How to Find a Mentor
Finding a Faculty Mentor
One important way to get involved in research is to get a place in a research lab or as a research assistant. Many of the LUROP fellowships require you to find a faculty mentor before applying for the award, and likewise, some research courses also require you to be working on a mentored research project outside of class. So it is often important to find a faculty member who is willing to mentor you on your research project. Here are some tips for identifying research areas of interest and connecting to faculty.
- Start Early! Openings in research groups both at Loyola and at other institutions will fill up quickly, so you should start inquiring about opportunities months in advance—for example, start inquiring about summer opportunities no later than January or February.
- Find your interest through your current courses, past courses, department websites, and your professors. Read scholarly journals, which may also provide insight into finding your interest in research.
- Research academic department websites and review the list of faculty members. The website offers a list of current faculty and their areas of research. Try exploring areas outside of major where faculty may still be doing interdisciplinary research in your areas of interest.
- Contact that professor or investigator through e-mail. Provide your name, year, and explain your interest in the faculty member's research area. Make it clear you have taken time to learn about their work. Provide a resume if possible to demonstrate experience. Get tips from the Career Center.
- Establish an interview with the professor to learn about research opportunities.
- Prepare for the interview by learning about background information for the research are in which you are interested. Make a list of questions to ask the professor and be prepared to answer any questions he/she may have. Dress professionally to impress.
For a listing of Loyola offices that may benefit your research or for information on publishing, presenting, or getting additional funding for your research, please visit the Resources page.