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Finding your dream 2019 internship: A STEM major’s guide to getting involved in research

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Simmons chapter.

To all the students who are interested in doing a summer research internship, here is a quick breakdown of how you can make that happen. As the semester is in full swing, and we say goodbye to summer, you might be thinking about planning for summer 2019. You might find that a lot of grad programs, jobs, and med schools strongly encourage students to get involved with research and have experience under their belt before applying. Many summer internship applications start opening up as early as late September and have deadlines around February (on an individual program basis, be sure to check your deadlines). This can be an extremely overwhelming idea but here are some approaches you can take to be sure you take advantage of every opportunity and are prepared to tackle your internship of choice!

*Important note: please look into the necessary requirements for these opportunities to make sure youre as prepared as possible (i.e. transcripts, application deadlines, GPA requirements, length of program, travel fees, program dates, job qualifications etc.)


1. Check out the resources at your home institution 

As you build relationships with professors and take classes that are grabbing your attention, going up to your profesors/advisors and asking how you can get more involved through research or the department is a wonderful way to immerse yourself. In addition, many institutions run summer programs through their labs that are meant to give students opportunities to gain research experience.


2.  See what opportunities are available in your community/a location you want to be in for the summer.

  • A quick Google search or browse through local institution’s websites can be huge.

    • Looking up “research internships in __(location)__” or “labs in__(location)___” can pull up some opportunities that are hidden on corporate company websites are are less known. In addition, you can come across summer job postings that can be applicable to an area of study you want to delve into.

      • For example: Medical Scribe positions which open to students over the summer that provide clinical immersion for Pre-Health related careers.


3. Check out the NSF/NIH website

The National Science Foundation and National Institute of Health are amazing organizations that fund many research opportunities for undergrad, grad, and post doc students. These two places are a huge resource to finding an internship for the summer. REU programs sponsored by NSF give students the chance to apply to many programs at various host institutions for anywhere from 7-12 weeks (dependent by program). These host institutions will provide a research project that typically pairs the undergrad with a grad student in a lab for the course of the summer.  Housing, a travel reimbursement of up to $500 (by program), and stipend are typically included in REU programs. Furthermore, it is important to note that many of these programs are open to students with no previous experience and in fact encourage students of minority groups and students who attend smaller institutions with limited research opportunities to apply. I personally attended an REU program this past summer and strongly encourage it, it was an amazing experience that allowed me to meet new people from all over the world and grow as a scientist.


National Science Foundation Website: https://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/reu_search.jsp


National Institute of Health Website: https://www.nih.gov/