Skills that you can develop in your Research Visit or Internships- Reflections on the Visit of Thonon Les Bains, France

International research visits, internships or exchange programs and collaboration across national boundaries bring your research efforts to the next level and to the broader public which helps in better promotion or marketing. Some students asked me the ways to maximize the overall output of there internships or research visits in there undergraduate, Masters even Ph.D. school.

  1. Organize social meetups- The possible idea of organizing and meeting people in your internships in both formal and informal ways is quite similar to the way you meet people in any house parties or sports events discussing the love of sports and food. Also, you can always similar meeting in various digital tools such as google hangouts where you can organize a conference to the meeting call to discuss your potential project or put any of your query in the related fields. I recently started working with a non-profit organization in Canada which that organizes the social meet up using google hangouts to discuss the progress of the team in different domains which is indeed productive. As you get to engage with students working in the areas of a client meeting, organizing conferences or big events, expanding the team through collaboration with potential members.
  2. Try to document your internship work or idea in words or video authentically while keeping its originality as intact as possible.  Keep your content simple and user-friendly just like you enjoy user-friendly mobile apps. The content in your online platforms should describe the real which comes only if you have strong interpersonal communication skills. It is indeed an essential tool to organize different sort of social hangouts, which will keep the communication flowing in between the members. So, I always put forward my ideas with the potential person/s who is interested and wants to listen to your ideas.  Small things that have made the macro change in your project which could be a beginning of social media services such as a blog or youtube channel, creating new networks in linkedin and so on which can lead to a social hangout between the like-minded group.  Organizing and executing your internship or research visit in this manner which develops multiple skills such as the ability to collaborate and work in a team with the multicultural group and adapting to changing tools.
  3. Being an enthusiast student, I always have the opportunity to work on my interpersonal communication skills while working in different teams through internships, research visits, and conferences. In January 2018, I stayed in an institute in Thonon Les Bains which is in the north of Europe and is usually freezing in the month of January where the temperature can drop up to -15 C. The lab was just next to the massive lake known as Lac Leman from the French border and Lake Geneva Given from the  Swiss border. You can easily reach to most captivating cities of Switzerland- Lausanne, and Geneva by boat or an hour drive. It is a bit expensive to travel in Switzerland when you are living with a Spanish student scholarship. However, I managed to go to many places in France and Switzerland. I met my supervisor there, who introduced me to the lab members and current research going on in the department. Over the next 2.5 months, I worked alongside different Ph.D. students and technicians sharing the same house which was opposite to the workplace and the incredible Lake Leman. These international swings will break down your shyness and other traits that create a barrier for you, and further enhancing your confidence level to add more positive contributions to the team. Getting hands-on experience in an International organization can help you integrate into multicultural groups support you to go a long way towards global research and management teams. Therefore, Working in a multicultural team is an honor where you get to share different culture, cuisine, and stories. The purpose of the visit was to conduct experiments with the environmental samples and learn bioinformatics flow.  Learning algorithms to treat and analyze the big datasets is the base of future academic and industrial projects. If you learn to manage and handle big datasets, then you have already opened many doors for yourself.  This opportunity was the stepping stone to expand my limited knowledge of algorithms and possible uses of machine learning in biology. My main task was to prepare all the environmental samples for DNA sequencing that had to be sent to another laboratory for further processing and generate raw (unprocessed) computerized DNA data.

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Thonon Les Bains

4. I had the perfect and new challenges which ultimately gave me the interesting output for my knowledge base. Other than that, there are few moments especially when you are traveling in a strange country where people speak a language that is completely strange to you. The first few days were challenging but with passing days and changing climate; I was able to connect and make good relationships with all the colleagues and researchers. These opportunities give you the chance to have detailed stories which build the missing pillars in your journey either academic or non-academic. All these networking and learning events in the student journey are the fundamental blueprint which should be followed religiously i.e., to enjoy the process and work on networking thoroughly.

Think about your student life as the huge pillar formed of conversation and meetings either personal or professional which creates the base of your future projects in terms of collaboration and recommendations.

These strategies come along with certain emotions based on your experiences and what you have learned from it. It will happen like a rollercoaster ride if you believe in your projects and trying to figure out the ways to execute in million possible ways. However, I believe that every experience will be uplifting and rewarding in the later stages.

Maybe you can make 100 networks in 2019, Maybe 50 or Maybe you can make 1  Right now. Send that email.

The importance of attending subject-specific workshops or conferences

I have already mentioned the importance of national and international symposiums and seminars that bring people from a different background that share similar objectives and challenges in solving the common problems.

Importance of Workshops, Symposiums and networking events in Graduate Student Life?

Let us focus on the importance of subject-specific or small scale workshops which brings in a number of people working on a rising or new subject in an interdisciplinary approach.  At the beginning of something new, it always starts with a small scale workshop which a student can only identify if he is consistent and up to date in terms of information and activities happening both online and offline about the subject area.

Attending small workshops or subject-oriented programs defines your maturity level to understand the subject in detail. This is one of the major shift that can happen in your student life either academic or non-academic. I always bring a small note about the Internet which has created a huge change in every single individual life either in the commerce sector, fitness sector and it is already bringing a big change in the student or independent academic researcher life.

Through small scale workshops, a lot of conversations and ideas can happen around the meetings. The primary aim of the small workshops or subject-oriented workshop is to derive the maximum benefit from the debate and discussions on the subject to find the directed solutions and new insights. The workshop theme usually solves the same problem in different geographical communities.

My supervisor in Spain was quite an active and smooth operative person who helped me out in all the paperwork while I was completing my administrative work in Portugal to get the work permit of Spain. In the meantime, she also created a space for me in an International Workshop in Croatia even before I got officially enrolled in the program. This workshop was the part of the massive program related to European rivers and water-related issues which helped me a lot to prepare myself mentally.

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Pic- DNAqua-Net, EU Cost Action

I arrived in Croatia in the month of November, and it was freezing out there. I had the brief idea about workshop theme and I was incredibly happy and overwhelmed because of the countries and new experiences.

Well,

Most of us are aware that we are living in a world of supercomputers and artificial intelligence, but I was not conscious about it until I attended the workshop about metabarcoding and diatoms. It was the moment I realized that artificial intelligence and computers are indeed hitting all the subjects equally. Moreover, this workshop introduced me to questions like the use of algorithms and machine learning to study biological data and biodiversity of microbes. Supercomputers, biological barcodes, and algorithms are the biggest biological shift we will ever live in the society. It has become practical and efficient to change the fundamentals of everything in the ecosystem. The combined technology of barcoding and supercomputers can tag every single microbe and living life on the planet earth. But for the moment, this program was focused on just DIATOMS and RIVER ECOLOGY.

Many researchers and Ph.D. students came across all Europe who were presenting their progress in the use of powerful computers and algorithms to treat biological data. It was not new, but the speed of growth in this field was astonishing because of fast development in computer processing power.   It is not so simple, but various researchers have identified the problems and the plausible computerized solutions which are way cheaper and faster than traditional methods to study the ecology of rivers.

It is not that these computers will replace all the bioscience research but can speed up the specific process such as classification of species or genes using defined algorithms.

Now here is when I learned a valuable lesson, I noticed that there were nearly 10 Ph.D. students are trying to mimic the use of a microscope. Further, when I explored this subject genuinely made me realized it could make the freelance Research possible with an economic upside for Ph.D. researchers especially that who enjoy algorithms and tech-based work. It will be beneficial to the biology students to learn or expose themselves to algorithms and a coding language.

In the workshop, there were people from the laboratory in France where I had to visit for the training and understand the new technologies that they have been implementing in studying the ecology of rivers. So, my supervisor introduced me to all of them.

Within the span of 2 days of this workshop, there was a macro change in my perspective and strategy towards science and life. Taking a step, attending a small scale workshop can load with information which indeed takes some time to out the knowledge in use in real time will be a serious help. I think the small scale workshops have the power to fill up the missing information and understand the evolution of the subject from others perspective as well. And, I have never been so grateful after meeting incredible researchers and students around the world.

Workshops are the best annual meetings designed to facilitate the interaction between supervisors and students to enable future collaborations between different groups in the same sector. It will give the strong foundation that has huge upside at all levels.

 

 

The digital presence of Graduate Students have increased Significantly

If you do not have a digital presence especially when you are trying to find or create an impact in your desired field, you are not taking your first steps. Increasing your digital presence is the foundation of your future career. The kind of information either personal or professional that you share on social media tends to create a notion in peoples mind which further creates your network.

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How can you increase your digital presence while you are pursuing your undergraduate or graduate studies? I googled and found out that the relative percentage of researchers, graduate students, and scientists sharing there both personal and work life have increased significantly. This is exciting as more and more researchers are promoting open science which indeed increases the chances of collaboration.

The thought-provoking catch is that it is possible in today`s digital world to use your blog as an open publication. A blog is a tool that can be made available to a huge number of students as a source of free knowledge to a large number of people who have simple access to the internet. Knowledge and experiencing new things is the basic human right. With the present technology, it is definitely possible to make all the knowledge or information available to a maximum number of people. This is of fundamental change that needs to happen in most student cases around the world. And the Internet can make this change at a lightning speed. There is no doubt about it.

I started my blog and writing guest post to expand my digital presence and improve my writing skills which I think took me in many finalist lists and ultimately winning International Scholarships. If you are writing it professionally and have given proper attention to the quality of content, I believe that it should have a positive impact on your proposition to the supervisor.

The blog is so powerful that you are allowed to share both positive and negative results without confirming it from any authority until and unless you have not signed a nondisclosure agreement. If you can not share the results, you are allowed to share your personal experience of conducting any particular task in your workplace just the way fitness or travel bloggers are doing.  But remember that if you want to use your blog in your application package while applying for any job, project or scholarship,  it should be up to date, authentic and original. Writing a blog will expose you to another set of challenges which will further enhance your new skills and knowledge about digital media. Identify the most influential blogger in your field and observe the important points of each of them or subscribe to there channel to get the beneficial content.  This can help you to channelize your ideas in a direction with an optimistic future and strategic plan.

But note that a blog should not be written with a temptation of receiving something in return otherwise, it will become an endless and not so fun run.  Use the blog as a source of supporting and providing free knowledge to the people who are not exposed to the information like you for one or the other reasons.

As an aspiring researcher or undergraduate student, blogging is one of the most productive things that you can do. This platform indeed has the potential to become a professional tool in the academic world. Open publications have been supported by many renowned researchers globally considering its social and economic benefits.

Open knowledge or blog gives you an opportunity to publish your observations without any restrictions including short notes or negative results. If more researchers come and support and accept this open science, it will be the most valuable tool for human development. And it allows all the independent researchers especially from low-income countries or students with fewer resources to publish their data and analysis. It is astounding.

How To win Scholarships? Publications & Journals.

You got to learn a simple mind strategy of not thinking about the final product, in this case, it is your publication. The publication is the final result of all your hard work and hours that you are putting in reading, reviewing, experimenting and communicating with people in your undergraduate school? Is it possible to get a publication in your undergraduate school? It`s not impossible if you are working consistently in your communication both personal and professional, attending regular public meetings and designing precise experiments after multiple failures over the time period of 3-4 years of your Undergraduate school.

If you are in Undergraduate school, Masters and even after reaching the Ph.D. school, do not think about the publication because it is the end fruit.  Let me explain it in simple words. If you want a flower or a fruit, do not think about the colorful flower, instead think about the soil, manure, seed, regular watering, and daily maintenance. Similarly, think and act about your daily activities such as communication, networking, writing, reading, and editing again and again until you get your final publication.

The reality of students in undergraduate, master’s program even Ph.D. is that they are anxious and impatient about the publications considering its influence in their overall CV. Of course, this gives a positive impression, but it should not be a big concern if you are actively sharing your research and finding on open science platforms which can be mentioned in the cover letter to grab the attention of your supervisor.

Therefore, the desire for publication in undergraduate school should be minimal, and the willingness of learning the process should be maximum. The method of learning is not always enjoyable but be conscious and aware of your vision and outcome. Surviving and adapting through this process can transform your personality. But one can parallelly work on there academic and non-academic writing skills in 4-5 years of University time to produce a piece of content either a review, research or survey-based article. This can be published in various online platforms in addition to academic journals. It might sound a bit difficult, but it is not.

You have almost 1000-1500 days in your undergraduate school, and even if you write 200-300 words on a topic you want to research about, you will have around 10,000 words which can be edited and proofread to be published as a chapter or review article. This is one of the best ways to improve the impression of your profile.

Recognize the moments in your life when you are impatient about the results, instead discuss the process of publication with your supervisor to gather deep insights and put the next steps in action. All these actions are the best ways to learn and know things that are out of systematic university routine. It keeps the flow of new learnings continuous and fresh. The bottom line is that you don’t know about anything or possible opportunities in your University period. So ask from your seniors and supervisors.

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Coming back to publications—

The fast growth on the internet has changed the face of publishing industry especially in developing countries where there are so many journals that are not recognized and promises you to publish your article in 3 days in return small fees. If you want to test this, try to post your worst written paper in a non-reputed journal. They will accept it quickly, and you will figure out the real game. It has become like a small scale business.

According to statistics and surveys, these publications receive minimum attention in the academic world. Most of the researchers won`t give much credit to these publications while considering you for the position in their laboratory.

When it comes to highly reputed journals, one cannot publish the article if the author cannot convince the editor of its quality as the publications in high-end journals are reviewed and edited by the researchers who have extraordinary experience in the similar research field. Therefore, to get published in these journals requires repeated attempts, experimentation, and collaboration.

Considering the present situation, thousands of students and young researchers are losing patience and publishing papers in non-reputed journals to get ahead of everyone, but it is not happening instead it is creating unnecessary stress in young researcher’s mind. They count these quick publications or any quick solutions as a ray of hope, a ticket to the well-funded laboratory or well-paid research position which is not true.  The writings in these journals are unreported and do not contribute positively to your profile as there are many other candidates with similar publications. There is no real quick fix in professional life.

Here, I recall one of my personal experiences while we were trying to publish in a reputed journal with an impact factor of around 3. According to the leading author including me made sure that all the work has been appropriately concluded. The article was rejected by the first journal stating that they already have enough content and similar research data available in their Journal.

Ultimately, it got accepted but after a single repeated attempt.  Sometimes, collaborating with a foreign team increases the impact of the paper considering the collaboration between two countries. The partnership is always a good sign in every domain of professional life.

The number one reason for students failing in their mission of getting published is the lack of patience and desire for quick success. This strategy makes you miss the most critical step is thoroughly enjoy and learn the process of working in a  team.

Stay tuned for more 😉

How to Win Scholarships and How to maximize networking in your University?

In my experience of University, I was looking for people who had experience or can share insights of working in the laboratory or real projects. Everything is depended on your preferences of hanging out with different groups whose values tend to overlap with each other directly or indirectly. Always note and analyze the social groups that you hang out for work and outside work.  It ultimately depends on an individual about his choices to manage networks and time.  The benefit of extensive and diverse networking as it produces multiple results and lets you decide with whom you naturally connect conveniently.  These different inputs that come with diverse groups or networking can help you determine your personal and professional goals.  University is the best place to initiate investing time in your networking to grow your professional network at different levels. The important thing is to be present in small and large scale events and hold on to the networking part. It is better to invest time in both academic and non-academic affairs as it provides you the diverse picture of the professional world.

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Once you start initiating your independent projects along with other students or collaborators in the nearby communities, consider expanding your projects outside the known area. Interacting with like-minded online communities, bloggers and researchers can broaden your horizon. It will provide various other alternatives in return to your time invested in online communities. It is easy to create an online event or workshop and promote it alongside like-minded research students or entrepreneurs in the university.

Collaborating your fresh idea with someone who brings in another skill is something that can bring in a higher value. That`s what I did to improve my scientific writing skills by connecting with science blogs and portals with different areas of specialty. By Connecting in online platforms, I was aiming to write for new blogs either paid or not paid. I discovered that I was able to use my previous learnings and share it in simple words for which I got paid 75$ per post. Usually, most of the students find it difficult to understand that it depends on your continuous engagement with your talents and skills that creates more clarity in your vision. My aim for the next five years was to increase my practical experiences to broaden my view about everything and create maximum innovative ideas. The experiences should not have any conclusion but will be good if it overlaps with the next lesson that will take you a better position in your professional life.

The network that you make in University time while working in a social or cultural clubs, internships, conferences or community service will always add a definite point in your diverse experiences. Every experience in your university can help you and your team in various ways by developing your skills like imagination, originality, team-working, novelty, resilience, IT skills, and innovation. Diverse experiences come with understanding about the sense of commitment, responsibility, not using excuses and adaptability in a different working environment.  It will be the foundation of your personal and professional life, and sometimes it begins in the places you don`t imagine. The main point is to understand that networking is always improvising along with a consistent change in your social circle or relationships when needed. In any place, Being spontaneous in different channels will help you to make your future proof and keep your overall structure intact.

Recognizing the values that you gain from all your experience and fellow researchers, you can gain access to both right persons and the right place to execute next ideas on your career path. Perfect synchronization of your communication and networking will maximize the overall output of your decision. The quality of your communication and network is the most powerful ally for your ideas which is understood more if your communication is vital and impactful in every move you make. Now you know that communication is an essential factor for all the process and there is a need for a particular emphasis on the use of your networking and communication.

I do not recommend joining a course in communication or business because no school can teach communication and networking that work well for your weird and incredible imagination. Moreover, it will only add burden in your daily routine in addition to your degree programs. Instead, try to identify the networks that align with your area of interest.

Especially in today`s era, when you can express yourself and communicate in a million ways using words, videos, pictures, and animations and reach out to millions of people.

The only suggestion- Practice, Practice, Practice- It is understood that it is a little frightening or anxious while contacting an unknown person either professor or student. But ultimately with practice, you will cope with all the unexpected responses and gentle tweaks in your projects.

How To Win Scholarships? Classify your Interests

Classification is one of the easiest ways to narrow down your research projects or goals. Although it can also be a complex process considering that we have never ending options.  Knowing that you are an 18 or 19-year-old undergraduate student or even if you are a master student, there is no classification which could be complex because you have enough time if you use it wisely.

I am pretty sure that you have a wide range of ideas but are not able to find or choose the best one for you. If the whole thing is a mess, pick one goddamn thing and execute on it by reading, watching or practicing the thing with the best available resources. This will help you to identify your likes and dislikes appropriately.

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Let`s talk about academics either scientific or non-scientific.

You can classify your interests by keeping yourself updated with the scientific and social development projects that you can find in excess in various digital platforms completely free. Keeping an eye on incoming funded projects in your university could lead you to follow the idea in detail by discussing the possibilities with the supervisor or leader of the project. This information can be attained easily from your administration department or webpage of the department.

Since you have spent significant hours in reading and listening to the stuff that you think you might like, try to choose your much-loved topics which should be broad enough rather than specific for ex: food, energy, management, family or transportation. Selecting a problem right now does not mean that you will work or conduct research in this area for your next 20 years.

The next step should be finding your potential supervisor or laboratory where you can learn the process of working in a laboratory. Mentors and senior students will help you define your ideas into experiments or essential objectives.  Looking for a supervisor in a department you are studying is the best place to start as you have many chances to interact with your professors during your day to day premises.

You can also contact the possible supervisors via email, and I tell you that most of them will happily attend you and listen to your proposal especially if you are from the same University.  But make sure that you have conducted an in-depth study of your proposition. The whole talk will be more productive if you are aware of the supervisor work and how you are going to link prospects in his/her team. And even if you don’t have any planned ideas, you can always propose your curiosity to join the team. This is where you sow the seed of your project

As Tibetan Buddhist Master Chogyam said, “ There is no such thing as talent, only awareness” if you have developed the habit of being aware and reading, you will always be driven to work while traveling in trains or any possible free time slots to increase the maximum output with maximum joy. The undergraduate years are indeed critical, and it will yield positive results if you invest your time strategically and try to maximize the output.

There are other university proposed courses or events such as term paper, internships or secondary research project which are the golden opportunities to design your project and improvise on skills where you are lacking.  The best strategy will be to work in 4 different projects or different disciplines to explore maximum domains of research in your undergraduate years.

How To Win Scholarships? Enjoy The Process

It is in continuation of my last blog where I am sharing the detailed importance of conducting independent research projects in your University.

How To Win Scholarships? Undergraduate Research Experience 1

The broader goal is to maximize your learning and try different ideas in your School or University years. The technology and science are developing so fast that you cannot stick with just one plan and one strategy. But instead it should be one idea and multiple strategies or multiple ideas and numerous strategies. Undergraduate school is the best time to try your random ideas which will later help you to find your research interest or innovative venture which could either be academic or non-academic.

But ideas always stay as ideas if you do not execute on them. Therefore, you should plan your daily goals and work with a mindset to extract the maximum from the present moment according to the availability of resources.

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Talking about the resources, I realized while I was interacting with students from around the world that undergraduate research is promoted mainly through long-term research internships or research-based course structure. Not only this, but they also have the right amount of funds for undergraduate students in terms of research, exchange semesters or travel grants. But how students from developing nations can get involved in undergraduate research with limited time and resources?

There are specific competitive summer research programs which have a limited number of seats with a tough selection process.

Although things have changed a lot with the rise in digital technologies and free resources that can be exploited to conduct detailed secondary research at the undergraduate level.

Connecting with students from a final year or doctorate program can lead you to the favorable outcome as interaction with last year graduates or PhDs are more frequent than the supervisor. The undergraduate research experience can add a lot to the innovation sector of developing nations which is much needed.

The initial doubts of a student are identifying research interest or approaching the professor. It can be confusing, but it should not be a difficult decision if you are using the Internet the right way. Isn`t it?

The goal is to consume information from research articles and other resources from the broad theme that you enjoy exploring. Everything you can get the hands-on topics that fascinate you and gives you the sheer pleasure of doing it. This step could be a little frustrating if you are already worried about the result. Therefore, you got to stay focused and invest hours in reading blogs, listening to a podcast or any other digital tools where you can extract valuable content. If you have already been pursuing this strategy and narrowed down your interest, it’s better to consume more in-depth scientific content from publications that are available for free. The same thing holds for other undergraduate students who are pursuing other fields either business, sales or marketing. The idea of undergraduate research or developing an independent project is to learn the process without thinking about the final product.