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Receiving the email that I had been accepted to my first ever Dartmouth lab made for one of my most exciting Saturdays yet. 

There are so many different ways to get involved in undergraduate research that I'd need to warrant a completely different blog post to discuss every option for freshmen coming into Dartmouth. With that being said, the option that I chose to get involved with research through was the Women In Science Program! Also known simply as WISP, this program pairs undergraduate women with faculty mentors for part time paid research positions. 

I knew about the WISP program before I got onto campus after attending a Dartmouth informational session over Zoom. Research seemed like a great way to get hands on with the sciences and start applying what I was learning in class to a real world environment. My application process began in early October when I attended one of 2 WISP informational sessions that included current and past participants talking about their experiences and how the application process would work. For any women interested in getting involved with faculty research, here's how my application process went!

First, the WISP program released a list of all the projects students could get involved with and the mentors to contact. The program suggests applicants choose around 5 that they're relatively interested in and contact those professors. There are dozens upon dozens of projects to choose from, the best part being that they're all from completely different departments. From anthropology to biology to mathematics, every STEM interest is represented. The hardest part was choosing which labs I'd be interested in partaking in but after that, I just needed to set up times with the labs to interview.  

The interview process was stressful, but overall really fun! I interviewed with two labs that I was interested in and learned all about what they had to offer and what kind of applicant they were looking for. During these interviews, the professors and other lab workers just want to get to know you and evaluate if you'd be a good fit for the research they're doing. 

After around a week, match notifications come out and you find out if you got into the labs you applied for! Instead of being directly chosen by labs, the matching process is computer automated and takes a series of rankings into account. Before match notifications, you must rank which labs you're most interested in and the labs also rank the students they're most interested in. If the rankings between you and the lab match, then congratulations! You've landed your first internship with WISP. If not, there is nothing to worry about as there are so many ways to engage with research on campus and make relationships with professors. 

I am so incredibly excited to begin my internship in the winter in the biomedical engineering lab I was placed into! I'm hoping participating engages my curiosity and allows me to explore an important interest of mine. Updates to come!

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