Sunday, September 7, 2008

I would like to volunteer in Research in your department

Dear Doctor,
I am Medical Student Graduate from India .I would like to volunteer in Research in your department .I can put 8 hrs daily and make commitment for a year. My sister is in [medical program in your city] doing her DMD program ,that is what fascinated me to volunteer in [your university].
My Crediantials are :
1.Degree :Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of surgery Dec'o7 from Government medical school ,patiala ,India.
2.USMLE Step1- 85 percentile.
3.USMLE Step2- 91percentile.
4.USMLE Step CSA- 9/30/08 skills :Excel,Microsoft Word ,Power Point presentation,Data management,Windows operting System,Trouble shooting.
With detailed knowledge in medicine , i can prove my selves if given opportunity in your research.
I promise for hard work,commitment and team work.
I am looking forward to hear from you soon.
Thank you so much,
In anticipation,

I wrote back

Dear xxxx
I conduct behavioral science research and thus your expertise and interests are too far from mine.

I advise you to read about the research of the different faculty you find in the Boston area. Then pick the faculty whose research you like and write a tailored letter to that person. The tailored-letter approach has a higher probability of success and will also result in a position that matches your interests. In 1999 I received such a request to volunteer in my laboratory from a scientist from Turkey who had recently received her Ph.D. from Istanbul University. She sold family property in order to fund her own way to the U.S., but after working with me for two years she had several English language publications and is now a successful researcher in Turkey. We now continue to collaborate and have a rich binational partnership.

My point is that volunteering can serve to give you valuable training, but established U.S. scientists may not respond to an indiscriminate letter, and may even view it as spam.

Also, you need to write in standard, professional English, which means using standard punctuation (no small i for I, use comma and period correctly).

Good luck with your search,

Readers: How would you answer this mail? Ignore it? Are there websites with information to help foreign scientists make contact with a U.S. researcher? I was wondering how this person obtained my email since he didn't seem to know my name, he apparently only knew my university from the acronym before the edu on my university email. Do you think there are now services that sell the emails of researchers in a certain area?

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