While driving home after Fall Term, Maris Daleo ’21 and Anna Hughes ’21 were both reflecting on what led them to want to pursue careers in research. They had entered Carleton with a love for STEM, but Hughes noted that they both felt “narrowed into one career path”—pre-vet and pre-med respectively.
It wasn’t until she took introductory biology classes, shadowed medical professionals and studied abroad that Hughes—a chemistry major and math minor—became aware of STEM careers that were not related to medicine. Daleo, a biology and studio art double major, realized that she was interested after gaining some experience in the field.
This past fall, Hughes explained, she and Daleo “spent a lot of time scrambling to navigate the graduate school application process” and wished they had been given more guidance throughout.
According to Hughes, she and Daleo came to the conclusion that “Carleton does not provide a lot of guidance for students that are in STEM, but are not pre-med, and sometimes students may not even know what questions to ask.” Thus, the idea for the Carleton Association for Careers in Research was born.
Hughes and Daleo quickly put their plan into action. According to Daleo, they first established that the new student organization would need to “provide an inclusive scientific community on campus for students interested in research.” They sought to cover important steps like writing scientific CVs, asking for letters of recommendation, reading scientific papers and applying to graduate schools.
These technical aspects were ones that Hughes and Daleo would have found extremely beneficial as underclassmen, and were excited to share. Additionally, said Daleo, they hoped that the organization would “create an inclusive and welcoming community on campus of students with similar interests in STEM or research where students can talk about science, share their own research, or find information necessary for them to pursue their passions.”
Once CSA approved the Carleton Association for Careers in Research, the student organization began to meet for the first time this term. Hughes described the central goals as “introducing underclassmen to other careers in STEM outside traditional paths like medicine, [and helping] them find research opportunities and be more prepared to apply to graduate school or simply have a better understanding of what STEM careers exist.”
So far, according to Daleo, meetings have also been serving as general Q&A sessions. “For example, we just had a club meeting about obtaining REU [Research Experiences for Undergraduates] programs and other research internships because that is what our members said they wanted to know more about,” she said.
Attendees are always encouraged to ask specific questions, and Hughes and Daleo do their best to answer them from their own experiences.
The two also hope to incorporate guest speakers, including having students in labs and professors share about their research.
The organization is off to a great start, and Hughes and Daleo are excited for its future. Hughes said they also “hope to start a journal club where we read up on current research in different science disciplines to both develop our current understanding of the field and improve our skills of reading and asking questions about scientific literature.”
Daleo said she and Hughes want students to know that “the club is just beginning, and we’re open to designing meetings around what students are interested in or need help with!”
Correction: Feb. 5, 2021 — this article has been updated from the original print version to correct an issue in which some statements were ambiguously attributed to both Hughes and Daleo.