The Hot Undergrad
Although you might not realize it, the real reason you’re doing science in a lab is so you can study her. She’s intimidatingly smarter than you, but a touch of clumsiness and nerdiness make her the lovable. She’s hot enough to melt the agar off your petri dish, to thaw your vials, to graduate your cylinder.
Usually a post-doc, they’re the ones who are either 1) forced to show you the ropes, and/or 2) patient enough to put up with you. But overall, they’re caring and sympathetic, willing to accept you as a member of the lab. They’ll demystify the details of lab protocol, showing you the ins and outs of complicated procedures. Regardless of whether they’re male or female, The Trainer will be your mom during your time in lab, offering guidance wherever it is or isn’t due.
The Hairy Guy
Typically bearded and buff. This guy’s usually extremely busy. And if not, he looks busy. When he’s not flitting around the lab looking after his own errands, he’ll be doing the work no one else wants to do. He’s friendly, but don’t get on his bad side. He’s devoted to his work and it’s difficult to determine what he’s actually like outside the lab. If anything, he’s an underrated contributor to the lab’s pursuits. Respect him.
The English-Is-My-Second-Language Person
They’ll speak in a thickly slathered-on accent, barely interpretable as English. Whatever words you do make out won’t be enough to puzzle together what they’re saying. You’ll be lost while they’re talking to you, and they’ll be lost while you’re talking to them. Unless they’re a pivotal member in your own research project, the best thing to do is avoid them, straight up.
Not necessarily discernible from the person described above. Although it might not be outwardly apparent, they know a great deal about the research they’re doing. They work diligently and don’t like to be distracted. They live for deadlines and aim to please the PI and the PI alone. They could care less about a high school student like you so approach them only when absolutely necessary. Otherwise, if they have one, enjoy their accent.
Don’t know what a PI is? Read this!