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Skills to Gain from Summer Research

Posted by on Tuesday, August 14, 2018 in Academics, College Life, General Information, Grad School, Internship, Internship, Jobs, Pre-Med, Pre-Med, Summer, Undergraduate Research.

Hello again, Inside ‘Dores readers! I hope this post finds you well and gearing up for the school year ahead. If you have read any of my previous posts, you will likely know that as a pre-med neuroscience student, I have been involved in research throughout my time at Vanderbilt. This summer, I had the opportunity to really explore the field in depth with some of the coolest professionals I’ve had the opportunity to meet.


To recap what exactly I did for the summer, I have to begin in January of 2018. It was then that I really began applying for summer internships. One such program, the National Institutes of Health’s Summer Internship Program, looked particularly interesting. I wrote my application essay, contacted teachers to act as references for me, and began looking at NIH labs to which I might apply. The way the internship’s selection process worked was not a central application process- labs within the NIH that were taking interns could reach out to individuals whose applications they liked, and potential interns could email labs letting them know they were interested in being a part. Through the process of mutual selection, I was able to find a neuroscience lab and secure a research position (with a nice stipend, thank goodness) for the summer!


So, what did this experience do for me? Obviously, programs like this are great for resumes, but there were so many other meaningful opportunities to take from this program. The first of these was the opportunity to interact with highly specialized individuals at the top of their field. All of the members of the lab I worked in were extremely intelligent, and gave great advice, both related to the project I worked on and my academic and professional trajectory. Additionally, working in this context allowed me to develop skills related to professionalism (teamwork, giving frequent presentations, sending a killer business email, and more). Additionally, the NIH provided a number of opportunities to explore career paths through seminars, workshops, and even a graduate and professional school fair for interns. Lastly, this program brought together a number of students at different educational levels from different schools, which allowed me to make new friends, learn from them, and hear about their experiences and passions.


My summer experience is one that I would not trade in for the world, and it left me starting the school year ahead on the right note and ready to be a junior! If you have any questions about summer research or anything related to student life, feel free to email me at!

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