Joining my research lab

I frequently get emails from students outside Tufts asking if they can join my research lab. Since I don’t have the time to respond to everyone individually, I’m sharing a general response here.

First things first: I don’t have a research lab. My title at Tufts is lecturer, which means I get to spend my time teaching rather than purusing grants and running a lab. However, I am open to co-advising students or working with undergraduates whose interests align with mine. If you’re a Tufts student, come find me in my office some time and we’ll talk.

If you are not a Tufts student and are interested in working with me, you should do some background work and then send me an email. Three things are critical:

  1. Be very specific about what aspect of my work interests you, and why you want to work with me. Statements like “I am interested in your research projects” or “I was fascinated by research work pursued by you and your team especially in the fields of ‘embedded systems, camera systems, image processing’” make it clear that you have no idea what I actually work on. Take the time to read a few of my papers, and explain what you think is interesting about them.

  2. Be specific about what you want to work on. You don’t need to have your PhD research all planned out, but you should have some concrete ideas for projects you would like to try. Generic statements like “I want to work on embedded systems” don’t help. Again, look at my work and think about what improvements and extensions might be possible.

  3. You need to have applied to the Tufts PhD program. Because I don’t have research funding, I don’t have any sway in the application process in terms of admitting individual students.

Finally, I should add that these apply to any professor — merely blasting out unsolicited emails to every faculty member in the world who has “image processing” as a research topic is unlikely to get a response. However, if you’ve taken the time to read a few papers and can comment intelligently on them, then you might actually get a reply.

Best wishes in your endeavors, research and otherwise.