Brace yourselves… the Viterbi Ball blog posts are coming. Though that’s not a bad thing! It was so fun hanging out with my fellow VSA’s this year, and we certainly had a blast. Of course, shoutout to Steve who was voted Viterbi King! This was only my second Viterbi Ball, but it completely blew away my expectations after last year, and I am so glad that I went.
— Robert Puncel (@rpuncel) February 23, 2013
The theme was Quantum (Physics) of Solace, and so I dressed to the theme, channeling Vesper Lynd! Of course, I had to nerd it up and actually go as VSEPR Lynd (if you don’t get the reference, take AP Chem and it will make sense). The theme totally made the night– everyone looked so classy and there was an abundance of bowties. Can’t wait for next year!
Anyway, my summer options have recently been on my mind, since I’ve been trying to make a decision with what I want to do. I am very lucky to have a couple different options for those few months, but it is going to be difficult deciding what to do. Here’s what I’m choosing between:
An international internship. I have made it to the second-to-last round of a competitive program that nominates students for international internships for the summer! I find out this Friday if I made it into the last round. Currently, my top two choices are an internship in Germany and one in Denmark, but I also applied to ones in Japan and Switzerland. Honestly, I know that the program is very competitive, and if I don’t get it, it won’t be the end of the world. I’m only a sophomore, so I can always apply again next year (actually, the program is designed for juniors, so I feel lucky to have made it to this round!). But this would probably be my top option this summer, because it combines an internship experience with going abroad! Plus, Meaghin and a ton of my friends are going to Paris this summer with the Viterbi Overseas Program, so it would be super cool to hang out with them on the weekends!
- An academic research program. These are basically NSF funded programs at research universities, and you spend the summer there doing research. They pay for your housing and give you a stipend, so it’s a great deal for someone interested in academic research. Most of the programs include seminars on getting a PhD and such, so it would be super useful for me! I’ve applied to a TON of these programs, but they are also quite competitive… though it would be such a great experience. I find out about these pretty late; some of them won’t tell me until April if I’ve gotten in. Also, Viterbi publishes an awesome list of these programs, and the Chemical Engineering department sends us emails when new relevant programs have their applications up– so I always just keep applying! And I have some great letters of rec from my professors here, so hopefully they help my application.
- Continuing research at USC. So I currently do research in the BME department, and I absolutely love it. My merit research scholarship can technically be extended over the summer, to allow me to work on campus and still get paid. Though, I would probably apply to one of the many grants that USC offers for undergrads over the summer, just so that I am sure to have enough money for housing. My professor said that, if I stay over the summer, I have a really high chance of getting my name on a paper, so that would be really cool. I have also been incredibly immersed with my current project, and it would be nice to work full-time on it over the summer. The only thing is that I already spend ¾ of the year at USC, and it seems nice to get away just for a bit of the year. But this is still such a great option, and the chance of getting my name on a paper as a sophomore is hard to give up.
My internship last summer. I got a return offer for my internship last summer at home in San Diego. It would be ideal to return to that internship, just because I have loved working at a start-up, and it has been such a great experience. I just can’t seem to stay away from the company! I was actually working there over winter break, and I’ll probably spend my spring break working there as well. The only problem is that my family is remodeling the house, and so our home will be a disaster this summer. My parents have hinted that, even though they love me dearly, it would be really really convenient if I was somewhere else this summer so that the remodel could go more quickly. But I will really miss working at SKS, and I try to stop by and work there as much as possible, because I feel like I have such independence with my project designs and optimization.
That’s it for now! Look out for an update soon for what I will actually be doing this summer. And fingers crossed for that email on Friday 🙂