While I haven’t officially started at SnowU, I am essentially preparing when I do start. Aside from looking over class notes, preparing a new lecture, and lining up my proposal schedule, I need to find students. SnowU has been very good about identifying potential students for me and I will get a chance to pitch my research to new students before they generally make their decisions about a PhD advisor.
So this past weekend, I worked on a few advertisements about the first few projects I want to run. I initially started with the generic Background, Project Description, Responsibilities, etc. After writing a little bit, I took a break and then looked them over. There were two things that struck me upon rereading the advertisements: 1) these say nothing about my personality or about how I would run my group and 2) I certainly wouldn’t want to work for myself based on what I read.
I scrapped those and started over again. I started to go with ads that were essentially personals. One of the headlines for a laser project was Wanted: Cute Redheaded Laser seeks crafty Engineer for a Controlling Relationship”. I know it sounds cheesy but that’s certainly more eye catchy than Project Title: Control of Red HeNe Lasers. I thought those might get me into a little bit of trouble, so I started over again.
In the end, I settled on a format that shows a little bit of personality, a little bit of my quirkiness, and tells a little bit about what I expect from students, while still mentioning the basics like project description, etc. These are much more to my liking, while still be on the good side of professional.
When you were a first year student roaming the halls, what caught your eye on the bulletin board? If you didn’t have a specific advisor in mind, would you take a chance on “The New Prof”? I tend to think (and did so for my MS) students prefer to work with a well established Prof because they think that will help them in the long run. For my PhD, I worked for a new Prof, was still successful, but was almost in spite of my Prof. Is that still the current sentiment? Would you work for a Prof whose position advertisements start with Quirky New Engineering Prof Seeks Passionate, Creative Student for a Professional Research Relationship?