Good news: We are officially 102 days away from the summer break! Summer starts on May the 10th and class resumes on August the 29th, blessing us with a 16-week break. For college students, the summer holiday allows us to temporarily exit our current narrative and explore a multitude of thrilling new possibilities. It is great if you already have some adventure in mind. If not, here are some suggestions.
- Take advantage of what Kenyon has to offer
You might be pondering what you can do with your degree after graduation as a STEM student. Summer is a great window to feel out career options or education routes. Consider Kenyon College Summer Science Scholars Program or Kenyon College Summer Science Cascade Program. In these two Kenyon-sponsored programs, you will be paid a generous stipend to conduct an 8-10 weeks project with a faculty mentor. Housing will also be provided. Kenyon is lovely over the summer with splendid sunshine and firefly population. More information about opportunities available at Kenyon can be accessed here: https://www.kenyon.edu/student-research-opportunities/.[Firefly video here]
- Explore your potential out in the world
If you want to escape the confinement of corn fields, there are also plentiful off-campus opportunities. The National Science Foundation (NSF) funds many research opportunities for undergraduate students through its Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Sites program that spans 19 different disciplines. More information on REU can be accessed via this link: https://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/. Aside from national foundations, multiple private foundations or institutions also provide summer internship positions for undergraduates. This might require a bit of digging on your side – if you have heard of certain distinguished organization or have read a work published by an institution that piqued your interest, go and see if those sites offer internships. Otherwise, you can even reach out to other labs yourself and inquire whether they are looking for some help over the summer. The Kenyon College RISE Science Fellowship offers compensation for unpaid summer internships, so you don’t have to worry about not being paid for opportunities found like that. Off-campus opportunities would allow you to discover your potential and mold yourself as a person in a real-world setting.
- Give industry a try
If you want to work a bit after Kenyon to figure things out, don’t hesitate to apply for positions in the industry. Some pharmaceutical and biomedical companies such as Novartis(https://www.novartis.com/careers/students-scholars) and Pfizer (http://www.pfizer.com/careers/en/us-summer-student-worker-program) offer opportunities specially tailored for undergraduates. Aside from these programs, most companies offer summer internship or co-op positions. You should also consider how versatile your major can be. And if applicable, even try applying for positions at skincare companies that uses needs scientists in product development and testing.
Lat summer, I had the privilege of staying at Kenyon for research. I enjoyed the summer more than I initially expected. It not only allowed me to experience what is it like to work like a full time researcher, it is also an opportunity to build professional relationships with research mentors and colleagues. Equally important, staying at Kenyon over the summer put Kenyon in a different light for me, somehow prepared me mentally for the years to come, either at or after Kenyon.
Whatever you choose to do in the end, we hope this summer would be the best one yet for you. And please share your summer experience with us if you want to! We look forward to hearing about them.