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Getting a Summer Research Internship in Science or Engineering


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Title: Getting a Summer Research Internship in Science or Engineering

Getting a Summer Research Internship in Science
or Engineering
  • Dr. Sumana Datta
  • Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Research
  • Texas AM 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 dont like to do.
  • Improve your resume.
  • Get more informative letters of recommendation
    for jobs, graduate or professional school
  • 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
  • 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

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
  • 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
  • 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

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// then Opportunities -gt
    External Opportunities-gt Summer Research
  • Go to http// then Opportunities -gt
    External Opportunities-gtInternational
  • http//
  • 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 AM REU is small).
  • Check out the Career Center ( 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,
  • University of California-San Diego, La Jolla,

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 AM 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 -gt
    National Science Foundation-gt 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.
  • 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
  • Most internships are paid.
  • Application deadline Feb 1st!
  • Information tomorrow Rudder 404 5-615 pm.

  • Google http//
  • Microsoft https//
  • American Society of Magazine Editors
  • Sierra Club
  • ATT
  • Boeing
  • Northrup-Grumman
  • Johnson and Johnson
  • Kodak
  • Lucent
  • Also check out for more options
  • http//
  • http//

International Students
  • The Career Center ( has a section
    devoted to you!
  • Internships, externships, cooperative education
  • 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 minutethat 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 programs 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 applicationfactor that into your timeframe!

Continuing sources of information
  • Undergraduate Research Listserv
  • http//
  • Undergraduate Research webpage
  • http//
  • 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 AM!
  • Research for credit hours.
  • Research for pay (if your professor has the
  • 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
  • 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

General Tips
  • Start EARLY (now!).
  • Prioritize applications by deadline and effort
  • Ask for letters from your professors now. Dont
    worry about asking for multiple lettersits easy
    to edit once the letter is written.

Questions?Contact InfoOffice of
Undergraduate Researchugr_at_tamu.edu458-0039