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Getting a Summer Research Internship in Science or Engineering Dr. Sumana Datta Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Research Texas A&M University
Why do research? -- Practical Goals. • Learn material in your major by hands-on work outside the classroom. • Develop a one-on-one mentoring relationship with a professor. • Find out what you like and don’t like to do. • Improve your resume. • Get more informative letters of recommendation for jobs, graduate or professional school applications. • Find out more about what being a professional in your area is like.
Why do research? -- Improve your skills. • Learn how to work in teams to accomplish a goal. • Learn how to explain and defend your results. • Learn advanced technical skills. • Learn better problem solving skills. • Learn better time-management skills.
Why Summer Research? • Concentrate on your research full-time. • Meet and work with researchers at other institutions. • Try something completely different that might depend on geography/location. • Develop additional contacts for jobs, professional or graduate school. • Live and explore somewhere else for a summer. • “Test” a place you might want to go after graduation.
First questions to ask yourself: What do you want to do? Where do you want to go? Is there something you would never want to do? Is there someplace you would never want to go?
What types of programs are available? • Colleges • Universities • Research Centers • Hospitals • Museums • Field work • Companies • National • International
What do most (but not all) summer programs provide? • Place to live • Food • Stipend, generally about $4000 • Enrichment experiences-seminars, workshops, tours, field trips. • Research internship of about 10 weeks.
Be sure to ask about: • How they match you to a project or research advisor. • Health insurance/medical requirements. • Help with travel costs to and from the site. • Start and end dates. • Transportation and safety around the site late at night or on weekends. • Availability of peer mentors. • Whether you will need to enroll for the summer. • Social or other extra-curricular activities offered.
Requirements for summer programs • Current undergraduate status. • Most request sophomore or junior status. • Coursework appropriate to your status and relevant to the area of the summer internship. Other requirements vary by program! • Some require a minimum GPA. • REU Programs-US citizens or permanent resident. • Some target under-represented populations, women, ethnic minorities or first generation/low income college students.
Where and how do I find them? • Google “Undergraduate Research Program” and the field you are interested in (as globally or specifically as you want). • Go to http://ugr.tamu.edu/ then Opportunities -> External Opportunities-> Summer Research Opportunities. • Go to http://ugr.tamu.edu/ then Opportunities -> External Opportunities->International Opportunities. • http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_magazine/previous_issues/articles/2008_12_12/caredit.a0800181 • Is there someone specific you want to work with? Familiarize yourself with their research and then contact them directly!
Science and Engineering The NSF funds a variety of summer programs around the country called REUs. REUs are generally for students from OTHER institutions (i.e. your chances of being accepted to a Texas A&M REU is small). Check out the Career Center (HireAggies.com) for placement in internships and co-ops. Many non-REU programs also exist.
Science and Engineering Some of the places you can go are: • Caltech, Pasadena, California. • MIT, Cambridge, Boston. • Dartmoth, Hanover, New Hampshire. • Duke, Durham, North Carolina • Stanford University, Palo Alto, California • Jackson Labs, Bar Harbor, Maine. • Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts • US Naval Research lab, Washington DC. • Georgia Tech, Atlanta, Georgia. • Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, Maryland. • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan • National Institutes of Standards and Technology, Boulder, Colorado. • University of California,Berkeley, Berkeley, California. • University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, California.
Science and Engineering SOME of the areas are: • Nanotechnology • Infectious disease • Math • Physics • Oceanography/marine biology • Geology/mining • Watershed use/Environmental science • Materials Engineering • Mechanical Engineering • Robotics • Radar/atmospheric sensing • Evolution • Molecular and Cellular Biology • Biochemistry • Bioinformatics/genomics
Public Policy for Aggies Texas A&M has its own summer programs! • Public Policy Internship Program in Washington, D.C. (deadline Feb 11th) • Non-profits • Government agencies • Think tanks • Public Policy Internship Program in Paris. (deadline Feb 11th) • U.S. Commercial Service
International Summer Internships • You do not always have to speak the local language. Many of the top research institutions in Europe (for example) use English as the “professional” language. • But speaking the local language might help you in daily life there! • Check out the search engines or listings at the UGR website under either International Opportunities or Summer Research Opportunities -> National Science Foundation-> International. • Check out CDS through Career Center Office (language proficiency required)
Examples of International REU Programs • Tropical biology/conservation in Costa Rica. • Chemistry in France, Italy, China and the UK. • Mathematics in Prague, Czech Republic. • Geology/environment on San Salvador. • Organic Chemistry in Bangkok, Thailand. • Nanotech/materials in Poland and Puerto Rico. • Physics in Paris, Japan or UK. Look under “International Science and Engineering” on REU website.
CDS (www.cdsintl.org) • Countries: Germany, Spain, Argentina • Requirements: • US Citizenship • Two years of college-level Spanish or German • You pay a fee to apply (~$700) • No fee if you are not qualified. • CDS handles work permits, interviews and placement. • Most internships are paid. • Application deadline Feb 1st! • Information tomorrow Rudder 404 5-6:15 pm.
Companies/Foundations • Google http://www.google.com/support/jobs/bin/static.py?page=students.html&sid=intern • Microsoft https://careers.microsoft.com/careers/EN/US/CollegeInternships.aspx • American Society of Magazine Editors • Sierra Club • AT&T • Boeing • Northrup-Grumman • Johnson and Johnson • Kodak • Lucent • Also check out for more options: http://depts.washington.edu/eip/research.htm http://www.urop.uci.edu/opportunities/frame_offcampus.html
International Students • The Career Center (HireAggies.com) has a section devoted to you! • InternationalStudents4Hire.com • Internships, externships, cooperative education opportunities. • Check your VISA restrictions-you may not be able to work outside of TAMU.
What is the timeline? • Application deadlines range from early February through March, but some are earlier. • Do NOT ask your professor to write you a letter at the last minute—that almost guarantees that the letter is not as good as you might wish. • Many require a letter of recommendation and a short essay describing your interests or goals. • Some may require an official transcript.
How do I apply? Application forms can generally be found online at the program’s website. Sometimes you may have to email or call the contact person listed to receive an application. You may have to download, fill in and mail a paper application—factor that into your timeframe!
Continuing sources of information • Undergraduate Research Listserv http://ugr.tamu.edu/resources/undergraduate-research-listserv.html • Undergraduate Research webpage http://ugr.tamu.edu/ Office of Proposal Development Funding Opportunities → Funding Opportunities by Category → Undergraduate Research Opportunities
Need to take summer classes? Try looking for a part-time research position here at Texas A&M! • Research for credit hours. • Research for pay (if your professor has the funds). • You may be able to do the research during the summer and pay for the credit hours in the fall.
How to find and approach a professor • Read their webpage first! • Contact them early (at least before spring break). • Have a suggestion as to what part of their research interests you the most. • Have a short resume with your contact information, any previous experience, relevant courses and references. • Try to meet them face-to-face rather than emailing.
General Tips • Start EARLY (now!). • Prioritize applications by deadline and effort required. • Ask for letters from your professors now. Don’t worry about asking for multiple letters—it’s easy to edit once the letter is written.
Questions?Contact Info:Office of Undergraduate Researchugr@tamu.edu458-0039