AEMB Answers – Apr 2014

What are some good places to get a quick bite to eat near the Whitaker Building?

There are several places to get some good food and drink in and around the Biotech Quad. The first that you should know of by now is the Le Petit Café in the lobby of the Parker H. Petit Biotechnology Building. While sometimes known as the place for Coffee Snobs, it remains the closest to the biomedical engineering building. In addition to serving coffee, sandwiches, and soups much like any other café, Le Petit Café often has daily specials available, such as tacos, salads or wraps that are worth trying. For instance, I personally enjoy the smoothies there!

Moving away from the Petit building and across the quad stands the Lab Café and the Colony Bistro. The Lab Café is mainly a coffee shop with some small items that are similar to what one can get at a Starbucks. On the other hand, the Colony Bistro is more of a sit-down place with a little more variety as far as food goes. A short trek away is Java World in the College of Computing which has a good selection of coffee, bagels, cookies, and sandwiches. If all of this is still not fast enough, vending machines are located near the rear of the Petit building, on the first floor of the Ford Building, and on the upper floors of the Whitaker building.

How do you go about finding an internship or summer program this late into the semester?

GT students’ number one resource should be Paul Fincannon and Sally Gerrish. Pay attention to all of the emails that they send out to the student body, as they will often send out information on internships or research programs that are still looking for applicants. Upon receiving these emails, respond to them as soon as possible as to avoid missing an opportunity. The academic office also has a great relationship with biomedical engineering alumni currently in the workforce. If one is getting into the hunt late, then one may really need some help from such a network. However, keep an eye open for opportunities on Career Buzz as well, and begin searching for programs online. Talk to friends and classmates to find out about some of their experiences. Put simply, ask around. One has a better chance of successfully getting an internship or summer program through expanding one’s network.

What are some good guidelines to follow when sending emails to professors?

Honestly, some people have different expectations with email than others do. This difference occurs in academia and in industry, but there a few good general guidelines to follow. If the person to be emailed has previously stated that they prefer that you follow certain email etiquette, then make sure to do it exactly as specified, or else a response may never arrive. If there are no guidelines, keep in mind to at least be respectful and courteous. Most often, the three main areas where people may make a careless error are in the subject line, the greeting, and the signature or farewell. Be sure to choose a descriptive and concise subject that can give the receiver a quick idea of what the body of the email will be about. This is especially helpful for scenarios in which the receiver needs to go back and find your email again.

Meanwhile, for the greeting, it is better to play it safe and be courteous in the first email, such as by using “dear”, and then adapt depending on the response. Although this can be rather inappropriate at times, it is a relatively safe fallback to use. “Hey”, “Hi”, or simply stating the receiver’s name could potentially be offensive and could be viewed as being too formal and thus inconsiderate. Depending on how the intended receiver responds, change future emails to mirror their style of email etiquette. This same tactic also applies to the brevity of your email. Some people prefer very short, blunt emails, while, confusingly, others take a little offense if you are too terse. Finally, for signatures, make sure to finish with something simple like “thanks” or “best” although simply putting a name at the end followed by a title is also acceptable if the body of the email was relatively amiable as well.