What are the benefits of a summer science internship?

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Answered by: Luke , An Expert in the Summer Jobs and Internship Programs Category
Albert Einstein once said that "the only source of knowledge is experience." In today's world an emphasis has been put on the importance of learning in the classroom while the importance practical experience is somewhat neglected. Although the theories that we learn in our education are important, Einstein was right in saying that authentic knowledge comes from hands-on experience. It's one thing to be able to cite the breakthrough experiments that have led to our overall understanding of science, but its an entirely different and powerful thing to be able to recreate those experiments yourself. Summer science internships allow students to learn about the theories from the classroom by getting hands-on experience and applying those theories in a meaningful and marketable way.

While teachers might not emphasize the importance of practical experience, our increasingly competitive job market certainly does. Fifty years ago, a bachelor's degree might have been enough for a graduate to get a desired job in their field, but today employers hesitate to hire anyone without practical experience. Employers are presented with an overwhelming amount of applications each year, but many of those application aren't distinguishable besides minute differences in the candidates' GPAs. However, those people with practical experiences have a leg up on the other graduates.

These summer internships allow people to gain the practical experience that future employers will take note of before those they are thrown into the modern job market. They also allow the student to make connections in their field that can benefit them for years after they graduate by allowing students to learn more about the field that they are studying and by demonstrating the theories that they are taught in the classroom, thereby allowing them to truly understand the gravity and practicality of the theories. By giving the theories taught in the classroom more weight, a summer science internship can even benefit a student's classroom performance by motivating them to learn more and by giving them a more detailed knowledge of the theories that they will be tested over.

By immersing themselves in a practical environment, the student is also fulfilling the true purpose of their degree. A common way of thinking among modern students is that an undergraduate degree is just a prerequisite for graduate school. However, a bachelor's degree is meant to prepare a student for a career regardless of whether or not they choose to go to graduate school. By completing the hands-on experience that their degree is intended to prepare them for, students can actively utilize and learn from their degree instead of using it only as a means to graduate school. In this way, their undergraduate experience is more meaningful regardless of whether or not a student intends to go to graduate school.

While Einstein might have exaggerated a bit when he said that "the only source of knowledge is experience," the only way to truly make the knowledge gained in the classroom meaningful and impactful for a student is for that student to get hands-on experience. Luckily, summer student internships allow a student to get that hands on experience during a time when the demands of school are low and only serve to benefit the student both in and out of the classroom.

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