Blogger Gerty-Z would like to "get [her] lab kick-started this year" with a few good graduate students, and knows that the MD/PhD and other multidisciplinary programs at her institution are good places to search for candidates. But, she says, "In order to get any of these students to join my lab, I first need to convince them to rotate." Her solution? To present a persuasive poster at an upcoming session organized by one of the "umbrella" programs. "It's like a bizarro-world 'social': The PIs are supposed to stand up and give posters and the students mill about getting 'familiar' with the faculty," Gerty-Z explains, adding "I never had PIs standing next to a poster to woo me."
In comments to this post, some PIs share their advice on how best to incite excitement about their research in potential recruits. JaySeeDub points out that "enthusiasm" is of utmost importance, and adds: "It really wasn't the posters or the catalog description that got me interested in" a particular lab rotation, rather "it was getting a chance to talk to the PI and the people in the lab. If they sounded like they were really into what they were doing, then I felt that it was something that I probably shouldn't pass up." Odessey adds that Gerty-Z should "keep it simple," as it will leave "the door open for questions from the students — which lets you interact with them more and gives you some insight into the students doing the asking." And should she choose to keep it really simple, Gerty-Z might opt to "hand out free beer and bacon," as Jason Goldman facetiously suggests.