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Prospective trainees interested in independent research experiences are encouraged to contact faculty directly regarding available opportunities.Most faculty at Huntsman Cancer Institute are in the Cancer Center Members list, which is organized by research program. Research is divided into categories: laboratory, clinical, and population-based efforts.

Guide to Securing a Research Internship

  1. Update your resume and write a brief statement about your goals and research interests.
  2. Go to the Huntsman Cancer Institute Cancer Investigator Directory. In the left-hand column, click the “lab website” tab. Start visiting those for more information. Does the research align with your interests and career goals?
  3. Draft an email to each faculty member you identified from step two. Focus on creating a quality, individualized email, NOT a generic bulk email. Consider including the following:
    • A brief introduction of yourself, including education level and career goals
    • Your interest in the research
    • Your skills and how you could contribute
    • How much time you could commit and when you could start (i.e. all summer, part-time for the entire school year)
    • Be sure to attach your resume and the summary statement you wrote in step one. Consider starting with 5-7 faculty members.
  4. Have a mentor, teacher, or friend review your email.
  5. Send it out! Wait two days for a response. If you don't get one, feel free to follow up. Faculty members get a lot of emails in a day so it may get lost in the shuffle. If they are unable to provide a learning experience for you don’t get discouraged! This process is time intensive and takes a lot of tries.
  6. Repeat the steps until you have secured an internship.

Guide to Contacting Faculty

Reaching Out to Faculty Members

Do: Write a specific email that addresses your interest in their specific research. What skills do you have? What makes you a good fit for their lab?

Don't: Write a bulk email and send it out as a "catch all". This may seem convenient but this technique does not grab the attention of faculty.

Searching for Faculty Members

Do: Use the Cancer Investigator Directory. It will provide you a list of all faculty members. In the table, you will see names, emails, research programs, and links to respective lab pages. Explore faculty profile pages and lab pages to see what cancer topic they are specifically interested in.

Don't: Email a faculty member without looking at their faculty profile and lab webpage.

Emailing Potential Research Mentors

Do: Address the faculty member as "Dr.", and use a professional tone throughout your email.

Don't: Do not use casual language or emojis in your initial inquiry.

Learning More about Potential Research Mentors

Do: Look to see if the faculty member has a track record of hosting trainees. This information should be on their web page. Although faculty members value providing learning experiences, some have do not take trainees.

Don't: Don't base your inquiry solely on the research interest.

Staying Positive

Do: Prepare to write a lot of thoughtfully planned emails.

Don't: Get discouraged. If you are having difficulties reach out to our program manager, contact us.

Additional Resources

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) at the University of Utah – If faculty members are unable to provide a paid research experience, and you are an undergraduate student at the University of Utah, you can apply for funding though UROP.