55

writing dozens of lines of code using Mathematica and helping my professor computing things That sounds like normal undergraduate research to me. It's probably not a menial contribution. Very few people can write a dozen lines of Mathematica code. If you do a good job, this could be a big help to your graduate school applications and even later career.


55

I infer from the question that you still have the raw data. In that case, I think you need to re-do all the steps in which errors could be introduced (such as data entry, spread-sheet calculations, analysis of trends). Then see what effect the corrections have on the conclusions of your paper, and rewrite as necessary. I realize that this sounds like a lot ...


40

right now I'm very dissatisfied with him and a sincere letter (which I 100% intend to write) would have to convey this First, let's cut the student some slack. They are probably exhausted and burnt out from all the coursework and other academic activities. The problem doesn't seem to be laziness; rather, it seems to be self-awareness: they overestimate the ...


38

Tell him that you do intend to participate as previously agreed, but that funding for the summer was an important consideration. If he is at all reasonable, then that should be enough. If he is offended, then he isn't being reasonable. If he offers you summer funding, then consider that, of course, but he should have little controlling say over a volunteer. ...


28

Your job as a mentor is not to “maximize the chances of a good outcome”. The problem with that mindset is that your definition of a good outcome won’t be the same as everyone else’s. And an outcome that might appear good in the short term (e.g., getting into an ultra-competitive grad program) might end up disastrous in the longer term if it is achieved by ...


21

Submitting work to a conference, having that work accepted, and presenting that work at the conference has value, such accomplishments should appear on CVs. Withdrawing an accepted work from a conference due to no funding shows lack of foresight, perhaps even disrespect (by wasting time), and likely shouldn't appear on CVs. Seek other funding sources, e.g., ...


19

From the information you provide, your request looks reasonable. This is probably just a misunderstanding, and definitely a terrible (over)reaction from the prof: sending your private email to other lab members is not done. Talk to your prof. (as soon as possible) to find out what happened.


18

If you have holes in your knowledge then a course might be (marginally) better, but any involvement in a research program is a plus. You want to arrange it so that you get an acknowledgement in the paper for your work (assuming co-authorship is impossible). Then it is a line you can put in your CV. I doubt that it would be seen in a negative light, but a ...


17

Everyone will have their own reaction, of course, but the more important thing is that you point out the errors and the need to correct them. Going forward with bad data is the worst outcome. Work up the best data you can and tell the prof that the older data was seriously flawed. I think most people will accept your honesty, even if it means some delay. And ...


11

Speaking as a postdoc: as others have suggested, there are some very good reasons to diversify your network - and you have run into one of them. Explain yourself, and give the prof a chance to explain and apologize. Try not to burn any bridges with him, but start looking elsewhere immediately. That he forwarded your email to everyone in the lab group ...


11

It's at least a little rude to send a request for a recommendation letter without mentioning your plans. Of course, forwarding your email to the whole group is orders of magnitude ruder. He had previously wrote, 2 months ago, that he was happy to write me a recommendation letter. For any summer internships, or did he maybe think you were asking about grad ...


10

It is not your job to get the student into graduate school. As a recommender, it is your job to decide if you want to recommend the student and to write an honest letter if you do. You may wish to give the student advice on how to improve their chances of getting into school, but ultimately it is their path. There is nothing forcing you to write a letter. If ...


9

I'll take your questions one at a time. I'm terrified that I may have done it deliberately at the time. (How would someone be able to tell?) I'm not sure if by "someone" you mean you, or the person you send this to. I can definitely imagine looking back at my own work from undergrad and doubting the integrity of it if it looked fishy. If I were ...


9

It is obvious that the student is highly capable, but simply has too much going on in their life, and haven't had time to dedicate themselves to this project that they are doing with you for free. So obviously your work will be at the bottom of their priority list. To me, it seems obvious what's going on. The student signed up for this project so he could ...


7

The level of involvement you describe is what admission people will expect when they see that an undergraduate student coauthored a mathematics research paper with a professor. In the rare cases where an undergraduate contributed more significantly, it would be up to the professor to explain this in their letter of recommendation. Thus, there is no reason to ...


6

If your account is accurate the this student is clearly prioritizing his undergrad studies over this research assisting work. And it also shows that you have been too willing to entertain promises of future work from him than you have been to insist that he call it a day. Your post highlights so many things wrong with academic research today. Having bright ...


5

Most undergraduate research experiences, even when successful, do not result in a scientific publication. The time is simply too short and the experience of the student typically too little to produce a publication-worthy result in that time. Moreover, because the supervisor knows that, in many cases undergraduates are given tasks that will be useful ...


4

To add onto other answers, especially @Buffy, I will share my recent experience as a graduate student in a similar situation. I will highlight where the conflict arose, and how you might proceed. The Situation It was about February when I started preparing an application for a well-known, although by no means 'prestigious' summer research internship/...


4

Yes, you can ask. If the professor has grant funds and a need for someone to fill a slot then you might be successful. It needn't be the person you intend as your advisor, and if you are entering with just a BS then it is unlikely that you would choose a final advisor so soon. But asking is not a problem. However, you might also consider that taking a bit of ...


3

As the answer of user2768 has stated, doing research which leads to an accepted abstract at a conference is a good accomplishment for an undergraduate. Congratulations. Doubly so since -- for whatever combination of reasons -- you don't seem to have extensive support from your more senior advisor(s). If you find the funds to attend the conference and present ...


2

I want to add one thought to all the previous answers. Although not your problem to.solve, be aware that underperformance can arise as a result of mental health ("MH") issues - problems that haven't come up before, or in the same way. That's not uncommon at undergraduate level. A student has suffered from undiagnosed MH issues, ADHD, depression, ...


2

This should be fine, since you seem to have the necessary background if not the specific experience. This would be especially true if this is in the US, where there is a lot to do in most programs prior to starting serious dissertation research. It will be different elsewhere, of course. Again, for the US, the professor may have little actual influence over ...


2

When it is clear as is the case here that the professor is more interested in their success than your success, it time to look for another mentor. It is perfectly legitimate for undergrads to look around to broaden their research horizons. Indeed, if a professor is sufficiently secure to believe their work is very interesting, she or he will not fear ...


2

I'd try to find another professor Whether or not you were rude, your professor acted in a way that is totally unacceptable. He betrayed your trust by sharing your private correspondence publicly, and he publicly shamed you in a very passive aggressive way. If it were me, I'd find another professor as soon as possible. He sounds like a sociopath. If you can't ...


1

There is a possible downside to your plan that you should also consider along with the discussion with your advisor. Undergraduate research, unlike doctoral or professional research, is usually time limited. Therefore a long term research project may be contraindicated unless your advisor agrees that partial results are acceptable within your time frame. You ...


1

REU I cannot speak for all REUs, but the ones that I have experience with usually look for a few things: Good statement of purpose with a clear research objective. Even if this statement of purpose is a bit broad, it is important to show that you are able to ask good questions in relation to mathematics. Good letters of recommend. Specific coursework ...


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