Information for students applying to stuff…

Writing an Abstract

Writing a scientific abstract for a conference presentation or a manuscript can be hard!  There is a lot to try and say in a very short space.  There is also an important balance that must be struck between general background information, specific experimental methods used, and results obtained.  This is a very helpful set of tips (with many examples!) to help you get started with writing your abstract: Components of a Competitive Abstract.

Asking for a letter of recommendation:

Start out by first asking your professor (in person or via email) whether they would be willing to write a letter of recommendation for you — and include the due date of the letter.  Ideally, you’ll be giving your letter writer plenty of time — at least two weeks — although more is optimal!

Things that Prof. Liu asks for when writing a letter:

  1. Your CV / resume
  2. A personal statement addressing why you are applying to the program/fellowship/position
  3. A statement of things that you would like her to mention in her letter


For more information on how to apply to a summer research position or to graduate school in chemistry (or a closely related field), see the following guides:

A Guide to Applying to a Research Lab

A Guide to Working in a Research Lab

How to Apply to Graduate School

Pomona Students: If you would like to be put in contact with some Pomona alumni who are currently in a Ph.D. program, please contact Prof. Liu


Some starting points to look for summer research/enrichment opportunities:

NSF REU sites

Summer Programs (emphasis on minoritized students)

Summer Programs (with a link to those for non U.S. citizens or permanent residents)


Information on the post-college job search:

Career Opportunities in the Government Sector


Find out more about….

(This is the NIH-funded post-doctoral training program that Prof. Liu was a part of)

The American Society for Microbiology
(This society provides some great scholarships and educational programs for undergraduate students)

The American Chemical Society
(In particular, several Pomona grads were ACS Scholars!)