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Plenty of Dartmouth students spend their first and only summer in Hanover at the end of their sophomore year. “Sophomore Summer” is known as one of the unique parts of the Dartmouth experience, but if this the first blog post of mine that you have read, I am not a sophomore. I found a unique opportunity to explore my academic interests in Hanover, and will be staying on campus for my first summer as a college student.

I am a member of the E.E. Just program at Dartmouth, a group which has the goal of increasing the number of underrepresented minorities pursuing PhDs in STEM fields. About halfway through the spring term, I received an email from the program advertising an opportunity for funding research over the summer. The opportunity is call the “E.E. Just Summer Internship” and it was designed specifically for first year students. At the time I had not figured out what I was going to do over the summer, so I looked into what it entailed.

The E.E. Just Summer Internship program funds full-time research for first year Dartmouth students either under the guidance of a Dartmouth faculty member, or at another institution. At first, I was confused as to how I was supposed to find someone willing to take me on as a research assistant, but luckily the Office of Undergraduate Advising and Research has a database of projects which Dartmouth faculty members need students for. Recently I’ve been somewhat interested in what epidemiologists (people who investivate trends in the cause of diseases) do, so I explored some of the faculty members at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.

Finally the answer hit me: starting in the early winter, I had been working as an intern for a project that explores the effects of Environmental Conditions on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO). I reached out to my boss, who is a research scientist at Geisel for this project, and we were able to devise a plan for me to assist them full-time over the summer.

After submitting my application, I waited for a little over a month for a notification, and found out I received the funding! It was a huge relief because otherwise I would be stuck this summer with nothing to do. Personally, I hate being bored, and thankfully there are opportunities like the E.E. Just Internship program that first year students can utilize.

I will also be rowing with my sophomore teamates on the Heavyweight Rowing Team. There are eight rowers and three coxswains on campus currently, and we have been developing our skills in smaller boats. It should be a fun time!