What are University of Rochester Students Up To?

I surveyed ten undergraduates to get an inside look at the summer jobs, internships, and travels of the typical University of Rochester student.

“I worked at the SummerWrite program at Writers & Books right here in Rochester! Each week I assisted teachers in the classroom, and each teacher taught uniquely different classes. One week was Harry Potter Week and we transformed the building into Hogwarts. Another week I helped students write short plays. There was a Magic Tree House class with the littler kids, and we did lots of crafts. It was a great way to meet people in the literary community in Rochester. Before Writers & Books, I didn’t know a community of that type.”

– British & American literature student, Class of 2019

“This summer, I worked as a business development manager for a group of companies in the education industry. I also traveled all around the Japanese countryside, some of the most beautiful locations I’ve ever been. During the latter half of the summer, I started a reading group in Tokyo and made some of my closest friends there. All in all, this summer was adventurous to say the least.”

– Business student, Class of 2021

“I worked at the US Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC, for the optical sciences division. I worked mostly with the free space optical communication group to transmit data via laser beams. These communication systems are used terrestrially to communicate terminal to terminal as well as from the ground to space. I spent about half my time running optical simulations in MATLAB and Zemax, a lens design software. The other half of my time was spent in the lab performing tests of components for the systems themselves. And there was the occasional day of field testing by the Potomac River.”

– Optics student, Class of 2018

“I had a full-time job with the Health Promotion Office on campus. I created an internship course for the public health department, funded by a grant from the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. The full-year internship course opens this fall and gives students a chance to put their health promotion skills to use for the good of the Rochester student body. I learned so much creating materials like a syllabus, course content, course calendar, and Blackboard page. I really felt like a professor and it definitely solidified my interest in health education. My supervisor is amazing and gave me such helpful career advice. I loved spending time in Rochester over the summer, my friends and I went to Highland Park almost every week.”

– Public health student, Class of 2019

“I worked at a private practice that offered a multitude of psychological services, including therapy, speech therapy, and tutoring. I was involved in the neuropsychology department and took part in neuropsychological testing. I participated in intake sessions, the testing itself, and feedback sessions. Following the testing, my role was to compile the data into a presentable format for the client and their family. I was also involved in researching different measures and the ability to convert measures from paper to electronic versions.”

– Psychology student, Class of 2019

“I spent the summer in Washington, DC, and interned with NERA Economic Consulting in their Energy and Environment practice. My work consisted largely of conducting research, both qualitative and quantitative. I worked on cases ranging from litigation to client-commissioned projects, gathering and analyzing data, constructing economic models, preparing deposition materials, and participating in client calls.”

– Math and economics student, Class of 2019

“So I worked in the Emergency Department at Strong Memorial Hospital, right next to campus, as an Emergency Department Research Associate (EDRA) for six weeks, full time. Then I spent a week in Germany with my family, and a week at summer camp for children affected by cancer as a counselor.”

– Biology student, Class of 2020

“This past summer I worked at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. While I was there, I worked in the Civil Space Sector on the Lucy spacecraft, a device that will fly by multiple of Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids after launch in Fall 2021. I worked on the analysis of optical system performance for the Lucy Long Range Reconnaissance Imager, a heritage instrument from the New Horizon spacecraft that sent back high resolution images of Pluto in 2015. I modeled image degradation resulting from diffusion within scientific CCDs, in addition to creating a fully functioning graphic user interface for calculation the signal to noise ratio (SNR) of an electro-optical system looking at realistic sources like stellar fields and rocky objects.”

– Optical engineering student, Class of 2019

“This summer I interned at a green infrastructure company in New York City. My work involved research and field studies on existing green roofs in NYC, while also creating and proposing new and improved designs. It gave me a lot of new insight on sustainable engineering in an urban environment, and now I am interested in pursuing a related career in the future.”

– Biomedical engineering student, Class of 2019

“This summer I worked in Dr. Ross Maddox’s lab researching the importance of different cues for understanding speech in noisy environments. I have learned so much over the past two months from my project itself, from working with a research team, and from the Center for Visual Science (CVS) Fellowship Program. With only the knowledge from one intro to programming course and with the help of our graduate student, I was able to code my entire experiment. By providing me with a project of my own, the lab walked me through all the stages of a research experiment, including the scientific design process, coding, running participants, analyzing data, and eventually writing a paper, as I plan to continue working in this lab over my final year at the University of Rochester.

Dr. Maddox’s lab is extremely collaborative. I interacted with our graduate student and with Dr. Maddox nearly every day, and attended weekly lab meetings where I updated everyone on my project and learned about all the other projects that were in the works. The weekly CVS program seminars introduced me to many areas of research in the field of neuroscience and led discussions on the ethics of research, which involved debating the ethics of hypothetical scenarios. This program was a great learning experience and I’m excited to continue working on my project with Dr. Maddox’s lab.”

– Brain and cognitive sciences student, Class of 2019

What were you up to this summer?

About the author

Charlotte Pillow

I am a member of the Class of 2019. I am originally from Ridgewood, NJ. I am a student in the Dual Degree in Nursing program. I am majoring in nursing, public health, and interdisciplinary dance studies, and minoring in psychology. I am the president of the College Diabetes Network and a research assistant at the School of Nursing. For the 2017 spring semester, I studied public health at the University of Oxford.

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