It’s never too early to start thinking about your plans for summer. Many math majors participate in Internships and REU programs over the summer, sometimes just after their first year of college.
What’s the difference between an REU and an Internship?
REU stands for Research Experiences for Undergraduates. Students participating in REU programs are matched with a faculty mentor and work on research projects, typically over 6-8 weeks at a hosting university. REU programs are paid; students typically receive a stipend between $2000 and $5000, housing, and travel costs. Many programs include an opportunity for students to present research either at an internal conference or provide travel funding for students to present at national conferences (like Mathfest).
Internships are typically hosted by companies and government agencies, providing a work experience to students. Internship experiences can vary in terms of responsibilities, independence, and compensation (some internships are unpaid, while some are paid).
Should I do an REU or an internship?
That’s up to you! If you are planning to attend graduate school, participating in an REU would provide additional research experience and give you a chance to meet faculty and students at other schools. An internship would provide a chance to build a connection in a company you may want to work for. If you’re not sure what you want to do after college, apply to both! Both opportunities look great on your resume.
Okay, I want to apply! What do I do?
Here are some typical materials you’ll need to prepare for both types of programs:
-Curriculum Vitae or Resume
-Unofficial transcripts: You can get this through myHilltop.
-A cover letter: This is typically less than one page, describing why you are applying to the program, what careers you are considering, and how you expect the program to benefit you.
-Letters of Recommendation (typically 1 to 3 letters): See http://sites.stedwards.edu/math/recommendation-letter-requests/ for more information
Most REU applications are due starting in January, while internship applications can vary, so get prepared early! Be sure to ask your letter writers well in advance (at least one month ahead of the deadline).
How do I find REU’s and Internships?
Be sure to check the math bulletin board on the 3rd floor for flyers for specific programs.
For REU programs:
-NSF REU Site: https://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/reu_search.jsp
-MathPrograms.org: https://www.mathprograms.org (Search under “Undergraduate programs”)
-AMS REU List: http://www.ams.org/programs/students/emp-reu
-Math Alliance: https://mathalliance.org/math-alliance-partners/affiliates/
-AMS Internships List: http://www.ams.org/programs/students/emp-internships
-SIAM Internships List: https://www.siam.org/Careers/Internships
-NASA Internships: https://intern.nasa.gov/
-NSA Internships: https://www.intelligencecareers.gov/nsa/nsastudents.html