Employer: National Science Foundation Undergraduate Research Experience, Central Washington University (U.S.) and Northwest University (China)
Internship Title: Undergraduate Researcher
Describe your duties:
Develop a research proposal, research methodology, and interview questions; travel to China, conduct interviews with rural residents, government officials, farmers, and entrepreneurs; conduct quantitative research using government-published statistical yearbooks; compile quantitative data for regression analysis, location quotient, and descriptive statistics; write final research paper, write article for publication, and create and present powerpoint on research.
What did you enjoy most about your internship?
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to travel through China, meet many different people, experience Chinese minority cultures and rural life, and learn about development policies and strategies. This experience inspired me to apply for a Fulbright grant to continue conducting research, and to consider becoming a university educator.
What was the most difficult aspect of the internship?
The two most difficult aspects of the research program were working with a team and conducting research in China. My team's dynamics were not the healthiest, and sometimes it was very difficult to get everyone to work together - on the bright side, this experience taught me so much about leadership and teamwork, and about how they are vital skills no matter what field you go into. Conducting research in China was difficult because the statistical data we needed to use was not all that reliable, but was the only source we had, and because we had to schedule interviews with government officials' permission (and normally conducted them in the officials' presence).
How did your experience at Bucknell prepare you for your internship?
My Mandarin language training, which I have been receiving for the past two years at Bucknell, was very important, as were my writing and research skills that I have developed throughout my liberal arts education. Furthermore, the leadership and teamwork experiences I cultivated through my extracurricular activities were very helpful, especially given the difficult team dynamic I was required to work in.
What recommendations do you have for other students considering doing an internship?
Even if you have doubts about whether or not you would be qualified or likely to receive an internship, apply! You never know what might happen, and my best internships were also the ones I thought I had no chance of receiving.
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