How to ask for a letter of recommendation from Katy

Get the best letter of reference from me.

Listing me as a reference

I would prefer that you do not list me as a reference unless you have asked me first whether I would be willing to support your application.

Who I will write for

I am very happy to write a letter of reference for most people who:

  • took at least one course from me
  • worked in my research group
  • collaborated with me or my research group
  • or interacted with me in some other way relevant to the application

In all cases, I consider letter writing an exercise in integrity. I seek to be simultaneously as honest and generous as possible. Given this, please use your judgement, based on our past interactions, about whether I would be a good reference. If you are unsure about what kind of letter I would write for you, perhaps I am the wrong choice of reference.


If you’re ok with all of this, please write me a pleasant formal email indicating that you have read this information:

  • Please make your request well in advance (at least a few weeks) before it will be due.
  • Please don’t forget to write a professional email.

I’m going to need some information. Most importantly, if I don’t see you on a daily basis, please remind me how we know one another and when we met (what year).

Please also provide:

  • Your up-to-date CV or resume,
  • including your GPA and student status.
  • A list of where the letters will go,
  • ideally with links to descriptions of those positions,
  • and the due dates for the references.
  • Will they call me, ask for a letter via email, or send a form?
  • Why do you think you are a good candidate?
  • Are there any specific guidelines for the letter?

For grad school, scholarship, or academic job market applications, in particular, I could be helped by:

  • Relevant application material (e.g. research statement, teaching statement, statement of intent)
  • A reminder about any particular feature of you or your work that you are hoping I will address.

If you were a student in my course(s)

Please remind me:

  • which course(s) you took
  • what semester(s) and year(s)
  • what grade(s) you were awarded
  • particular elements of your performance that you are proud of

If you conducted research work with me:

Please remind me:

  • When did you begin working for me?
  • When did you cease to work for me?
  • What were your major responsibilities?
  • What work are you most proud of?

If you know me through a student organization (ANS, WiN, THW… )

Please remind me:

  • When was this?
  • What student organization(s) were you involved in?
  • What were our primary interactions?
  • What kinds of activities were you involved in?
  • Did you occupy an executive committee position (please list, with dates)?
  • What are you most proud of regarding this activity?