Summer Opportunities: STEM Research
CollegeAdvisor.com presents its summer opportunity series webinars on STEM Research in a 60-minute webinar and Q&A with college students and alumni. Our CollegeAdvisor panelist will share their insider perspectives on specific summer opportunities, how these opportunities impacted their college application, and how these experiences shaped their interests. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2021-04-07 Summer Opportunities STEM Research
Hi, everyone. Welcome to the college advisor webinar in summer opportunities. These in stem research, Dorian everyone with the webinars timing, we’ll start with a presentation and answer your questions in a live Q and a on the sidebar. And in the public chat, you can download our slides and you can start submitting questions in the Q and a tab.
Now let’s meet our panelists. Nope. That’s all good. Hi everyone. My name is freshmen and I’m a senior at Vanderbilt university. I’m majoring in public policy studies, minoring in neuroscience, and I’m on the pre-medical track. We’ll be going to medical school in the fall. And yes I know public causes studies is not a stem major, but I still have a lot to share with you guys today about stem research.
Yeah. So I think the first question that you all are probably interested in is what exactly like what summer program I did in stem research. Like what exactly makes me, qualified to have talk in this webinar. So the main, the summer program that I participated in was between the summer between my junior and senior year, where I did an internship at the James Graham brown cancer center located in Louisville, Kentucky.
And it was a paid opportunity. So it was pretty selective in that they only accepted 15 students high school students and then 15 college students. And we worked for. Like end of may and then all of June and all of July. And I think my stipend was around like 1,200, but then again, they were looking for students that were based in the area, so they didn’t have to pay room and board.
And I think one of the more like unique parts of this research opportunity was that because I was. In the area. I got to continue my research into my junior and senior year, which I think made the program so much more valuable to me in my application, for sure. I would get into the day-to-day of what exactly did what exactly my research was.
Later on in the presentation. Okay. So how do I find out about this opportunity? I went to a public magnet high school which like, I don’t really, if you’re not familiar with it, it’s hard to explain, but I was in the mat science technology program. So very stem ask, like we took a lot of like science classes, math classes, like computer science.
And then we did a lot of science fair. Like every single student in this program had to do a science fair project and participate and either do a presentation in class or participate in a regional science fair. So we were very like a stem focused program. I’ll be completely honest.
Like I knew about these opportunities because of my school, as they happen to know a lot about the opportunities locally and around the country. But as I have advised students in the past, in this re in disregard and trying to find research opportunities, I listed out a few other ways you can go about finding opportunities.
And so one of the biggest ways to look is to look at opportunities at your local institution, because honestly, The opportunities are like at your local university. They’re more likely to accept high school students into those opportunities than say like at Harvard. So it is for like really like a good idea to look at your local institution as they’re also not going to be as many students like vying for those same positions.
So like for example, I’m from Louisville, Kentucky, so I was looking at. Like opportunities at university of Louisville. Cause they were actually right across the street from my high school. And so I could I go to a walk right after school, to these opportunities. So that’s how I first found research like back in my freshman year in high school.
And then I also talked to upperclassmen with similar interests. I think that is such an underutilized resource. If in like your clubs and your classes, you’re going to know get to know a lot of people who are older than you and have. Gone through like the steps that you are about to embark on.
And so talking to them to see what opportunities they were a part of and like what experiences that you got to pursue. It’s just a great way to get a better understanding of what is out there in stem research or in any field that you’re going in. And then talking to your teachers and your professors.
Like of course, like my school, I knew about all these opportunities, but they wouldn’t have found out about them if I didn’t talk to my teachers and express an interest in stem research. And so that is definitely a very key way to get to know about the opportunities in your area as your teachers and your professors are going to be pretty in sync with that, especially like your science teachers, your math teachers, or whatever subject that you’re interested in.
Yeah day-to-day in the summer program, that was a part of, essentially what happens? What happened within this program was that we had to express like our interest in when we applied, like what kind of research were Andrew interested in? Of course it is a cancer center, so all research is related to cancer, but if there was like a particular field of cancer, Best way to describe it, that I was interested in looking into further.
I got to mention that. And if I was interested in doing like Ben street research, where I worked underneath the hood and godlike worked with saws, like plate cells, grow cells treat the solids like that kind of thing. Or if I wanted to do more like computational research, sitting in front of a computer, like analyzing data making a program like that kind of situation.
They had all the, all these opportunities available within the program. So I just got to choose or mentioned which ones I’m interested in. So then I was assigned to a lab and so when I got assigned to the lab, The days are pretty much the same, just because you are as a high school student I didn’t know much about cancer.
Like it’s important for me to get a background understanding of it. And I would arrive and my. Principal investigator and my PI my research mentor, whatever you want to call the individual would start off by handing me some papers to read for the days so that I can get a better understanding of what procedure we’re going to be performing today.
Or like for example, we were working on this treatment called ASMR for 10 11 and studying how it affect triple negative breast cancer cells. So But getting a better understanding of how they develop the treatment because the lab was the one who created the treatment and then getting a better understanding.
What is triple negative breast cancer and what makes it so difficult to cure within individuals. So that’s why it’s really important that they start off the day with papers and why it’s been a lot of my time reading papers. But then of course, like in, in the lab that I was a part of, since it was a bench research lab.
Yeah. They were pleading styles growing the Salus treating style is like running like procedures on them. But of course, they’re not going to hand me my own, like plate of solace to start off with. And with me knowing absolutely nothing of how to take care of themselves. So I had to observe the lab members first and they first, I would observe them.
And then. I feel like it’s like the, see one, do one, teach one method. So that’s pretty much what I did here as well. As we did, have some times, oh, it’s in the time, since it was pretty COVID area like other students would circulate within the labs. So like I could teach other students like what I had just learned to make sure I really understood like what exactly I was doing in the lab.
And then like before lunch, we would maybe start the protocols. Like some of them that were like longer to do and if I’m doing like a Western blot, it takes all day. So you need to start like earlier in the day. And then the program every Tuesday they would provide us with a lunch and then do like a speaker series where they would have other members of the lab, not just my lab, but have the whole center present under research.
And they’d also teach us like how to do presentations and how to come up, like how to go through the scientific method. And I a lot of like skills that you would need to be successful in stem research in your future and the skills that you need to be successful in the lab that you’re in that I was in presently.
So that was really awesome to get to learn more about the opportunities that are available throughout the center and also just to better develop my skills. And then I would go back to the lab. Finish the protocol that I was working on for the day and then prepare make a timeline or I guess like a to-do list of what I was going to get into tomorrow and kind of repeat this process again.
The next day, this would be like over the summer. I would do something somewhere. When I continued my junior and senior year, like after school ended around like two 20. I’d ride the bus and then go to the lab and like I would be there for my three to 7:00 PM sometimes even nine, just depending on how long the protocol asks this to make sure that.
I can get through the all the procedures I needed to do for myself to better understand whether or not this treatment that we were giving the south would curb the growth of the tumor and prevent metastasis. So that’s like what the project was all about. Probably should have started off with that.
Sorry. But yeah, it’s pretty pretty like structured and something that you repeat day to day throughout the whole school. Yeah. How did participating in this program affect my college application? So for me, I think that the biggest thing was that I showcased how dedicated I was with research.
I had done research like during my freshman and sophomore year before I did this summer program. But then when I did this summer program and I was doing like 40 hours a week for eight weeks and then a continuing on to my junior and senior year, I was showcasing that I was able to put in the time and effort into an activity.
And I’m sure this is something that you are all familiar with, or maybe heard like another mentor or advisor tell you about, but activities that you do longitudinally, like a longer period of time are valued a lot more than activities that you do. I’m very like fleeting period of time, just because it shows that you are really interested in that activity.
And you can really grow upon what you like the foundations, like what you started off with and really add your own twist and trends and your creativity into the activities. So I think I was like one of the biggest things. And then once again, I got to showcase my curiosity in the field of study.
Since I. Pre-med in high school. I’m not pre-med in high school, but like I was interested in medicine in high school, and then I am pre-med in college and I was applying as a pre-medical student. I think that it really showcase that this is something that I really thought about. Like I do want to do like research into my future career and I do want to pursue medicine and understand more about cancer.
And then my previous research was related to diabetes and showcase. I was really curious in the field of study. Yeah. Most colleges, of course not all colleges. I don’t want to make like a sleeping decoration. But there are really interested in students that want to contribute to the community, to the world, grow an area of study.
And so showcasing that you’re curious and whatever field it is really highlights how you will in the future, contribute to the community. And then I showcase that I could think critically and come up with creative solutions. So something that can be a downfall with being in a lab is that sometimes it comes off as that you’re just like joining a project that already exists in the lab.
And you’re not really doing anything like new or on your own. Not that you have to invent a drug or come up with a cure for cancer. No, one’s expecting that, but like sometimes if you just. Join a lab and you do what, like the project that they’re doing and don’t really add your own creativity.
It isn’t as valuable because you’re just, it’s not like I’m like, I don’t think this is the right word, but you’re just mooching off of work that other people are doing. And you’re just like repeating what they’re doing. And so you for example, Like after I learned about my research during that summer program, when I continued my junior and senior year, I with the help of my professor, my mentor, we were able to come up with a more like niche topic where I really studied like the metastasis of triple negative breast cancer.
And I came up with like my own concentrations that I wanted of the treatment that I wanted to test and like what, and I chose like the different Testing I wanted to do with the Salas. So like I added my own creativity. Like I wasn’t just doing what my PI said, like with having conversations with them, I was able to add my own twist.
So I think that it’s really important. And then I already mentioned how it really highlighted my interest in pursuing medicine and research in my future which be added to my narrative. Cause that’s pretty much what I was applying to college with. That’s what I wanted to do and that’s what I was showcasing to them.
Yeah, now why I have my major is public policy studies and minoring in neuroscience and why it’s not like biology by chemistry or whatever. It isn’t that I transitioned out of stem because I still consider the research that I’m doing related to stem. But it is more clinical and how policy based research.
So it wasn’t that I didn’t like some research. I think that I did all four years in high school. It was very much a big part of my initiation to like the research world, the biomedical world. And like my, I guess my perspective of what medicine would be like. Yeah. Learn so much from that.
I really understood the scientific method, which is just going to be applicable regardless of the field that you go into this because research, and as you probably know, with COVID, like research is so important to address pretty much like any little issue that we’ve seen even throughout this pandemic.
So it’s not that I don’t like stem research, but I also was looking for a change, like after. After those four years, like I was just like, maybe there were like more like other kinds of research out there outside of just like being in a bench. Like the bench research facility where I’m working with solids.
Maybe there are other ways to contribute to the field of study. Now, which is my particular interest. And so I the first one was interning at the Tennessee justice center. So that’s like more of a health policy based research opportunity. And so I did that during a spring semester and a summer.
The summer between my junior, my sophomore junior year. And I was able to explore the intersection of adverse childhood experiences with the top three hot crises in Tennessee, which is like the opiod crisis their insurance crisis. Cause they haven’t expanded Medicaid, which is the public insurance for individuals that belong to low income backgrounds.
And then their poor workforce health as, or have one of the leading. On the highest rates of obesity and. Like diabetes in the country. So it was really interesting to look at that intersection and seeing like how policy is shaping or maybe like addressing these issues and how like a really prominent field of study, which adverse childhood experiences might be like addressing and like shaping these issues as well.
I really enjoyed that experience and it really shaped my interest into like health policy. And then I had the wonderful opportunity to work at the Vanderbilt’s pediatric emergency department. So I got to interact with patients Amazing. Cause I, I did want to be a doctor and I think that’s such a big part of being a doctor is interacting with your patients.
And so we were working on a CDC study where we’re surveying the respiratory and gastroenterologist illnesses are going around and Tennessee what Nashville in particular. And there are like seven different sites in the country that are doing the same thing. And it’s honestly like you can see like COVID, it’s really important to survey what, like bacterias.
Viruses and pathogens are going around and kids and adults, and whoever, because you never know which one’s going to create the next pandemic. So this is a really important field of study. And it was really interesting to work with the patient side of things rather than like the bench research side of things, which is definitely a part of the research project, but I’ve more focused on working with the patients and then rolling them into the school.
And then currently which I think is, I think a lot of the questions that were coming in it was about like remote opportunities and what I’m doing now. It is a remote opportunity. Like I sit in my room and I work on this research project or a day, but I am trying to understand the costs and benefits of different treatment options available to treat pregnant women with opioid use disorder.
Story. It is stem. Even though it has to do with health policy I am wearing about the, like the different critical protocols that they have to for these different treatment options for like methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone. So I really have to like work with the doctors and really understand like how they go about prescribing Coming up with, I keep seeing the word protocol, but it’s pretty relevant.
Coming up with a regimen or a course of treatment for individuals that have opioid use disorder and then like understanding the science behind how these like different treatment options work. And so it’s still related to stab, but you can see, I really like I think a lot of people consider like stem research, like working in a lab.
Or coding or like prosthetics and you think of like engineering or there are a lot of like things that come to mind, but I still would consider the stem research, but it’s just a little bit more out there in the circle. It’s more like social science research as well. So it’s like an intersection of stem and social science research.
But I think like the fact that I’m like talking about all of this and the fact that it’s not necessarily related to stem, I think it’s important because you can see that. I went, I was drought high school. I thought like stem researchers. They’re like doing bench research, learning about cancer and diabetes.
And I’m come up with treatment options or I’m like making like a new sensor to detect diabetes, like diabetes, like the breath. I thought these were like my, like what I wanted to do in college as well. But I quickly realized that there’s so many more research opportunities out there that you just might not be exposed to.
In high school. And so you can see how my trajectory changed a little bit, even though I am still like pre-med and going to medical school you can see how my trajectory just shifted just based off of the resources and the opportunities I learned about later in college. Yeah, so I get a lot of what I talked about in the previous side.
It comes out. And this side is fall. So how did this program impact my interest in education? So definitely I think that I got a very like clear understanding that I wanted to go into medicine, as I learned about the way like like triple negative breast cancer, for example, and like the treatment option.
I really got to get a better understanding of that by that. Process like the biomedical process. Yeah. And then even now, like there are opportunities in college where we get to sit in on tumor boards for doctors and other health care providers are coming together and figuring out what treatment options they want to prescribe different patients.
And so now I have a better understanding of that because I did this research. And so I get to really. Value the shadowing experiences that I have more in college. So I think it just really fueled my interest in this field. It also did help me gain research positions in college. I’m very fortunate to have had experience in high school is not something that everyone gets to have, which I do very much not take for granted.
But it once again, that really did help me in college because I was able to say, oh, I did research in high school. I have like familiarity with like MTTR essays or like doing PCR or like whatever. And I think that they were more willing to, I choose me just because I had worked through the scientific method so like I’d worked with it so closely over the past four years.
And that really very much ties into my next bullet point about how I have a better understanding of the scientific method and even statistical analysis. This is going to be like a huge tip I’m going to be talking about here. Like really take a statistical analysis class in college in high school, like really.
Really focus on those classes because no matter what field you go into, whenever you’re reading papers, it’s so important to understand whether or not the research is significant or actually like relevant to whatever you are doing. And there’s so many, like people that really just don’t have a good grounding or understanding of that.
Like even I didn’t. And I think, and I not to say that I have the best grounding and understanding of it now I’m like learning. As it go that very important to no about that, regardless of the field research you go into. So I would strongly recommend you guys take classes related to squat analysis.
And then, like I said, I really feel like I gained a tall cat because now. With the program, as I read so many papers, I knew how to read scientific papers for the critical ends and really understanding what exactly like the information I’m supposed to be getting out of it. I knew how to follow a protocol without messing up.
Even though I messed up a lot, the, especially the first couple of times I did the protocol, don’t get me wrong. I messed up a lot. It was so frustrating, but like eventually I was able to practice and really be able to follow a protocol and end up getting like good results. And then I learned how to present like it’s, that’s a very important like skill to have.
I also learn how to create a poster. And these are so many important things that you’re just gonna need to know, like actually go into any like field or research that you’re interested in. So I really do think I gained a lot from the process. Yeah. So what do I think summer programs are going to look like this summer because of COVID?
So I’ll be honest. I’m probably going to be more like zoom presentations, just because it is just better for everyone to remain like socially distant. So like with that in mind, you might see. More presentations like these, where people are like talking at you and lecturing at you and maybe more breakout rooms where you could talk to your peers about what exactly you had just learned about there.
There’s probably going to be a lot more of that. Yeah. So I, they skip zoom anytime soon. And I do think there’s going to be less in-person engagement with like fellow peers in the program. I think like something that I gained was was being able to interact back with the 14 others high school students in my program because they were incredible people that have done incredible things and they were doing.
Really awesome research. And so I called to visit them during like my lunch break when we didn’t have like the speaker series for lunch and got to hear more about their research. And I shadowed them sometimes to see, and maybe that’s like something that I’m interested in looking into further and also Your peers are such great resources.
And I do think, unfortunately, they’re going to have less, like less of that, like in-person engagement with your peers. And with that regard, like I had the opportunity to look at other labs while I was like at this program. Like even though I was assigned at one lab, I like mostly. I got, I spent most of my time at that one lab, but I got to learn about what my friends were doing, go into their lab and shadow them.
I don’t think that you’re going to have the opportunity to do that. Like that sort of thing. During this time, just because you do want to limit the number of people that are in a lab and all that kind of jazz. But that means you do get to focus more. Of your time working within your lab and really getting to understand their research like whatever the lab is doing.
And so there it is a two-way street. And I already touched on that for the bullet point. And then I do think that there’s going to be more like computer novices, like a lot of the research I’m doing now, where I’m working out a lot of the different papers that are already been published and it understanding what information is out there.
And then we are trying to model. These different treatment options based off of the information that we do have available. So a lot of like programming like that kind of situation is probably going to be going into I guess infiltrating the summer programs that you might be a part of this summer.
And so if you want to do bench research, I feel like those kinds of opportunities are going to be pretty limited just because that does require in-person engagement. Like you’re not going to be able to do bench research from your room. Like I can speak from like secondhand experience. Like we have to take lab in college.
For like chemistry and biology. And my peers are literally like using their like cursor to click. Oh, like I’m gonna move this like salt into like this Eaker and their little using their cursor to move the salt into the beaker. Yeah. You’re not going to be able to do that. Unfortunately in person, it just because of that reality of the situation.
So if you’re, that’s the kind of research you’re looking for, basically like the kind of research I did in high school, I’m just going to be completely honest. Those are going to be pretty hard to find this summer, but hopefully next summer or even the fall or next spring, hopefully those kinds of opportunities to do that.
Yeah. So my advice to someone who wants to apply to programs like these, so I highly recommend that you leverage your experiences. And I know that’s really hard to hear from someone, for me, example, who had experiences from freshmen. Freshman year of high school and sophomore year of high school before I applied to the summer program, I know that it feels like unfair and like that that’s really hard to hear, but I think it’s so important that you remember that your experiences don’t necessarily have to be research experiences, like what you’re doing in school, what you’re doing in your, like your biology class and chemistry class.
They’re just as important. And so if you talk about them the right way about like how you’re like learning how to do, because I remember, I’m not really, I don’t remember too much about it, but if you talk about them in the right way, they’re still very valuable experiences. And I really can’t speak from experience about getting an opportunity without having not a lot of background.
As when I was applying for the Tennessee justice center program, didn’t know a lot about health homes. Yes, that was my major, but I was still. Fall semester my sophomore year. So I’d only taken like basic like general education courses and it hadn’t really digged into my major. And I just talked about how, like my, my biomedical experiences and how I like learned so much about the scientific method, which is going to be still useful in regardless of the research field I go into.
And so that helped. And then I was able to get the position. Whatever your experiences are, which they might not be in a lab just make sure you talk about them because there’s, you’re still, you’re going to learn something maybe because in biologic class, you guys had to do presentations on your topics, you know how to present, or maybe like you’re doing like the like side hustle where you had to like, create like slides, which I’ve never heard of that side hustle making it up, but maybe you know how to make presentations.
Yeah. Presenting and then like how to make like those slides for the presentations in a very static manner, all these things are important. So just make sure you maximize the experiences that you do have showcase genuine interest and curiosity in the field of study. So for example, when I first like my first research position, which was related to diabetes, I was talking about how my grandfather had passed away from having But amputated due to a diabetic ulcer.
So of course you might not have those kinds of personal experiences to speak on, but you can just get generally interested in a field by talking about what makes what makes you so interested in it. For example, if we’re talking about, we call it policy for me, I’m so interested because I think it’s a key way to address like hot disparities.
And so if you come up with your why and you talk about your wife, I think it speaks volumes and people really do respond to passion. And then doing your homework on the sorts of research that the lab or program publishes or facilitates. This is really important because if you’re gonna like email a professor, someone you don’t know about how they should give you a high school student or a research position over a college student, it needs to be clear that you’ve done your homework about what exactly this club.
Might not understand it all. That’s okay. You’re a high school student. No, one’s expecting you to understand like everything that of the research that this lab is doing, I’ll be honest. I don’t understand half of the research most labs are doing cause it’s just so like higher level. But if you just showcase, if there’s one thing you understand and it’s something that you would.
That was so interesting. And you talk about that. It shows that you are prepared and you’re interested in this like glob and you really do want to learn more. So really do your research beforehand about what exactly this research program or web or whatever is doing so that you are prepared to speak.
If they even want to have this zoom call with you where you can they might want to like, learn more about you and your interests. Me prepared to speak about like the research that this office is doing. Don’t worry if you get it wrong, like they understand you’re a high school student, it’s fine.
And then speak to alumni of the program. So of course, I know that’s hard to find, but of course, like for me for example a lot of the students like above me, some of them had been a part of this research program. So I was able to speak to them and gain their insight about how exactly I should maximize my experience and how exactly I should portray myself for the experience itself.
So that’s really important. If you can find those alumni. You can even use LinkedIn. You can really use whatever you can to find people who are who’ve been a part of the program, but if you don’t know anyone, that’s okay. Just find someone that you trust because I review your application and just make sure that everything is good to go.
Before you apply to these of programs or write an email to inventory or whatever. Yeah, so I’m gonna pass it off to Hannah. Okay. So if you are wondering about how to find out how to find more opportunities, college advisor has a new database that was created by six advisors, with opportunities in various fields that are remote in-person paid and unpaid in order to boost students’ resumes and involvement in careers, they’re interested.
It’s a jumping off point for freshmen through seniors to start to familiarize themselves with what opportunities are out there, and what is required to apply. Unfortunately, at this time, this database is only available to college advisor.com clients through their advisor. But hopefully it will be more open to the public at some point coming up.
So this has been this is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful. And remember that you can download the slides from the link in the public chat, moving on to the live Q and a I’ll read through the questions you submitted in the Q and a tab, paste them in the public chat.
So you can see and then read them out loud before our panelists gives you an idea. As a heads up, if your QA tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, double check that you join the webinars through the custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page. So our first question is how do you believe the remote medical volunteer opportunities will affect the significance of these experiences when applying to college?
So do you think that virtual volunteer opportunities or summer opportunities will be less significant on a college campus? That is a great question. And speaking as someone who just applied to medical school, I have so many thoughts on this. So I’m like just speaking on my experiences. Like I lost a whole summer of doing in-person activity between my junior and senior year.
And I was very concerned that medical school was going to look at it. Poor light, but there wouldn’t be like, oh no, like this girl, she’s not shadowing. If she only has 50 hours or like 20 hours or no hours, or like this girl is not volunteering right now. Cause I was in the middle of studying for me.
I’m Kat. I’ll be very blunt here. We are all going through the same pandemic. And I’m telling you your like admissions advisors your admissions officers, like whoever’s reviewing your application. They know where in the midst of the pandemic. So your experiences that you do virtually are not going to be viewed upon negatively.
Honestly, they’re going to be. Positively because you are still taking initiative during this very stressful time, just find opportunities to further your interest and grow in your field of path. So I think that’s really important to keep in mind. Like I like we’re all human. We really do understand just like the circumstances of this time and how in-person opportunities are limited.
And that like really like you, your health is important. And so just. I think that’s just an important thing that sometimes you need someone else to tell you. But. Most of our opportunities are not going to be looked down upon. It’s at least from like institutions that really understand how important and how, most institutions understand us, but I just don’t want to speak for everyone to make a blanket statement.
But like generally most colleges are going to understand the circumstances and honestly, I think that they would be looked upon fair. But did I answer the whole question? Yeah. Okay. And yeah, I think it’s very true that you, that everyone’s going to have had the same experiences in the last year.
Okay. Let’s see. When in high school, should we start looking for internships is our next question. That’s a great question as well. And I might say that about every question, so I apologize in advance. But generally I think that it’s important to keep in mind that really, as a freshman, like if you’re going gone through some of those introductory classes, you might not find a B like a internship opportunity for the summer between your freshman and sophomore year.
So really, I feel like the sophomore year is when you have a little bit more understanding and grounding, you’re able to take a little bit of a higher higher electives and some of the fields that you’re interested in, a nice feel like I’m planning for internships between the summer of your sophomore and junior year and your junior and senior year.
Are probably like the best times to be looking for an internship. Of course, that doesn’t mean like you have to sit at home and do nothing between your your summer between your freshman and sophomore year, but maybe you could focus on like maybe taking a class at a local community college, or maybe you can volunteer and do things that can help.
I don’t want to say it like this, cause I feel like it’s really important for you to find things that you’re interested in. And it’s not just about building a resume, but also doing things to build your application and your resume so that you we’ll be like more qualified and prepared for these internships that you would do between your summer of your sophomore and junior year and the summer of your junior and senior.
Okay. Okay. Our next question is what stem, what research stem opportunities can you find if you don’t live next to a college or university? Yes. Definitely. I am very relevant. As I know that I was very fortunate that my high school was right across the street from the local universities. I really could walk to the university and like that.
And I could just ride the bus to the downtown facilities. Like I do understand like how lucky I was for that opportunity. For individuals that don’t have those kinds of opportunities available, I do recommend like the remote opportunities, which are very much Becoming more popular over this past year.
I can as I said, I can speak for myself. Like I am currently participating in a remote research opportunity and I have heard of many other individuals doing the same. And so what you could do is maybe start off by still focusing on the local institutions, just because it is a lot easier for you to like, get opportunities that are more local to you.
Then once they’re like further away from you. So even if you are like 30 or 45, or even like hours away from like your local institution, maybe we can start off by emailing them and asking them if if whatever research that you’re interested in maybe they. I’m interested in having your perspective or like your insight, or like maybe to just learn from them and how like you are far away right now.
And that you like for right now would like to do a remote opportunity, but maybe in the summer when you can be like closer to that institution. Maybe not this summer, but like next summer you’d have the opportunity to wait in person. And of course I do think like why I’ve been focusing on local experiences, just because it is easier to get them I think remote opportunities do open up a whole another door.
Like I can be sitting in Nashville and doing work for a research group in California. So that does it also a whole nother door that opens up. And so if like you don’t really want to Astro cooperate, local institutions, maybe those opportunities don’t pan out, you really can reach out to institutions all across the country and just see.
If anyone’s interested. I think my biggest tip is that it never hurts to ask. You can ask and they’ll say no, but at least you shot your shot, the past tense version of that. And that’s like the most important thing that you can do. So yeah.
Our next question is, are there paid internships or programs and are they available to others? Yes. So speaking from experience my internship was a paid opportunity. It was so it was free and that I didn’t have to pay anything to be a part of the experience. And then I was thinking. Like a stipend for being a part of the experience.
I hope that made sense. So I didn’t pay a dime instead. I got paid money to be a part of the experience, which is great to be compensated for my time, because it is 40 hours a week for eight weeks. Of course. No matter what what, I think it is like awesome to get paint opportunity.
But if you get an unpaid opportunity as a high school student, like I think like first, like it’ll at least open stores and you get to really learn from other professionals and maybe like engage in research. I think that’s I think. First like avenue and I think the most important part, but of course, like icing on top was getting paid.
And so yeah, those opportunities are available to everyone. Of course, depending on the program that you’re applying for, there might be like geographical stipulations. Maybe they don’t want to do room and board. You can drink COVID right. They don’t want people traveling from California to Chicago or whatever.
And so you might have to focus on the things that are like closer to you. But there are a lot of opportunities that are paid once again, though. There are also a lot of opportunities that you paid for to be a part of. So they’re all available and they’re available to everyone. It just depends on what opportunity you want to do.
So we’re going to take a quick break in the middle of the Q and a, and I want to let you know what you can do after this webinar. If you want to get help on your college apps from any of our advisors at college advisor, we have two monthly advising plans and learn larger packages that come with a set number of hours as advisors, we will work with you on college essays, choosing schools, interviews, and more.
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One-on-one through every step of your application. If you want to discuss this, one-on-one with an advisor. This is a great chance to work with us now, back to the Q and a where do you, oh, sorry. Yeah. Where do you look to find these opportunities? Yeah. So I think that I had a slide earlier in the presentation that talked a little bit about how you go about finding these opportunities.
So I think maybe I’m just gonna maybe walk through like an example, like through my words. So essentially, maybe you’re really interested in cancer research. Okay. And then maybe figuring out what your local institutions. And when I just use my example, like my experience as an example, you receive Volvo.
So then I would just like Google university of Warhol cancer research. And then from there, I would see what kind of research that they’re doing. There’s definitely going to be like a webpage that like pops up with this information regardless of the institution that you search for, like depending on whether or not they do cancer research, of course.
And then from there I will start reading through some of the articles. Who is exactly publishing this research, then I would go find their name. And then from there maybe their email address. And then before I emailed them, I would do my homework and then send them an email talking about how, like introducing myself, talking about like my interest and hopefully.
Could you like, maybe they could set up a meeting with you so that you can learn more about what they’re doing. Like on usually I don’t recommend asking like upfront but that you want to research opportunity. I think it’s good to like first meet the person. Cause when you like first meet the person, whether on zoom or in person you can establish that like connection.
And then it would be harder to say no. And honestly it’d be very hard to say no, and if they don’t have the opportunities available, at least, so maybe connecting you to someone else. And so that would be like an example of how I would go about like finding a opportunity. But of course, like that side was also talking about talking to upperclassmen in your school or other individuals that, and then also talking to your teachers or professors in stem as they might also know opportunities available.
Okay. The next question is when did you know that? Yep. Stem is the right way. That’s great. And you definitely saw my like a bit of a journey of trying to figure out like whether or not stem is right for me, I’ll be very Frank. I don’t think that I like really knew whether or not it was right for me until college, just because there are so many more opportunities to explore and really figure it out.
Yeah. What research is best for you, if you are interested in research. And so while in high school, you can definitely have a really good inkling or a really good idea of what you want to do. I do like to say that you don’t have to like, and this is pre-med, I know pre-med, doesn’t equal stem, but I like a majority of students come in thinking that they want to be a doctor and want to pursue like pretty hard like a pre health profession.
And then. At least 50% of those people immediately switch after they take general chemistry the first semester of their freshman year. So I think once you like get through some of those introductory courses and you’re still there and you haven’t been weeded out, which unfortunately it’s what happens in a lot of schools.
Those classes really make or break whether or not you’re going to be in those fields. I think that one should make it through those first couple of classes. Then that’s how you know that like stem is right for you or whatever. The field is that you’re interested in. It’s right for you. So like in high school, we can have a really good idea.
I really did think I wanted to major in biology, but, and like that, of course I like native through these classes because I am pre-med. But generally I was like, I don’t really want to do research in these fields. Like I want to do like clinical and health policy research. So I would say in college, like the F like probably your freshmen beginning sophomore year, like doing no, like you’re willing to go.
And of course, a lot of. It’s a spoken thing. Like people change their majors like three or four times it happens. That’s the point of college to figure out what you want to do. So it might take a little bit, but you’ll figure it out probably in college. What is it? Like 70% or something of students change their major, something crazy like that.
Crazy. Yeah. Okay. So our next question is, does it matter if the research field you do is related to the major you may be going in. I guess this one’s yeah, I don’t think so. I can speak from experience like the research I did in high school and then the major that I went into are not related at all.
But I think Generally since we do talk a lot about narrative at college advisor, and I coming up with your narrative, something that your advisor can help you with if you choose to work with us. But like usually like the research that you do can help inform like your interest.
So either it helps inform your interest or helps you decide that’s not, it like that is not their field for you. And because we’re like, we really do stress, like coming up with a narrative and you’re going to see not showing you that your research field is going to be related to your major.
But it’s not like a deal breaker. Cause maybe like what, when you did your user, she realized that you don’t want to major in that field and like you want to do something else. And so I don’t think it really matters. Of course it depends on the narrative that you end up sharing in your application.
I think it does also depend on whether or not you’re applying somewhere where you have to apply to a specific school with a declared major. So the school that I went to, you weren’t even allowed to start declaring your major until your sophomore year of college. And so they’d really didn’t care.
They just wanted you to do things. But it’s definitely specific depending on the. The next question is, does stem research only count if you get to work with a doctor or professor and get published? No. I can speak from experience. I have not been published yet, and I have been doing research for now, like almost eight years and I haven’t been published.
It’s so hard for a high school student to get published. Wait, no, it’s so hard for a college student to get published, let alone a high school student. I, that did not come out the way I wanted to. Like I don’t think, I think Publishing is such a great thing. And that was something that you can do in high school.
That is such a huge honor and congratulations to you because those opportunities are very limited. But like your research is not wait, it’s not it’s value is not determined on whether or not you get published. It might be that way. Like when you are a professor and you have your PhD, it might be that way then.
But as a high school student and as a caution, they’re really just trying to see that you’re interested in the field that you want to explore the field further, that you have a genuine curiosity for it and want to grow the field. Yeah. Most innovation happens from doing research and growing in that field.
So then that’s what they’re looking for. So you don’t have to get published. I think that’s like my major, like takeaway from here. And then I’m working with a doctor professor. No, that’s definitely not like a requirement at all. I had friends in high school that did a stem project on their own, and they were very successful at that.
Like they went one at the international science fair. Of course they had like mentors, like later on once. Did the project out of their like garage. I feel like that’s, the anecdote but like you don’t, if you don’t have to work with a doctor or professor, I even did a science fair project where I worked with people at the water company and I was looking at water quality.
So like stem research is not just dependent on working with a doctor or a professor. You can do it all on your own and you can work with so many other professionals and no, you don’t have to give up.
Our next question is what are entry-level interns slash workers usually tasked with doing so I assume, high school entry level research assistants or researchers. So like generally, especially like the first month or so, like you’re not going to be able to really I don’t think you should expect to, if you’re working in a bench research lab to be working with the SaaS, just because.
They’re not going to hand out their selves that they’ve spent years growing to a student that just arrived at their lab. So you might apply yourself, like washing the dishes. That’s true. Like I, in that might be the river that you heard and I’ll be honest. And I’m going to confirm it have, might be what you’re doing.
You might be reading papers. A lot of papers, like maybe 10 to 15 papers a week, and that’s honestly on the low end. But really they’re just going to start prepping you so that you can work your way into doing some of the protocols and some of the research the other members are part of. And so it’s so important for you to get that background.
So that’s how by reading papers by shadowing members in the lab so you might not really actually do anything on your own or even do anything that’s related to the research the first month or so, but like eventually after like you show that you are interested and we show that they can trust you they’ll let you like handle the solids or whatever it is.
I know of course with the, like the research program, like the summer program was part of that was a little different because we only have two months. So like that like whole like reading papers, shadowing people. Can you dishes that happened like on the first week? So of course it depends on the program and depends on the end of time that you’re working at the sob, especially in college that anecdote about like washing the dishes.
Like that’s very true. You will be doing that. Especially the first couple of weeks.
Okay. I think this is gonna be our last question, but is an independent project as impressive as an intern.
Of course I want to speak to my own opinion. And of course, and of course everyone’s going to view it a little bit differently, but I think an independent project is just as impressive as an internship, just because you are putting in that time and effort to go through every single step of that scientific method on your own.
So like by doing like all the background research coming up with a methodology. Conducting your project, analyzing the research, you’re doing that on your own. And it clearly shows that you’re very interested and dedicated and curious about the field that you’re working in. And so I think the independent project is so valuable.
And so definitely don’t discount that. Just because it’s not an internship. That’s not to say the internship of course internships are very valuable, cause they’re like competitive to get into. And like you get to learn so much from professionals working in the field. And so they both have their pros and cons.
But I do think that an independent project can be just as impressive as the internship. Depends on just how you share that with the admissions advisor. Not advisor admissions officer or on your application.
Okay. So this is going to be the end of our Q and a thank you everyone so much for coming and thank you so much Rashmi for presenting. Yeah, of course. And this is the end of the webinar. We had a great time telling you about stem research and here’s the rest of our April webinars series. I hope everyone has a wonderful.