Today due to the increasing complexity of scientific research problems, research is often carried out by several individuals working together as a team. All the members of your team will not necessarily be scientists or engineers though they likely have a strong background in a science of technology-related field. You may find yourself working closely with graphics designers, accountants, lawyers, etc. You will find good people skills and good communications skills important assets when involved in team efforts.
Your research advisor is the person who will oversee your project in the research laboratory. Frequently students are involved in undergraduate research experiences that take place in colleges or universities. There, your advisor is most likely to be a professor, a faculty member affiliated with a specific academic department. However, you may be supervised by a postdoctoral student, graduate student or a laboratory technician. If you are involved in a research experience at a government laboratory or at a company, you are likely to work as a member of a team that is supervised by several individuals at different levels within the organization. Your immediate supervisor most likely has some advanced degree – a M.S. or Ph.D.
Professional titles are not simply for “show.” A title tells you a great deal of information concerning the level of experience, professional reputation, and the responsibilities that an individual has within an organization. In this section we will discuss the significance of the titles of some of the individuals you are likely to encounter during an undergraduate research experience.