A Guide to Presentation

Have a presentation for one of your courses and unsure where to start? Or maybe you need to present for a research symposium? During your undergraduate years, you will come across many times when you may have to give a presentation to present your research for coursework or perhaps for an individual research pursuit. Here are some tips to help you present easily and effectively! 

individual giving a presentation to an audience
Give the most nerve-free presentation with these tips!
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Applying to Summer Programs

Quincy Monday ‘23 sitting in a chair working on his laptop in the lobby of New College West
Fortunately, if you’re stressed out trying to write all of these summer program applications, Princeton has plenty of comfortable study spaces to be working, like Quincy Monday ’23 in the lobby of NCW. Photo Credits: Dan Komoda (2023)

Applying to summer programs can seem like a daunting task when you may not even know what you want to do next summer. The busyness of the semester certainly hasn’t created a ton of time to be thinking about these things! Fortunately, winter break is a great time to work on applications to summer programs, as many of the earlier applications are often due early in the year. Having prepared them beforehand can ease a lot of stress, since the middle of the spring semester isn’t the most convenient time to be starting these applications. These timelines can vary by field, so it could be a bit different based on the type of program you are applying to—the career center has a great timeline of internship recruitment that is sorted by field so you can see the differences. Regardless, it’s great to work on these during the break when you don’t have courses.

You may be looking for something far away, here in Princeton, an industry internship at a company, or a research program at a university. Regardless of if you know exactly what you want to do or still aren’t sure, here are some tips to help you sort through this process.

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Why Internships in Global Health?

2024 Program Applications Are Open!

7 lab members in a Zoom meeting
Dr. Lim’s lab during my summer internship with the University of Malaysia for the 2023 Princeton Internships in Global Health.

The Global Health Program hosts a wide variety of research internships on global health topics each summer. They provide a fully-funded experience for students of all class years and backgrounds to explore urgent health issues in regions all around the world. This eye-opening summer will help you learn about the differences in healthcare access and treatment globally, and contribute to impactful solutions. I had the incredible opportunity to conduct research and data analysis on Type II Diabetes treatment in Malaysia while interning at the University of Malaysia for the 2023 Internships in Global Health Program. Here are a few of the biggest takeaways and highlights of my internship so that you can get excited about the 2024 program!

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Doing Summer Research Abroad (Princeton IIP)

Photo collage with selfies of student Xander Jenkin at Welsch Castles, Big Ben, and the National Astronomy Meeting 2023 conference
Some photos from writer Xander Jenkin’s International Internship in Wales, UK. Photo credits: Xander Jenkin (2023)

Last summer, I went abroad on a fully-funded internship doing astrophysics research at Cardiff University, in Cardiff, Wales, UK. This experience not only solidified my career decision to pursue astrophysics research, but also gave me a unique immersion into Wales and Welsh culture as well as the broader United Kingdom. If you are curious about research abroad, read on!

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My Experience as an HMEI Intern

This past summer, I had the incredible opportunity to be a research intern in the Princeton Department of Geosciences through the High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI) Internship Program. As a rising college sophomore who had spent half of my high school years during the coronavirus pandemic, I was eager to seek out an opportunity that would allow me to engage in an in-person laboratory research experience, and this was it. 

Microscopic screening of fossil foraminifera
The High Meadows Environmental Institute Summer Program provides a number of interdisciplinary research opportunities. Consider applying to join one of the amazing opportunities for this upcoming summer! Photo Credits: Mae-Yung Tang (High Meadows Environmental Institute Program Tech Support Specialist). 
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How to Tackle Research Topics “Beyond Your Depth” as an Undergraduate

Civil and Environmental Engineering graduate student Meiqi Yang working on lithium extraction in a lab.
You may not feel as confident as CEE department graduate student Meiqi Yang looks here working on lithium extraction, but as you do more research over time, you’ll feel much more comfortable as you progress. Photo Credit: Bumper DeJesus (2023)

When doing research as an undergraduate, sometimes the work you are doing and topics you study may be very familiar to you, other times you may be totally unfamiliar with what is going on. Maybe you even have some previous experience but the topic of the project is way above anything you’ve done before—you might be working with a physics professor on something really advanced like quantum field theory or condensed matter, which you have never taken a class on and are expected to now work on and understand what’s going on during your project. This can happen a lot in any field, not just STEM, where your professor may have spent years studying something that you are expected to contribute to after having taken maybe a few classes in it, if that. Some professors may work more often with graduate students, so they may assume that you know “basic” things about your field that you as an undergrad have just encountered for the first time: you could be working with an Art History professor who focuses on Late Antiquity, and they start throwing around terms and common symbols that you aren’t able to easily recognize. 

Regardless of the circumstances, this situation comes up a lot in undergraduate research. The fortunate thing is that tons of professors are willing to work with students who have no prior experience in the subject, but you still have to wrestle with “catching up” as you try to somewhat understand anything that you’re actually doing. Here are some tips to try to get acclimated with difficult, unfamiliar topics that may be well above your current depth as an undergraduate.

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How to Choose a Topic

After feeling inspired from reading my previous article about the reasons why you should pursue research, you might be stumped on what research topic you should investigate. Here’s some tips on how to find the right research field for you!

Image of summer laboratory research as an intern in the Department of Geosciences
This past summer, I had the incredible opportunity to be a research intern for the Sigman Research Laboratory in the Princeton Department of Geosciences. It was an incredible learning opportunity and a great experience of exposure to laboratory research in the field. Find out how you can discover the right field for you! Photo Credits: Mae-Yung Tang (High Meadows Environmental Institute Program Tech Support Specialist). 
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2024 ReMatch+ Program

Get excited for this hands-on research opportunity: incredible 2023 undergraduate projects and AY23-24 fall events

Undergraduate student wearing a lab coat and lab glasses observing a vial of neon green solution in a chemistry lab
First-year and second-year undergraduate students learn and participate in research experiments directly related to their fields of interest for their summer research project

ReMatch+ is an incredible summer research program for first-year and second-year undergraduate students at Princeton. Launched in 2014, the program connects undergraduate students with dedicated, knowledgeable Princeton graduate students and postdoctoral fellows working across a diverse range of disciplines. Each year, ReMatch provides fellowship funding for joint summer research projects and mentorship between undergraduates and graduate students/postdoctoral fellows. Sign-ups for interested students and fall events are currently open; I encourage you to join the interest list to learn more about this incredible opportunity here. Here is a sample of some of the 2023 summer projects conducted by students with various interests and experiences to help you gain a sense of the breadth of opportunities provided by ReMatch.

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Doing Summer Astrophysics Research at Princeton (Astro USRP)

2023 Astrophysics USRP Students Group Photo standing on steps.
2023 Astrophysics USRP Students Group Photo. Photo Credits: Stephanie N. Reif (2023)

My first summer research experience convinced me to declare my major as Astrophysics and solidified my plan to pursue research as a career after graduation. In 10 weeks, our Astrophysics department taught me how to start and complete a research project culminating in a presentation and paper write-up, with no prior research experience required! It was a particularly good experience to get to focus on research full-time without having to juggle courses, extracurriculars, and more, and it made me feel prepared and hungry to do even more research in the future.

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Why Research?

Hello scientists! During your time here so far, you may have heard of science research at Princeton – either through your STEM classes, through listserv emails, or through conversations with your peers and professors. At Princeton, I became involved in research and I grew to love this activity as a way to engage with my academic interests outside of the classroom. There are so many great benefits from pursuing a research interest, but first let’s talk – why science research?

Frick Chemistry Laboratory - full of natural light and glass and wood features.
Frick Chemistry Laboratory – an on-campus location of burgeoning science research. (Photo taken by Rebecca Cho.)
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