Imagine that you’ve been working on a research project for months. Now you’re standing in front of a crowd of professors, some of which probably know more about your topic than you do. If you do research working in an academic department, it can be a stressful experience if you have to eventually present your work to that department. Trying to talk about what you’ve done with your own adviser can be enough sometimes, and showing work that you may not be 100% comfortable with for a whole crowd of professors is a whole new level of daunting. They all have years of experience and may know more about aspects of your presentation than you do, so trying to seem like you know what you’re talking about while possibly being asked questions far out of your depth may seem impossible for an undergraduate to do.
Nonetheless, whether it’s theses, JPs, internships, or summer projects, all undergraduates here are going to find themselves in this position. So how do you do it?
So you’ve been brave, reached out to that professor whose research you’ve always admired, and just confirmed a summer on campus doing the research of your dreams. Whether you’re a part of an on-campus research cohort (like ReMatch or HMEI) or starting up your own independent work, summer on-campus is a special, if not bewildering, experience. If you are anything like me, the first few weeks may be a little confusing as you figure out what is expected of you and what exactly you want for yourself. Even though you’re doing research full-time, you’ll likely find that you’re substantially less busy than you were during the school year. This raises some important questions about how you choose to spend your free time. Who are you outside of research? How do you navigate the campus when you’re no longer a full-time student? Beyond time-management, what else should you know about being on-campus in the summer? Below I’ve compiled a short list of advice I’ve found most helpful during my summers on campus.
With summer break a mere two months away, it seems talk of summer plans finds its way into more and more conversations. The question seems simple enough: it may just be someone’s attempt to sow common ground, find a housing buddy, or even vent their own frustrations in the summer internship search.
Last spring, I interviewed Kasey Shashaty. In this second part of my interview, we discuss specific challenges in her transition between virtual and in-person research and reflections on how this experience in the PULSe Lab has influenced her perspective on research and her plans for the future.
Kasey Shashaty got her jumpstart in research through the ReMatch+ program organized by the Office of Undergraduate Research. ReMatch+ is a summer mentorship program that pairs first-year and second-year students with a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow as they work on a summer research project. Read on to learn more about her research experience!
On campus, Nal Xaviera ’25 is a member of Engineers Without Borders: Kenya, Community House After School Programs, and an assistant for the Visual Resources Department.
College is a wonderful place to explore your interests. It’s a time to meet new people, engage with different disciplines, and explore what you’re truly curious about. Perhaps one of the most apt examples of such opportunities is the Office of International Programs’s International Internship Program (IIP).
Everyone has heard of the spooky ~senior thesis~ since the second that they stepped on campus for their official Princeton tour. It may feel far away at the time, but trust me, coming from a second semester senior, it comes around quicker than you expect. I am currently in the writing process, but it has been a long journey even getting to this point. Surprisingly, though, I have loved writing my thesis. It does not feel like work because it is a topic that I am truly passionate about. My goal for my final PCUR posts is to walk you through my thesis journey to hopefully make you feel better about yours. This post will start with one of the first steps of the thesis process: finding an adviser.
As spring semester has arrived, the ever-expanding workload is not the only thing that students have on their minds. With application deadlines extending from now until late March or April, it is the time of year that we start thinking about where, and how, we will apply to summer internships, research opportunities, fellowships, and more. One perk of attending Princeton is that countless summer opportunities are made available to us and (bonus!) oftentimes many of the logistics (housing, payment, etc) are figured out by Princeton beforehand. But, this list can be daunting. Even figuring out which internships to apply to can be challenging, let alone how to best fill out their applications. We may feel like we just don’t have the time to think through our summer plans before we embark on them—but, trust me, some careful planning can make the difference between a life-changing internship and a bummer summer. So, I’ve compiled a short list of the best, time-efficient strategies for finding and applying to internships which are truly meaningful for you.
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!
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.
Princeton gives its farthest walks to its strongest academic weapons. Still, sometimes schlepping all the way to the Carl A. Fields (CAF) Center is just a bit too much. If you felt like this around 6:00pm on Tuesday October 4th or Thursday, October 13th, you just may have missed the first ReMatch dinner. No worries! I am here to fill you in on what you missed and hopefully convince you that the next one is worth the walk. First things first, ReMatch (developed and led by the Office of Undergraduate Research and the Graduate School) is a program that helps match first- and second-year undergraduates interested in research with graduate student and postdoc researcher mentors. Mentor and mentee pairs that develop potentially embark on a summer of research in Princeton fully funded by the university. At the dinners, students can eat catered food, mingle, and chat with researchers at tables.