Brandeis undergraduates speak out about summer research at Brandeis:
Being given the opportunity to do research as an undergrad was amazing, fun, intellectual, and extremely useful; I've done it for two summers now. At the beginning of my college career I was pre-med, but it only took a summer of research to help me realize that I actually want to do science over the course of my career. Now I've been accepted to several PhD programs (which are free and offer stipends) and have very solid career prospects. I owe everything to the people who helped me set up this summer opportunity and to the very helpful, kind, and extremely-non-intimidating PI and post-docs in my lab.
Research at Brandeis is extremely challenging. It is far more difficult than the laboratory classes you take as an undergraduate science student here. But, it is easily ten times more rewarding. Starting a project from scratch or even helping another student with their project strengthens your method of approaching problem solving.
I've worked in research labs at 3 different institutions. Nowhere else have i found such a nurturing, trusting, and overall fantastic environment. My time spent working as a part of the URP program at Brandeis expanded my abilities as a scientist and also made me realize that it was the correct path for me. I'd recommend the experience to anyone even remotely interested in pursuing a career in the sciences wholeheartedly.
Research at Brandeis allows you to immerse yourself in a subject and interact with talented faculty. You discover just how steep a learning curve can be but through all the chaos your principles become clearer, you begin to have a grasp of science that only comes with truly understanding something in depth.
As a freshman [...] I had no idea what I was getting into - NMR spectroscopy was an alien concept and classical biochemistry protocols may as well have been written in another language.
But it was only through struggling with the difficult things that I was able to understand them, after my first summer in the lab and more classes at Brandeis I have finally become comfortable with my work. It has paid off immensely, my appreciation for the sciences has helped me succeed academically and build stronger relationships with professors. The cycle still continues as I again want to find new areas where I am completely lost - in order to again conquer the same struggles I faced as someone starting off in a lab.
(Maybe one day I'll finally understand residual dipolar coupling)
Any student considering a career in science should work for a summer in a lab. Not only does it allow you to experience the lifestyle of being a research scientist, but it gives you first hand experience of how the questions and experiments are done to advance our scientific knowledge. That experience, in my opinion, is vital for anyone who wants to be able to be a consumer of primary scientific literature or interact with scientists. Brandeis' program is extremely supportive, the faculty are top notch, and the experience was unforgettable.