PCUR Archives: Preparing Summer Research Internship Applications

Image depicts student reading a book at a desk covered with texts and research tools, sitting in front of library shelves.
Before you get to the research itself, let’s talk applications! (Photo Credit, Danielle Alio)

We know, we know, it’s winter (well, for the Northern hemisphere at least)! Even though there may be snow outside your window, applications for summer research internships are coming due soon. Before you can dive into an archive, travel into the field, interview your participants, suit up for the lab, or more, you’ll want to think about how you can get a full-time, funded summer research internship. Let’s take a look back at what PCURs over the years have advised!

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PCUR Archives: Senior Thesis Planning

Two students sit at a table with their pen hovering over paper, working on their senior theses.
Students hard at work at a previous year’s Senior Thesis Bootcamp! (Photo Credit, Denise Applewhite)

As this is posted, many Princeton students are hard at work on their senior theses. Some are on campus right now participating in the residential colleges’ wintersession Senior Thesis Bootcamps. PCURs over the years have written extensively on this very important Princeton milestone. Browse through the posts below if you’ll be writing your thesis soon, are writing it right now, or maybe should be writing now.

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PCUR Archives: Tips for Winter Break

Image depicts courtyard area with grey bricks and fresh snow. A squirrel is in the corner and in the center are a set of archways.
Campus is quieter during wintersession, but there’s still plenty to do! (Photo Credit, Denise Applewhite)

Ryan closed us off in December with a wonderful post about different ways you can schedule (or not schedule) your time over winter break. To her work, we’d like to invite you to take a look back at some other posts on how you might build research, restoration, and recreation (of the educational kind) into your winter break. Check out the posts below!

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New PCUR Content On Pause for Winter

Photo of a tiger made out of snow in front of a brick building with dark ivy.
Not this snowy yet…(photo credit, Brian Wilson)

Greetings, all! We hope you’ve enjoyed the blog over the past semester. Brand new content is temporarily paused until our correspondents return from winter break, but we wanted to invite you to engage with the site during that time and we have a few ways you can do so below!

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iFly and I Rest: Making the Most of Winter Break

Photo of hand holding a takeout container with mini donuts covered in chocolate and powdered sugar. A blue food truck is in the background.
The outdoor food festival takes place on Prospect at the end of Wintersession. From donuts to skiing to iFly, you should definitely check it all out!

Winter break is long and much-needed. It is a time to relax, rejuvenate, and reflect on the semester. In this post, I will give advice on how to make the most of the next few months, but I recognize that you know yourself best and should choose to spend your break in whatever way makes you happiest. Without further ado, here are my takeaways from the last 3 winter breaks:

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Add-Drop Period Survival Guide

Woman with head in her hands looks stressed while staring at computer screen
How I feel trying to pick classes at the crack of dawn every semester

If you’re anything like me, course selection is a perfect storm of stress and chaos. It’s at the crack of dawn for some reason, TigerHub feels like it was designed on Microsoft Word, and you are making decisions that have a direct impact on your future. And sometimes it all goes wrong. Seeing that big red X on a course you really wanted to join may be disheartening, but it is not the end of the world! I am here to offer some advice for surviving the magical solution to all your course selection woes: add-drop period.

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Learning to Stay Productive During Reading Period

While reading Ryan’s recent post about dean’s date traditions and reading period excitement, I started thinking back to all of the things I wish I did differently during my first reading period. Today, I want to approach the same topic of reading period, but from a slightly less exciting (although necessary) angle: how to actually buckle down and stay productive when studying for finals. Unlike fall finals last year, reading period this December will be fully on campus, and for most of us, won’t require navigating studying from home. Here’s some of my advice for how to take full advantage of reading period for a strong end to the semester.

screenshot of a google calendar schedule
An example of what an “optimized” schedule might look like – you can take this to whatever degree works best for you.
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No Experience Necessary: An Interview with Delaan Nedd ’25

Delaan Nedd '25 and the Bocarsly Lab

Delaan Nedd ’25 (second from the left in the top row) and the Bocarsly Lab. Photo from Bocarsly Lab News.

As we enter December, it seems like summer is far, far away, but it’s a good time to start thinking about summer plans if you haven’t already. If you’re interested in research, there are numerous summer research programs whose applications are currently open (the Office of Undergraduate Research has a great list here).

For students with no experience with research, just getting started can be daunting. I wanted to hear from students whose first hands-on exposure to research was through Princeton’s research programs, so I interviewed Delaan Nedd ‘25. Delaan spent this past summer in the Princeton Department of Chemistry’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Chemistry (SURF-C) program. SURF-C is a nine-week program for first and second-year undergraduate students to work on cutting-edge chemistry research alongside Princeton faculty, post-docs, graduate students, and other undergrads. What’s exciting is that the research Delaan contributed to during SURF-C was recently published in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Dalton Transactions journal—check out the full paper here!

In this interview, we discuss his experience with on-campus summer research both in and out of the lab, as well as how the summer further informed his academic and career interests.

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Research During the Academic Year: Tips for Time Management & Pursuing your Passions

A schedule board with a plethora of sticky notes containing writings on various obligations.
Whether you’re in a lab or working remotely, fitting in research during the academic year requires above all a willingness to prioritize yourself and good time management. Photo Credit: Jo Szczepanska.

Whether you’re trying to free up your summer to enjoy one of Princeton’s other fully-funded programs, or maybe pave the way for more advanced summer or independent research opportunities, it’s understandable why you might want to get a head start on research during the academic year. But, with jam-packed class schedules, multiple labs, essays to write, and hopefully squeezing in some time for yourself, it can feel impossible to do research on top of life at Princeton. So, how do students do it? Can you really spend 8-10 hours per week on research and still find work-life balance? In short, it depends. The number of classes you’re taking, extracurriculars, and your own unique circumstances all factor into whether research during the academic year is sustainable for your class schedule. For some, research can be a valuable addition to their academic schedules. But, like anything at Princeton, it requires careful planning, time management, and clarifying your own values. Here are three tips for striking balance with research during the academic year.

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My Favorite Introductory Lab at Princeton

Three students stand around a tree in the woods and measure its diameter with a tape measure
Students measure the diameter of a tree much like one of the EEB 211 labs

I had lab from 7:30pm to 10:20pm and it was one of my favorite Princeton memories. I tend to get weird looks when I say that, but it’s true! I took EEB 211 fall of my freshman year, mostly because I thought the name “Life on Earth: Mechanisms of Change in Nature” sounded cool. The course itself is the introductory course to Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and it is similar to some of what I learned in AP Biology in high school but with much more of a focus on species-wide interactions. Format wise, it is a pretty classic lecture Biology class with only a midterm and final, and while the lectures were super interesting the real fun is the labs.

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