Help Needed: Deciding Between Summer Research Options

In summary, the conversation is about a student who is deciding between accepting an acceptance to the Amgen Scholar's Program at UCSF or staying at their home institution, Yale, to continue their research in chemical biology. They express their interest in the program and the benefits it offers, but also consider the opportunity to continue their research and potentially produce publications at Yale. The student plans on going to graduate school and is seeking advice on which option would be best for their future career in research.
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Hi guys,

I have an important decision to make in the next couple of days regarding my plans for the coming summer, and I would appreciate any input. I applied to the Amgen Scholar's Program, and have received an acceptance from UCSF. I'm interested in pursuing research in the area of chemical biology, and UCSF has a very strong department in this area. I'm also doing research at my home institution (Yale), which is also related to chemical biology (mostly organic synthesis). The question is, should I accept the UCSF Amgen Scholar's program, or should I stay at Yale and continue my research onto the summer?

I'd really hate to pass up the Amgen Scholar's program. Apparently, last year UCSF received 800 applications for 25 spots in the Amgen Scholar's program (you do the math), and it keeps getting more and more competitive every year as past admissions statistics show. Plus, it's in San Francisco, a beautiful city that I'd love to live in for the summer. I will get paid on top of free housing. I'd much rather be in San Francisco for the summer, and in addition, it is only 45 minutes away from my home. I think this program is also an amazing opportunity to network with faculty from another institution. They also pay for a weekend conference in the middle of July at UCLA where all the Amgen Scholar's meet and talk about their summer research.

If I stayed here at my university, I could continue my research that I will eventually carry out into my senior year for my thesis. The main benefit may be that I can get more research done (I actually work in two labs, and I could probably work on my main one in addition to the other lab on the side).

I plan on going to graduate school and doing research as a career. Which summer option is best in my case?

Thanks!
 
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  • #2
Hi winterwind,

I was in a similar position last year. I go to a big research institution and I wanted to apply to research opportunities away from my home schools. My PI begrudgingly agreed, and I got into a few programs. Ultimately, he convinced me that it would be better if I worked for him that summer, and my work led to a few publications in Nature subdivision journals. When it comes to letters of recommendation, quality is definitely more important than quantity, and I was recently accepted to basically all of my top choice graduate schools (Harvard, Berkeley, MIT, and Stanford). I understand what an amazing opportunity would be to spend the summer in San Francisco, but I would recommend that you stay at Yale.
 

1. What factors should I consider when deciding between summer research options?

When deciding between summer research options, you should consider the subject area, funding opportunities, location, duration, and potential for publication or presentation. It's important to choose a research project that aligns with your interests and career goals, and offers opportunities for professional growth.

2. How can I determine which summer research option is the best fit for me?

To determine the best fit for you, you should research each opportunity thoroughly and consider your personal goals and strengths. You can also reach out to current or past participants, as well as faculty mentors, to gain insight into the program and its requirements.

3. What should I do if I am having a hard time deciding between two summer research options?

If you are having a hard time deciding between two summer research options, you can create a pros and cons list for each option to compare and contrast. You can also consider which option aligns more with your long-term goals and which offers more opportunities for personal and professional growth.

4. Is it better to choose a summer research option in a familiar subject area or try something new?

This ultimately depends on your personal goals and interests. If you are looking to expand your knowledge and gain experience in a new subject area, then it may be beneficial to choose a summer research option in that area. However, if you are looking to deepen your understanding and expertise in a specific subject, then choosing a familiar area may be more beneficial.

5. How important is it to secure funding for a summer research opportunity?

Securing funding for a summer research opportunity can be very important, as it can help cover expenses such as travel, materials, and housing. However, if you are unable to secure funding, there are often other funding opportunities available, such as grants or scholarships, or you can consider a research project that offers a stipend or covers expenses.

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