I am currently trying to seek a summer research attachment in the US institutions. CalTech offers a really attractive program, SURF, to the undergraduates.
However, in order to apply for the attachment fellowship, CalTech requires the applicants to contact a faculty member first and proceed with other admin stuff only after receiving the endorsement from the faculty.
As a non-CalTech student, I have no academic network that spreads to any professor in CalTech. In such a situation, can I directly email the professors that I am interested in working with?
Of course, I can do it, but my concern is that a professor will normally ignore this type of email, especially when he/she is currently not short of people in the lab.
How to initiate such a research proposal effectively so that the professor will not overlook my email and actually think about taking me in?