Driven by Curiosity

Posted on March 14, 2006

J. Steven Reznick (bio) describes what he wants to see in students who work in his research lab.

 

My research accomplishments have almost entirely been based on working with good undergraduates and good graduate students. I have had the opportunity to hire some professional staff, but for the most part, if I look back at my greatest hits, they're papers written with graduate students and undergraduates. Their input is always useful in the process.

As far as finding good students to work with, it's hard to say exactly what you look for. Of course, in the infancy world you look for people who are comfortable with babies. That's important, but I think the main thing I look for is someone who is driven by curiosity. If a person is just doing research because it's the next step, that is to me less impressive than somebody who comes in and seems to have some real curiosity about some aspect of development because it's the curiosity that drives you to have questions, and it is the questions that causes you to have hypotheses. Our whole endeavor is based on testing hypotheses, and so if a person doesn't have the questions, then they're not going to be able to work the equipment well.

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Excerpted from interview with researcher in January 2006.

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