Preparing for Graduate School
Graduate school is very different than undergraduate school. A summer internship can give students a better understanding of what that next step will look like, especially because they’ll more than likely be working alongside graduate students. CSULB BUILD Scholars who took the opportunity to participate in internships around the country – and the world – discovered that the experience helped them better prepare for the next step in their academic career.
“I really appreciated learning from current graduate school students,” said Alexandra Gomez, a Psychology major who interned at the University of Michigan. “It gave me a better grasp of what to expect at a Ph.D. program, and how to navigate some of the issues that we may face as minority students.”
In addition, students will be exposed to people who are fired up about what they do. “I truly enjoyed being around ambitious doctoral candidates,” said Robbin Nameki, a Biology major who interned at the University of California Irvine. “I could tell they truly cared about their work and that inspired me to continue my pursuit for graduate school.”
Networking with people who are doing now what undergraduate students hope to do can be inspiring and informative. “What I enjoyed most was gaining the training to be a top competitor for graduate school,” said Malik Rogers, a Political Science major whose internship was at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “I gained insight into what it takes to prepare for graduate school, which will make my transition much less stressful.”
Participating in a research internship can help boost your confidence. Sima Chokr, a Biology major, felt respected in the lab where she interned at the University of California Riverside. She felt she was seen as “someone who provides a perspective from a different lab, who can approach their troubleshooting problems from a different angle,” she said. “It was very interesting learning a new laboratory dynamic and protocol, and which gave me ideas that I am excited to bring into my lab at CSULB.”
“I feel more prepared for going off to graduate school and ready to go wherever research takes me,” said Sydney Fox, a Psychology major who interned at the University of Massachusetts. “Being out of state and fully submersed in research only amplified my interest in pursuing research.”
Coming up in Part Three: Passing the Torch