Genetics in Conservation - Volunteering Opportunities prio to PhD?

(2 Posts)
MrsMozartMkII Thu 09-Jul-20 19:58:17

I offered to help DD1 as she's up to her gunnel in her Masters, which I definitely can't help with in any respect.

She wants to take a year doing some volunteering work within conservation genetics (I get no more technical than that!) - she's the one who'll sit in a lab and do labby things with data analysis, though more than happy to go out in the field, with the aim of getting onto a PhD next year.

She's keen to use the genetics to help with conservation, as opposed to being a 'pure' conservationist, if that makes sense and if I've understood her right.

How does one go about finding such opportunities?

OP’s posts: |
parietal Fri 10-Jul-20 21:43:35

I'm a Prof in Science in a UK university.

I'll often get emails from MSc students or similar asking for volunteer positions in my lab. Sometimes people want to work for months for me with no pay in order to boost their CV.

I very rarely take such students on, for two reasons: (a) I'm based in London where cost of living is v expensive. Taking on the people who can afford to work for free and not those who can't is unfair & doesn't help widen diversity. And (b) these people very rarely have the skills I need, and training them up would take far more time than I have, especially given they could leave at any time.

But, I do know other labs that do take student volunteers on, so it could be worth trying. The best idea is to identify professors you might want to work with and send them a nice email with a CV etc. Make it clear what work you can do and how long for etc.

Also, a lot of labs are still shut down or working at 50% capacity because of covid-19, so the chances that a lab has space to take an intern are diminished this year.

tbh, if your DD wants to go on to a PhD, the best option is to get good grades in the MSc and a great project, and then take a paid RA job for a year to get experience (jobs.ac.uk is best). Then apply for PhD positions in November 2020 for a start date in Sept 2021.

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