second summer I had started a research project at my school, and my professor from that project wrote my letters, as well as a professor who knew me well from frequent visits to his office hour. I got offers that year.

My suggestion is to apply to every program that looks interesting to you and has a deadline you can meet. Be open-minded about location, and accept that you might not get in anywhere, particularly since you're basically on new footing. If you have your heart set on SETI you might end up very disappointed. Nothing wrong with applying there, aggressively even (like contacting the professor you want to work with directly), but what is more important? Do you want to do research? Or are you so set on SETI that you won't apply anywhere else, hence not getting an REU at all? So by all means pursue SETI, but if it doesn't work out try not to get too disappointed, something else awesome will come your way.

Perhaps this summer you will get in somewhere else, in which case you might look more attractive to SETI next summer, between the research you'll be starting next semester, and wherever you might end up this summer.

On a semi-related note, I went to a professional meeting a few months ago (presenting a poster) and found myself sitting behind Drake at a session, and then hearing him talk, as well Tarter. Very cool :)

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grae313
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Re: SETI REU

Postby grae313 » Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:40 am

Great advice and great mindset. Thanks!




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