At UC Berkeley, I spoke to many undergraduates like that. Most of them, perhaps 90%, were working in a lab because they thought it would help them get into medical school. Almost none were interested in a research career. All of them were being supervised by graduate students and had little or no contact with the “top investigator”. Because of the mismatch between what working in the lab could teach (what research was actually like) and what the students wanted to do (which wasn’t research) the “educational value” was slight. Knapp fails to understand this basic point about education: It matters what the student wants. Almost none of them, even at UC Berkeley, want to be scientists.
Again, Seth Roberts is worth reading.
check me out at posterous here.