Opportunities FAQs

The information below should be helpful to students considering applying for the E.E. Just Undergraduate Fellowship, for the Summer Internship, and, to some extent, for those interested in the MBL internship—although the process for the MBL is a little different. If you still have questions after having read through the tips below, just reach out to the E.E. Just Program directly.

Finding a Research Project

Research is a fulfilling experience that will broaden your horizons and teach you important skills that are applicable even if you do not pursue a career as a research scientist. The vast majority of students, who are supported by the E.E. Just Program, begin their journey into STEM research at Dartmouth by joining already existing projects. So, you don't need to come up with your own project. To find research areas that excite you, some of the following might be helpful.

    •    Consider the STEM courses you have taken and think about what has interested you the most.
    •    Office hours are not just for getting help, you can visit  your professors during office hours and ask them about their research.
    •    Attend STEM talks to get a sense of the types of questions people are working on. Most departments offer talks geared towards undergraduates and, of course, you should attend the E.E. Just Jam Session and Science Forum as a way of staying up to date. 
    •    Talk to your peers who have done research

If you have further questions about getting started on research, please reach out to the E.E. Just Program.

Finding a Research Mentor

The Research Mentor or Principal Investigator (PI) is the person with whom you will be conducting research and will play a key role in making this an enriching experience. The following are a few qualities to look for in choosing a research mentor and/or lab.

    •    You should be excited and/or curious about the projects a prospective research mentor is engaged in 
    •    A prospective research mentor should be interested in working with you.
    •    A prospective research mentor should be interested in crafting a clear mentorship and training plan, outlining how they and members of their research group will work with you.
    •    A track record of success is always nice. You can find out about that by asking them and talking to current/former members of the research group.

Your search for a research mentor can begin by chatting with a professor during office hours or setting up an appointment. You can reach out to professors who have taught your past, present and future courses. You can also visit faculty research pages to identify faculty you might want to reach out to.

Once you've identified faculty you want to talk to, send them an email. If you're unsure about what to say, you can modify the sample email below under "Prospective Research Mentor Email." If you want further advice about finding a research mentor, please reach out to the E.E. Just Program.

Finding a Faculty Reference for a Letter of Recommendation

The E.E. Just Program uses two (2) references as part of a holistic selection process. Each reference will be asked to answer a few questions about you in support of your application. The following are some questions to ask yourself while considering who you might like to ask to serve as a reference.

  • Does the prospective reference know me well as an intellectual and creative being?

  • Is the prospective reference in a position to discuss my potential and motivation for doing research in STEM?

  • Have I explained the opportunity to my prospective reference? And, have I indicated why it is important to me?

  • Have I shared some of my academic and/or professional aspirations with the prospective reference?

  • Have I made the prospective reference aware of my commitment to the mission of the E.E. Just Program?

  • To what degree have my prospective references observed me apply skills that are central to the opportunity I am applying for? 

  • To what degree does my prospective reference have firsthand experience with the type of opportunity I am applying to?

  • Is the prospective reference interested in my success?

Your goal is not necessarily to find one person who can speak to everything. Rather, you want to choose a pair of references that will provide as full a picture as possible. Towards this end, you will need to cultivate relationships with people who are in positions to answer these questions. This can be achieved through some combination of visiting faculty and staff during office hours, actively participating in class discussion, or through the "take a faculty to breakfast/lunch program," for example. Once you've identified a faculty or staff member you would like to write on your behalf, send them an email. If you're unsure about what to say, you can modify one of our sample emails below under  "Prospective Faculty Reference Email." If you do not receive a response after three to five days, send a polite reminder.

Finally, writing a good letter of recommendation takes time and you are probably not the only person your preferred references are writing for. So, it is in your best interest to give your references plenty of time. We recommend contacting them 6-8 weeks before the deadline, if possible.

If you want further advice about getting a reference, please reach out to the E.E. Just Program.

Sample Emails

Below are some email templates you can use for reaching out to faculty.

Prospective Research Mentor 

Dear Prof. X:

I hope this note finds you doing well. I'm a '27 in AA House, originally from BB. I recently took a course in CC and was intrigued by DD. After scanning department web pages, I noticed that some of your research touches on themes related to DD andI'm wondering whether you might have time in the coming days to talk about possible research opportunities within your group. In particular, I recently learned about the E.E. Just Summer Internship, which provides funding and other support for first-years to conduct full-time STEM research with a Dartmouth faculty member, and I'd like to explore whether you might be able to serve as my research advisor through this program.

Thank you  for considering this request.

<Your Name>

Prospective Faculty Reference

Dear Prof X,

I hope this note finds you doing well. As you might recall, I was a student in your course AA during the BB term. I am currently considering my options for the summer and am interested in applying for an E.E. Just Summer Internship, which provides funding and other support for first-years to conduct full-time STEM research with a Dartmouth faculty member. As part of the application process, I need a letter of recommendation from a faculty member or advisor and I'm wondering whether you'd be willing to write on my behalf. I'd be more than willing to meet with you in the coming days to tell you more about the internship program and discuss my interest in STEM and the mission of the E.E. Just Program.

Thank you for considering this request

<Your Name>