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 A few questions about iSci...

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Posts : 7
Join date : 2012-08-07

PostSubject: A few questions about iSci...   Sun May 19, 2013 1:41 pm

Hey everyone,

I recently accepted my offer to iSci and I had a few questions about a couple of different things.

Well, I really enjoy the sciences (obviously) but I also have a passion for computer science. I was wondering if it would be possible to do iSci and also a minor in computer science. From what I understand, computer science is part of the engineering department, so I'm not really sure how easy it will to get a minor in comp sci. I was thinking about taking linear algebra as one of my electives (because I plan to concentrate in physics), and taking my other elective in computer science. However, if I won't be able to do a minor in computer science , I might just end up taking astronomy instead.

Also, for residence, which ones are closest to the iSci buildings? I was planning to go for a single room residence, and I also want to go for a place that will be close by, but I'm not very familiar with the campus.

Lastly, I have been doing some reading on the iSci website, and it looks like a couple of kids who completed their first year of iSci were able to work with professors during the summer and help them with their research. That's quite an accomplishment for a first year student. I was wondering, how difficult is it to get research opportunities in the summer, whether it be for a first year student or a fourth year student or whatever. I think it would be amazing to be doing research in the summer, especially after year 1 of iSci, but it seems like it would be really tough to get a summer job like that.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Victoria Tweedie



Posts : 15
Join date : 2011-05-06
Age : 24

PostSubject: Re: A few questions about iSci...   Wed May 22, 2013 8:59 pm

Hello there,

First, congratulations on your acceptance and I can't wait to meet you in the fall!
I can't speak specifically to minoring in computer science, you might have to wait for a later reply for that one!
Well, first it's important to understand that there isn't specifically an 'iSci Building', that being said we have been fortunate enough to have been allowed to have to ourselves to third floor of Thode Library. The closest residences to Thode Library are Mary Keyes (Suite Style), Bates (Apartment Style), Moulton (Triple and Single Rooms) and Matthews (Double and Single Rooms).
In terms of summer research it is common that student will volunteer with a professor the first summer they express an interest in their research and then work with them the next. You can definitely talk to upper year students once school starts about this one. They can really lend you advice about how to approach professors, the best timing and stuff like that!

All the best!
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Charles Yin



Posts : 27
Join date : 2010-05-05
Age : 24
Location : Hamilton

PostSubject: Re: A few questions about iSci...   Thu May 23, 2013 6:26 pm

Hello,

First of all, I would like to second Victoria's congratulations.

While I'm not minoring in computer science myself, it should theoretically be possible if you plan out your courses correctly. If you haven't already, see: http://registrar.mcmaster.ca/calendar/2012-13/pg1201.html for the course requirements for computer science.

Even if you aren't able to minor in computer science, it should still be possible to apply knowledge of programming in many of the iSci projects over your degree.

McMaster has a very small campus, so distance between residence and classrooms shouldn't really be a problem. Even from the furthest residence, it should only take 10-15min to walk to any other building on campus.

Finally, as one of the people in iSci who did work in a lab after the first year, I would say that finding a position in a lab is easier than what most people would expect, but you might have to be flexible on whether or not it is a paid position. I think that most professors are very happy to have you working in their lab if you show genuine interest and they have space/time available in the lab.

However, not very many professors will have independent funding to support an undergraduate in a summer job. You'll notice that most of the iSci's who had summer jobs have held funding from either the university (McWork or another internal grant) or the government (NSERC, etc.). But I think it would definitely be possible to get at least a volunteer position in lab after first year. If you do want more information about how to apply for research positions, you might like to check out MURSA (http://www.mursa.ca/), a club that helps undergraduates at McMaster apply for research positions.

I hope that this helps!
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Prateek Gupta
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Posts : 408
Join date : 2009-12-23
Age : 26

PostSubject: Re: A few questions about iSci...   Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:41 pm

I know people have taken CompSci electives, and have developed a great coding background.

Three students in my year heavily used computer science in their thesis.  One was to program a visualization software interface for molecular interactions, another was to model fractal development.

Minoring in a subject in iSci, in general is hard, but minors are very "minor" in the long-run.  If you simply state you have a working background in computer science on your CV or resume, that will go a long way.

Tons of students work in labs after first year! Volunteer or paid.  Start talking to professors soon and try to develop some connections.
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