Summer Undergraduate Research Programs

The best way to learn how biology works is to spend some time doing research. You should definitely do this after you transfer to a university (as most De Anza bio majors are planning to do). In fact, you can also get some research experience while you're still a De Anza student. Many universities offer summer research programs that are intended for students from other colleges, including community colleges. Some of these programs are specifically designed for lower-division students, so they're a good fit for De Anza students. By the time you finish Bio 6B, you'll be well-prepared for a research experience.

Typically, these programs include some lab research time, along with some mentoring and training in skills that will help you in your career. In most cases, you'd be interacting with university researchers and also with a small group of undergraduate students from other colleges, which can be enlightening in itself.

How to find a program

The best way to start is to google "summer undegraduate research program biology." There are so many different programs that there's no comprehensive list anywhere, as far as I know. You can probably find a long list, so the next task is narrowing it down.

Things to consider

  • Where is it? Most programs aren't in our local area. Are you able to go away for the summer? Most of the programs are full-time; you won't be able to have a job.
  • What is the program about? Try to find a program that matches your interests; don't just do something to build your resume.
  • Are you eligible? Read carefully. Programs might or might not be open to students from other colleges. Some are only for upper-division or grad students. Some only allow U.S. citizens or residents.
  • When is it? Look at the application date (usually early February) and the starting and ending dates of the program. Many of them will conflict with De Anza's academic schedule.
  • How much does it cost? Some programs provide free room and board; at others, you'll have to pay. Some even pay students a small stipend.
  • How competitive is it? Figure out what the program organizers are looking for. Is it you? Be realistic about your chances.

Finally, keep in mind that if you can't do it this year, maybe you can do it next year.

Some examples

I didn't carefully select these examples; they're simply a few of the first to pop up in my own google search.

Amgen Scholars. A large program operating at many universities.

NSF Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU): Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley, from Molecules to Ecosystems. The National Science Foundation (NSF) Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates is a large program, operating at many locations. This is only one example.

Research by Undergraduates using Molecular Biology Applications (RUMBA) at San Jose State University.

Summer Research Programs at UC San Francisco.

Summer Program for Undergraduate Research at the University of Oregon.

Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Molecular and Quantitative & Computational Biology at Princeton.

Summer Undergraduate Research Program at the University of Utah Department of Biology.

There are many more programs, and if you have a deep interest in research, you may be able to find an experience that fits your interest. Your educational experience is yours to create.

While you're thinking about your future research experiences, you might want to give some thought to doing some lab work at your university of choice after you transfer. To get a head start on this, take a look at finding a research position on this site.

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