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Stanford University

Undergraduate Researcher

January 2020 • Stanford, CA

What I liked

I got to learn a lot about the process of developing and putting together a research project.

What I wish was different

The COVID pandemic really threw things into disarray and I wasn't able to get actual in lab time.

Advice

Don't be afraid to reach out to your mentors, even, and perhaps especially, when you are doing an online internship.
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Youth Leadership Conference Executive Intern

June - July 2020 • Stanford, CA

What I liked

I loved the level of autonomy - as one of two interns in my division, I was able to take on a lot of responsibility and produce work that was unique to me. I also enjoyed working in a close-knit, small office, which led to a lot of cross-division interaction with other staff and interns.

What I wish was different

I wish there had been more structured interaction with my manager - I was never truly able to get clear feedback from my manager, even at the end of the internship. Additionally, although the autonomy was at times beneficial, my manager never asked for specific deliverables and was therefore unable to review the quality of my work throughout.

Advice

One piece of advice would be to get to know other interns in your division prior to starting the internship. When things kick off, knowing your peer group is perhaps even more helpful than knowing the full-time staff as work is extremely collaborative with little oversight.
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Research Assistant

June - August 2018 • Palo Alto, CA

What I liked

Work schedule My boss was great Learned a lot

What I wish was different

That the stipend included a place to stay instead of it coming out of my salary.

Advice

Be proactive. Ask lots of questions. The people you’re working with love what they’re studying so 9 times out of 10 they’re happy to talk and explain things to you.
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Physics Intern

July 2020 • Stanford, CA

What I liked

It was fun

What I wish was different

Wish it was even more fun

Advice

If you want fun, this is the job for you
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Undergrad Research Intern

April 2019 - March 2020 • Stanford, CA

What I liked

I personally find research to be a fantastic way to begin to understand how topics covered in students' classes relate to real world applications. Research will always be more technical, more hands on, and more focused than most classes, and because of this, it is a great option for students with a wide range of experience levels.

What I wish was different

I wish I had asked for a little bit more structure during my internship. I was working directly under one of the newer post-docs in the lab, and because of this my project didn't have much of a concrete direction. This meant I gained a lot of trouble-shooting experience, but there was a lack of structure in the project in general. I think, in general, interns are more helpful to a lab and learn more if they are working on a project with more structure and guidance.

Advice

It is always important when working in a large lab to actually get to know your coworkers, both for social and academic reasons. Working in a large lab can be very daunting, especially as an intern. Remember that you are capable, or else you would not have been hired, and that your lab-mates have been in your position and want to help you with your roadblocks.
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CURIS

June - August 2020 • Stanford, CA

What I liked

A good way to see what CS research is like

What I wish was different

In-person instead of virtual for better interaction, but that would’ve been unfeasible due to COVID-19

Advice

Contact professors early
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Research Assistant

June - September 2020 • Stanford, CA

What I liked

Connection to faculty, flexibility to pursue own interests and shape projects

What I wish was different

More feedback and guidance, connection to other faculty in department

Advice

Be open to changing directions of project given feedback!
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Biology Laboratory Assistant

June - September 2017 • Stanford, CA

What I liked

Learning how to do research.

What I wish was different

I wish it would have been closer to my house/ paid. I commuted 2 hours each way.

Advice

Definitely try out research before you decide what you want to do with your life.
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Premed intern

June - August 2019 • Stanford, CA

What I liked

Grew my networks Was exposed to the level of work as a medical student Met lifelong friends Housing and food provided Had planned events and outdoor activities with the entire cohort

What I wish was different

Had no accessibility to the gym or other recreational facilities, however understandable, it is a budget limitation

Advice

Must be prepared for a high level of rigor.
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Residential Counselor

June - August 2019 • Stanford, CA

What I liked

I was a residential counselor with Stanford's Summer At Stanford Program for high school students. It was very fun to work and live with children and college students from all around the US! I enjoyed teaching Creative Writing courses and watching the students work progress over the course of the camp.

What I wish was different

Because it is a summer camp where you live with the students, you often end up working sixteen hour days, which can be exhausting.

Advice

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Astronomy Research Intern

June - August 2018 • Stanford, CA

What I liked

My research group, location, food.

What I wish was different

I wish I had a car so that I could sightsee more.

Advice

Dreams do come true.
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Life Science Research Professional 1

June 2018 • Stanford, CA

What I liked

Stanford is an amazing environment full of inspiring and kind people. There are infinite opportunities to learn and grow here, whether in your professional career or in side projects.

What I wish was different

I wish I had more structure in improvement plans and ability to move upward in position/pay, especially since living in the Bay Area is so expensive.

Advice

Make the most out of your time here. Talk to people, learn about future opportunities, attend seminars/classes.
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Chemistry/Biology Researcher

June - August 2019 • Stanford, CA

What I liked

I had the opportunity to go to a big school and see if this was the kind of environment I would like for graduate school. I got to do pretty cool research and get an introduction to computational chemistry.

What I wish was different

There were a lot of people in the summer research program and a lot of people in the lab I worked in. There were also a lot of mandatory meetings for career development or grad school information, which took time away from my research.

Advice

Everyone should do a summer research experience before graduate school so they can figure out if they like it or not. This summer helped me figure out that I don't like big schools so I could narrow down my choices for grad school.
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Software Developer

May - August 2019 • Stanford, CA

What I liked

I loved being a part of a well established research group

What I wish was different

That I would’ve been able to work full time and not just the summer

Advice

Networking and presenting yourself is key
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Residential Counselor

August - September 2019 • Palo Alto, CA

What I liked

I enjoyed working with kids both inside and outside of an academic environment and hearing about all of their interests. I loved talking to new students everyday as well as other counselors throughout various programs.

What I wish was different

Nothing! It was a great job that always kept me active. I wish I had heard about it sooner.

Advice

This job can give you skills in helping deal with younger students as well as learning how they think and resolve conflicts between them.
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Camp Counselor

May - August 2019 • Palo Alto, CA

What I liked

The pay

What I wish was different

The bosses

Advice

They try and take every penny they can take from you. Typical Schedule is 8am-4:30. If they “dismiss” at 4:19 you must write down that time. They fire you if you don’t comply with their strict rules. Directors are so wealthy and take advantage of their young employees desperate for money
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Independent Researcher

July - September 2019 • Berlin, Germany

What I liked

Being abroad and fully indulging in a new culture

What I wish was different

More money

Advice

Definitely apply for as many grants as you can for research! You're bound to get some!
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Undergraduate Research Assistant

June - August 2019 • Stanford, CA

What I liked

I liked learning about the different experiences of Ph.D. students. It ranged from being really passionate about their interests to finding a lot of meaning in their contribution to their field.

What I wish was different

I wish I could have come up with my own project. I learned a lot of skills helping my mentor on his project, but I wish I could have worked on a project more in line with my interests.

Advice

Do research on something that you like! It makes the process more enjoyable, and you are more likely to be engaged with your work.
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Researcher

May - October 2019 • Stanford, CA

What I liked

I loved getting experience in a field that I'm extremely interested in, and having the time to discover the things that I love about research.

What I wish was different

I wish I would have has a more organized experience.

Advice

I would come in with an open mind and a positive attitude.
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Research Assistant

June - August 2019 • Stanford, CA

What I liked

Fun, large-team environment. Intellectual challenge and stimulating area of work.

What I wish was different

I wish I had more time there.

Advice

Radar systems are fascinating and highly complex - but can often be broken down to simple physics.
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