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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

MIT Summer Research Assistant

June - August 2018 • Cambridge, MA

What I liked

I really enjoyed meeting the rest of the students in my cohort and learning from some of the most well regarded economists in the world.

What I wish was different

I wish I had taken more opportunities to meet respected academics!

Advice

Spend everyday like it's your last!
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Research Assistant

June - August 2017 • Cambridge, MA

What I liked

The program had weekly events with prominent speakers who advised us on everything from grad school applications to building careers. The focus was on our research, and the school regularly checked in on us (weekly) to ensure that we were doing well. They also made efforts to create a sense of community, and our research cohort felt very much at home. The research labs were top-tier, and the working environment was very fulfilling. They also provided free housing, travel reimbursements, regular events with food, a Charles River Boat Ride, and a fancy closing luncheon.

What I wish was different

Some of the events in orientation were unnecessary (in my opinion).

Advice

MIT can seem very intimidating but most people are willing to help if you just ask!
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Research Assistant

January - September 2017 • Boston, MA

What I liked

It is very easy to get to work thanks to the Wellesley shuttle and Boston is a great place to spend the summer. Since we are close to and have direct access to MIT it is also very easy to keep in touch with coworkers after the internship experience.

What I wish was different

Nothing, actually. My experience was beyond enjoyable and I learned a lot.

Advice

Make sure that you have the time for the position as well as time for the commute before you commit to a position. Be very realistic about the amount of time you have to commit to a job or internship during the school year because you don't want to get overwhelmed and fall behind in you coursework and you also don't want to perform sub-optimally at you job, which would otherwise be valuable for networking, recommendation letters, and your learning/ career development in general.
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Undergraduate Researcher

June - August 2017 • Cambridge, MA

What I liked

The environment of the program was very well structured. We were given housing with other students and there were other activities besides the work to help with professional development.

What I wish was different

I didn't like my particular assignment but other than that it was great.

Advice

Expect to work a lot harder than you may anticipate.
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Lab assistant

June - July 2018 • Cambridge, MA

What I liked

Great biotech experience, very hands on and skills focused

What I wish was different

That I had the opportunity to conduct my own research or prepare a poster. There wasn't enough time.

Advice

Read all the papers given to you, and listen closely!
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Researcher

May - August 2018 • Boston, MA

What I liked

The people at the lab were lovely, and I had the flexibility and freedom to do research I was interested in and to make my own schedule.

What I wish was different

I wish I had been paid! I had to take on two extra jobs in order to subsidize my living. I also wish it wasn’t up to me and how many kids I was able to recruit in one day at the Boston Children’s Museum (by asking their parents if they wanted to participate in research).

Advice

Do it if you’re interested in Cognition and love children! You will learn a lot about psychology as well as interacting with people. However, be aware that although there is some mentorship, much of the experience is very independent and is what you make of it.
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Undergraduate Researcher

June - August 2018 • Cambridge, MA

What I liked

What I wish was different

The REU was only eight weeks, which isn't really enough to have a full research experience, so I wish it had been longer.

Advice

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Undergraduate Research Assistant

June - August 2018 • Cambridge, MA

What I liked

I liked that the work was very academic and that we were working and contributing to a project that had real impact.

What I wish was different

I wish that the supervisor had been more hands-on with mentoring the work.

Advice

I would suggest to do a research internship first year summer if you are interesting in exploring research-- you may find that you really like it or don't!
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Research Associate

June 2017 • Cambridge, MA

What I liked

Hands down, of the many parts of my research that I loved, the most wonderful aspect of my experience was the people. It was and continues to be incredible to work with such talented and intelligent researchers during the last two years. Every one of my colleagues took time to teach me and answer questions concerning the many challenging and technical aspects of our work in neutrino physics. As a result, I grew tremendously as a student, researcher, and person and I am nothing but pleased with my experience.

What I wish was different

I wish that I knew to be more goal oriented when the summer began. Since there was so much to learn about the physics, programming, and group dynamics I ended up spending too much of time trying to get a grasp of everything rather than accomplishing the tasks I was given. If I could do it differently then I focus on adding value to the research group by completing tasks rather than focusing on building my own knowledge before beginning work.

Advice

Don't be afraid to send an email! I am a physicist and working at MIT is the dream and I only got this opportunity because I had the audacity to send emails to the top researchers in the world even though on paper I should not have had a chance. If you make a solid argument as to why you belong and you get a little lucky, then anything can happen!!
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Amgen Scholar

June - August 2018 • Cambridge, MA

What I liked

The program was very well run, and it was great to have such a high-impact research experience at a larger university. I learned a lot about the grad school application process and was able to network with a lot of people interested in similar things to me.

What I wish was different

The symposium in LA could have been more helpful than it was, but it was a great experience overall!

Advice

Have an open mind! A lot of the students in this program are from large R1 universities, so it can be really intimidating to work with them at first. Because Stonehill is so small, your PI won't know what to expect from you, so make sure you work as hard as you can and leave a good impression.
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