How to gain research experience?

AndreyBridgeAndreyBridge Member Posts: 1

How can a high school student, such as myself gain research experience? I'm not talking about anything overly impressive. I'm just talking about possibly doing something along the lines of a research mentorship with a local university or a physicist. Am I already asking too much? How do other people that get admitted into top universities such as Cal-tech obtain research experience? I know about the summer research programs, but those seem extremely competitive. Would it be weird to email a local university professor see what is available? or would they just completely ignore me? Some background information: I'm a sophomore, and have already completed all the calculus courses available to me, have already done the physics, and am looking to get more out of my spare time.


  • KremellaKremella Posts: 3,123Admin

    Hello @AndreyBridge

    Thank you for connecting with us regarding this question.

    We are experts at engineering simulation and our STEM (and AIC) courses are tailored to augment the understanding of physics along with a focus on learning how to use our simulation tools. Since you are looking for more during your spare time, I'd recommend that you enroll in these courses and learn to use these modeling and simulation tools that are used by leading industry experts for engineering product design and development. These courses would give you a good starting point. Here is the link to the courses.

    Regarding your question related to research opportunities, out of curiosity, what specific research topics interests you? It is hard to provide a generic answer to your question because different universities likely have different options and run very different programs for high-school students. Having said that, TBH, I think you should connect with professors and faculties not just in your local university but also nation-wide. Pro-actively writing to them shows your seriousness and commitment to the cause. In addition to this, you should also check with your high-school teachers to see if they have any connections. Perhaps, they might be able to provide you with some introductions which might help your cause. Moreover, summer programs are a wonderful way to get exposed to research. Even if some are more competitive than others you could still apply if you are interested. They would certainly be a value-add.

    Please do let me know here what your specific areas of interest are.

    Thank you.


  • RobRob UKPosts: 11,770Forum Coordinator

    As a comment, you may learn research skills doing project work at school and then further into an under-grad degree. The last bit of training may be a PhD and research post.

    A fair bit (actually most!) of research is reading, so anything that improves your ability to read, digest and collate information is good: not just Google, papers are invaluable too. Assuming you're in the US (based on the Cal-tech reference) you could look into the batting averages of the local rounders team (our US colleagues talk about the Pirates) and look at trends/correlations: what interests you?

  • AndreyBridgeAndreyBridge Posts: 5Member

    Thank you very much for your recommendations!

    It is essential for me.

    But I am energized for research. But I'm very afraid that I no longer have time to achieve an advanced degree. The way I entered the first year when I was already 25 years old. Now I'm 35 and have many ideas and concepts that I want to use in real life! I have completed many courses and have used many modern textbooks and Internet resources like edu zaurus and I would like to find out the shortest way to scientific activity outside the university. Perhaps this does not exist, and please write to me!

  • RobRob UKPosts: 11,770Forum Coordinator

    Turning the question around. Are you wanting to pursue a career in research in some/focused topics of someone else's choosing or to learn the skills to develop "stuff" of your choosing in your own time?

    For the former, a PhD or good experience will be needed to move into the role, eg extensive industrial know-how in a certain field. You then get paid to improve/invent something and the sponsor/employer takes the derived financial benefit.

    For the latter, consider project management planning to work out the steps and use your imagination. The UK is infamous for the "man in a shed" approach to invention. It's not efficient, is rarely profitable but those working in the field look to be having fun. Occasionally things like the clockwork radio become successful.

    Neither comment can be considered as advice, just my view based on what you've said: I'm English and have a PhD in engineering which will colours my thinking. Colleagues will have different comments based on their experience: we're scattered around the globe but generally have a Masters or PhD in engineering or science.

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