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National Science Foundation ( NSF)

Undergraduate Research Assistant

June - August 2018 • Ellensburg, WA

What I liked

This was a part of the National Science Foundation's Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program. It was a great opportunity to gain experience in research, working with a professor and other undergraduates in a field that you are interested in. During my time, I did both field work and lab work and learned a lot about how scientists study the past environment. I also am going to get to present my research at the Northwest Climate Conference in October and the research will eventually be published in a scientific journal. I would highly recommend it!

What I wish was different

Advice

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Undergraduate Researcher

May - July 2017 • Athens, GA

What I liked

NSF REU programs are a great way for undergraduates to get summer research experience and test out different fields of interest. You also get great mentorship and sometimes even get publications from a summer's worth of work.

What I wish was different

Advice

Apply to everything you can. Apply to things you don't think you're qualified for as well as things you maybe think you are overqualified for. You never know where you'll end up fitting best, and it can't hurt to try different things.
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Research Intern

June - August 2018 • Menomonie, WI

What I liked

I worked with a group of 8 interns all working on advancing the same environmental issue in the town of Menomonie, WI. I liked that the program was very interdisciplinary and not everyone was focusing on the same project but we all had the same goal.

What I wish was different

I wish I had had a different mentor who worked better alongside the rest of the interns. The other three mentors were much more helpful than mine, but my resulting project was still very important and helpful.

Advice

I would advise people to research who they are looking to work for more than I did. I was very excited to work with my mentor until it actually came time to work with him. Make sure you do research on the place and the person you want to work under.
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Undergraduate Research Assistant

May - August 2018 • Madison, WI

What I liked

It was a great experience to learn how to work in a lab and see what a larger university was like. It helped to give me a lot of insight into what graduate school will be like, and what my future career options are.

What I wish was different

I wish I would have spent longer than 10 weeks there.

Advice

Apply early, work hard on personal statement.
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Student Researcher

May 2018 • Sioux Center, IA

What I liked

international travel, good faculty, great research experience

What I wish was different

training in statistical programs such as R, SPSS

Advice

pursue any and all experiences possible, you never know where it will lead you to. additionally, learn from your fellow interns and faculty mentors available to you
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Research Experience for Undergraduates Intern

May - August 2018 • Charleston, SC

What I liked

I was exposed to government and institutional biology research at a host of organizations in Charleston. It was very nice to hear from those that came from a variety of backgrounds and found their way into research. The fieldwork volunteering opportunities were excellent.

What I wish was different

The research environment in my lab was not quite what I was expecting. While REUs (Research Experience for Undergraduates) are meant to introduce you to many of the aspects of basic research, it would have been nice to have a better idea of what I was getting into with my particular lab group.

Advice

I applied to 17 internships for the summer, and this was the only one I got. Part of the thing was, I applied for many REUs, which generally target applicants with little to no research experience. I had a pretty decent amount of research experience from when I studied abroad, so in some sense I was likely overqualified. I would say, do your research well in advance, and find summer internships that you are likely to be a good candidate for, and just apply. Don't be afraid to apply for competitive internships, because you might as well try! Also don't be afraid to apply to places far from home, if the job/internship covers living expenses. I can't stress enough how important it is to get out of your comfort zone. While there were things I would have preferred to have gone differently in Charleston, it was great to at least get out of my comfort zone and truly discover what I like and what I dislike.
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Cancer Researcher

June - August 2018 • Cleveland, OH

What I liked

I liked working with a biosensor and enjoyed the wet lab experience. I really enjoyed hearing the pros and cons of graduate school. I also enjoyed the flexibility of my schedule and the learning opportunities that the REU program provides.

What I wish was different

Advice

I would suggest participation in an REU program if you want to determine whether graduate research programs are in your future. I would encourage people to participate if they are unsure if it is the right choice for them. It helped me pick a path.
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Student Researcher

June - August 2018 • Nairobi, Kenya

What I liked

I really enjoyed learning about a new culture and traveling. It was also my first time doing field work in pastoralist communities.

What I wish was different

Advice

Overall,no matter how much you have or don't have happiness comes from the heart.
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Intern

May 2018 • Tucson, AZ

What I liked

Gaining meaningful experience.

What I wish was different

More time doing the research.

Advice

Do background research on projects.
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Computer Science Intern

May - August 2018 • Corpus Christi, TX

What I liked

Good pay, good experience.

What I wish was different

The program’s selection of students could have been better.

Advice

Needs more female involvement!
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Math Research

June - July 2018 • Saint Marys City, MD

What I liked

I loved being thrown into a project and learning along the way. I was given independence, the mentors trusting us in our approaches and how we spent our time. It was also a very broadening and inspiring experience, as all of the mentors were very supportive and truly wanted us to succeed.

What I wish was different

Certain problems of group dynamics made my time there more emotionally taxing than I would've liked, but that wasn't the fault of the program - c'est la vie. They listened to our frustrations every step of the way and took the measures necessary to fix the problems.

Advice

Even if you think getting into an REU is a long shot, or you feel unprepared, it doesn't hurt to take a shot. I'm much better off for it.
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