This month, Shiv Gaglani, a member of the Harvard College class of 2010, along with a group of four accomplished Harvard graduates and current students published a book called Success with Science: The Winnders’ Guide to High School Research. We have a copy of it here in the MAS office, so I took a look through it to see what kinds of suggestions Shiv and his co-writers had for high school students. I, for one, have never read a publication like this before. I could have really used a book like this when I was in high school, or even in college. As a young researcher who started his work in 9th grade, Shiv knows all of the ins-and-outs of doing research in high school. The book basically contains a step-by-step guide on how to begin exploring your scientific interests with tons of invaluable tips to help you on the way.
As an undergraduate researcher myself, I often have trouble explaining to younger students, mentees, or anyone who is interested, how to get started. I ended up in a lab almost by mistake. For a long time, I didn’t know that undergraduates could do independent research, let alone a high school student. I did know that I wanted to further explore Microbiology, but wasn’t sure how, so I began talking to advisers, older students, and professors about where to start. I applied for several REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) programs, but many of them were looking for students who already had lab/research experience so I didn’t exactly have a chance. Fortunately, a professor I had been talking to was looking to take on an undergraduate in her lab, and since I was going to be on campus for the summer, she offered me a position with her. I was thrilled, but barely prepared for the job. It took quite a bit of time and learning before I felt comfortable with what I was doing. I still feel as though a high school research experience could have made all the different. College or even graduate school isn’t too late, but I’ve noticed that the earlier students are engaged in research, the more confident they are and that makes all the difference.
If you’re a high school student, or even an undergraduate, I really suggest reading Success with Science. You’ll find tons of helpful information about when, why and how to become a researcher! It’s available on Amazon and if you want to learn more about or get a preview of the book go to http://www.successwithscience.org. You should also check out Shiv’s website http://www.shivgaglani.com to learn more about who he is.
Written by Eden Ketema