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 traditionally 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)