Summer Science Internships: A Firsthand Immersion in Science 职业生涯

“This was a summer of firsts,” wrote Mason Klein ’24 in his Summer Science Internship blog. Klein was speaking of his internship experience at Boston Ability Center, which provides physical therapy and other treatments for pediatric patients.

但大多数, 如果不是全部, of the summer interns could make a similar claim: For Caroline Chung ’24, who interned at Boston Children’s Hospital, it was the first time she’d done research on zebrafish embryos to help gain insights into fetal alcohol syndrome. For Joshua Do ’24, interning at The Tye Lab of the Salk Institute at UCSD, it was a first chance to explore the neuroscience behind the social patterns he’s observed at school. And for Megan Sweatt ’24, it was her first opportunity to translate her concerns about climate change and sustainability into action, as she interned at Energy Action Partners. 

The summer science internships, a signature program for rising seniors, send students into a variety of settings—medical, 工程, 软件, 生物科学, 机器人, and more—to gain substantive experience in those fields and see firsthand what a career in sciences can look like. 上周五, at an Upper School assembly, the summer science interns made presentations to the community about their experiences—a required element of the program. Students must also write a lengthy blog post reporting on their experiences. 

Students experience many firsts in the course of their internships, but science faculty member Michael Schlenker, who oversees the program, says the new experiences begin long before the summer placements. “The internship program is important because it’s often the students’ first experience applying and working in a professional science setting,Schlenker说.

Applicants to the selective program submit material over the winter, including a cover letter and essay detailing their interests and their reasons for pursuing the internship. Once they’ve cleared that hurdle, they must sit for an interview with Schlenker. 这个过程, which resembles a job search, helps set the stage for the internship, letting students know that they will be working in professional, 要求 settings and will be expected to comport themselves accordingly. Schlenker also uses the application process to help match students to internships; for the most part, students are placed in areas that reflect their interests.

亚历克西斯塔24, 例如, says she has been “fascinated by the brain” for as long as she can remember. 结果是, she was thrilled to be placed at the Wheeler Lab in the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital for the summer, developing lab skills in support of studies examining depression and anxiety in mice. And Alex Perlman ’24 was delighted to translate his childhood interest in Legos into a manufacturing operations internship at Brooks Automation, one of the world’s largest makers of semiconductors.

The Summer Science Internships have been offered at Rivers for more than two decades. But the program has expanded greatly over the past few years, thanks in large part to financial support from donors Kena and Michael Thompson P’22, 马克·克利特71年, 克里斯·埃利希,88年, and Jeff and Connie Walsh P’20, ’26, allowing participating students to receive stipends. “That has really helped the program,Schlenker说. “If kids are deciding between ‘I have to make money’ and ‘I want to do the internship program’—now, they don’t have to make that choice.”

At Friday’s assembly, it was clear that the students earn those stipends. The internships are robust, 要求, 和实质性的, and many students take pride in having made a valuable contribution to the hosting organization. 

The final presentations are brief, 的必要性, but there’s sufficient time for students to share what they’ve learned and convey their excitement about their summer placements. “On presentation day, it’s great to see the other students support the interns, as it’s a culmination of a process that started almost a year ago,Schlenker说. “I’m so impressed with how each intern summarized and presented such complex science—in under three minutes.”