Haynes:Volunteer Policy

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<-- Back to Personnel: Undergraduate Volunteers


Last edited: 01/07/2017

Many of the 70,000+ undergraduates at ASU are seeking hands-on lab experience to supplement and enrich their coursework. In the Haynes lab, we are excited to consider talented and motivated undergraduates who are are good fit with the group. The Haynes Lab's Volunteer Program is designed to meet specific career needs of select student volunteers, while in turn making sure that the needs of the lab (reliable and learning-motivated assistance from undergrads) are being met.

Volunteering in the Haynes lab is not a "come all" type of opportunity. We do offer a fun and exciting environment, but only for select applicants who are serious about scientific work and are a good fit.

What the Volunteer Program IS

Specific benefits that the Haynes lab CAN offer to student volunteers are

  • Positive career referrals from Haynes lab members
  • Positive letters of reference from Dr. Haynes
  • Enhancing your pre-existing scientific talent with specific skills related to molecular cell biology
  • An opportunity for interested students to apply for a funded project in the Haynes lab (e.g., FURI, SOLUR, etc.)
  • Opportunities to attend lab meetings and to learn about current projects
  • An opportunity to complete a "Cloning Bootcamp" to learn the basics of molecular cloning in a real research lab

These benefits can only be obtained IF the volunteer

  • Interacts on a regular basis with most of the lab members throughout the ENTIRE semester
  • Does a good job or shows dramatic improvement
  • Has pre-existing scientific talent, organization skills, and a good work ethic
  • Expresses convincing interest in the work being done in the lab throughout the entire volunteer cycle
  • Is not already committed to additional labs (no double/ triple dipping!)

What the Volunteer Program IS NOT

There exists an assumption that "doing hours" in a lab has a general, undefined career benefit, like getting points on an assignment or doing hours in a business office as an intern. This idea may have been promoted by some advisors, staff, or students on campus and may be true for some labs. However, this intangible "benefit" does not really exist in the Haynes lab.

Benefits that the Haynes lab CANNOT offer to student volunteers are

  • Reporting your good performance to your program (e.g., BME, Chemistry, etc.) and advisors
  • Writing letters of reference based on just "doing hours" with no genuine interaction with lab members
  • ISAAC access to ISTB4 for reasons other than consistently volunteering for the Haynes lab
  • Being "present", but not being actively and productively engaged in science. We no longer support lab-operations-only positions.


Process of Joining the Lab as a Volunteer

  • Step 1: Prospective volunteer will complete the volunteer interest survey. Responses will be reviewed by Dr. Haynes and current lab members.
  • Step 2: Approved prospective volunteers will meet with at least three current Haynes lab members and discuss the volunteer's interest in the lab. The lab members must unanimously approve of the volunteer.
  • Step 3: Safety training will be completed by the invited volunteer. The volunteer will request ISAAC access to ISTB4 and begin working.

Availability of Volunteer Positions

  • Typically 2 or 3 new slots each year.
  • The number of positions is subject to change each semester. Once positions are filled, we will not accept new volunteers until a current volunteer leaves their post.


  • Undergrad volunteers are expected to be research-focused and devote at least 5 hours per week in the lab working with a mentor.
  • Undergrad volunteers are also expected to assist their mentor with general lab duties such as glassware washing, waste disposal, package pick-up, etc.
  • Invited volunteers will undergo a probationary period of two weeks. If the volunteer's performance meets expectations, the volunteer will be invited to stay for the full semester. Otherwise the volunteer will be dismissed from the lab.
  • We cannot accept volunteers who have split time commitments with multiple labs. Your mentor's time is valuable and deserves to be taken very seriously. Split time commitments lead to unwelcome stress, drama, and even damage to experiments because the volunteer cannot remember details about essential protocols and policies. "If you've worked in one lab you've worked in them all" is a false and harmful idea.

Commitment to the Full Semester

Each person assigned to a duty may be contacted by lab members and/or Dr. Haynes if we notice that the assigned duty has been neglected. If no improvement is seen, the volunteer will be dismissed from his/her position. The dismissed volunteer will not be entitled to any of the benefits outlined in the description above.