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Okay, so I accepted a fellowship which ties me to a somewhat narrow area of research (which I am definitely interested in) for my first two years of grad school. However, I'd also like to try a different research area that I was also interested in. Since I can't do that one as part of my fellowship, I'd have to do it on top of my research fellowship. Or, of course, I could wait until after my fellowship was complete to research in the other lab, but that would probably set me back a bit for earning my degree. Is it possible for me to work in the second lab on a somewhat part-time basis to gain experience with the field before my fellowship is over? Any advice would be appreciated.
That's between you and your research adviser(s). It sounds like your fellowship has some stipulations, so you probably have some obligations to a primary research adviser. If you are RAing while taking classes your RA will probably be for 20 hours a week. If you actually have a few spare hours a week on top of this and classes and another person agrees to let you work in their lab part time, then why not? They aren't paying you. I'll be amazed if you have the time though...