I am currently a 3rd year undergrad who assists with research at my current university. I have been working on a project since September 2019, and the PI says it is possible to get a publication with further work (though I know the project is still relatively new now). Should I assist with research in this lab for the summer, or apply to other programs like REUs?

I received the opportunity to attend a REU last summer but chose an internship instead. For reference, I am hoping to attend a medical school in the future - I hope it's ok for me to post on this academia stack exchange since it is research-related. Thank you for reading!

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    What do you think you would gain by doing work in another lab over the summer? Not trying to sound accusatory, curious Jan 30, 2020 at 0:40

1 Answer 1


Think about what you want for a career. Don't try to nail it down too firmly yet, but think about the options. Do you want an academic career? If so, you will want a research doctorate at some point (beyond a medical doctorate, perhaps). In that case, having a publication and some research done early will be a boost. Your current situation is more likely to result in a publication than a short term REU, I think. Also, if your relationship with the PI is a good one, it is less risky to stay where you are.

But if medicine is you real goal then research publications are probably less important and getting a broad outlook will probably serve you well.

The trade off is specialization vs generalization. Having a broad view of all that is possible in the world is a good thing, but academics at some point need to specialize in quite small areas. Your call, of course.

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