Blog of the Peer Advising Leadership Program, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

May 6, 2009 1:48 PM

Plans for the Summer?

Finals season is almost here! It's amazing how quickly this semester has passed. By now, most of us are probably completing final projects or essays for classes and trying to squeeze in extra hours of studying for the final exams. I know that I get most stressed out about this period but knowing that summer is approaching helps to pull me through the next two weeks.

I wanted to use this blog to talk about the myriad activities that you can get involved in during the summer. Some examples may be an paid/unpaid internship, research position, summer classes or even going abroad to study or volunteer. Summer is a perfect time to explore possible career options and set your foot in the real world. Do not be discouraged by the fact that it may be too late to apply for anything. In fact, now is a perfect time to ask your professor if s/he would like any help in his/her lab or even look up companies in yellow pages and call them if you can intern at their office.

This summer, I will begin research with Dr. Peggy Lemaux, a Plant and Microbial Biology faculty, and Dr. Wong, a biochemistry researcher, who are working on a project for the development of a genetically modified Sorghum, a widely available cereal in Africa, that will more nutritious and digestible for humans. This is the main reason why I am so excited for the summer to arrive because I am passionate about using plants or GMP's to improve human's health. By working in a real lab setting, I will be able to apply the materials that I have learned from lower division classes and learn research techniques that I can possibly use in my own future research. It is also a great way for learning about the various research projects that our passionate PMB faculty is involved with. While I applied for this position via SPUR (Sponsored Projects for Undergraduate Research, there are also other locations where many Berkeley students spend their time researching over the summer. Examples are at UCSF, the USDA (Albany), Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP), Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP), Research at Children's Hospital in Oakland (CHORI), volunteering at local hospitals, Tang Center, Berkeley Optometry Clinic and many more. The possibilities are endless as long as you find a field that interests you.

Especially in the economic and intellectually-expanding state that our country is in now, it is even more important to get the experience you need to apply for a job or graduate school program after you graduate from UC Berkeley. Even if you are not completely sure about what to do in the future, the summer is a perfect time to uncover or narrow down your interests. While we spend at least 80% of our year in an academic setting, it is nice to take the summer to expand our exposure to other environments, meet new people (networking) and take the time to enjoy learning. You can be surprised of how much you'll discover or mature in the summer.

Jenny Zhang | Permalink | Comment on this article | Comments (0)

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