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Students apply to summer programs for hands-on opportunities

By Dhruv Anish and Norah Shen Mar. 17, 2021

Every year, students at the school apply for summer programs to gain college or work experience and explore topics they are interested in. Although most programs take place during summer break, The Washington Post reports that they have become increasingly selective and require an extensive application process that students complete as early as December and as late as May.

This year, Freshman Ethan Chang applied for California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS), a month-long program that teaches students a variety of STEM subjects through advanced lectures and research projects. Although this program is usually a college residential program, due to COVID-19, it is now an online course. By attending this program, Chang hopes to learn more about bioengineering and explore possible career paths for his future.

Freshman Ethan Chang fills out summer application forms.

Julia Nakanishi Photo

“I want to pursue science or engineering, so I applied for a group related to bioengineering at the University of California, San Diego. It would be fascinating to apply the STEM concepts I learn in school to a real project at the camp,” Chang said.

In addition, Junior Anika Bhatia wants to pursue a career in medicine, so she applied to the Stanford Science Technology and Reconstructive Surgery internship and the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute Summer Student Research Program (CHORI SSRP). Similarly, last summer, she participated in an independent study group and researched COVID-19’s impact on New Zealand with former classmates. Her research ultimately helped improve her collaboration skills and provided her with more insight into the healthcare field.

This year, Bhatia was motivated to apply to more lab-based programs to gain experience in the medical field and further her excitement in STEM.

Unlike Bhatia and Chang, Junior Krystal Montgomery is interested in both design and computer science, so she applied to three programs, including Carnegie Mellon University’s National High School Game Academy. She was interested in this six-week program as it not only explores software development, but also the art, audio and game design aspects of game development. She looks forward to gaining an introduction to software engineering and strengthening her understanding of design and computer science by creating her own video game throughout the summer.

“This program initially caught my attention because it is a college-level interdisciplinary program that allows me to learn about my interests: computer science and design. Moreover, I would be able to participate in interactive projects that simulate aspects of a future career in software development. Especially since the summer before senior year is important for students to demonstrate that they are spending their time wisely and efficiently, I am motivated to do my best,” Montgomery said.

Julia Nakanishi Photo

However, unlike previous years, the majority of summer programs have been moved online or cancelled in order to prevent COVID-19 from spreading further. Regardless, Bhatia, Chang and Montgomery all believe that it is beneficial to learn from professionals and are eager to study through virtual platforms. Hence, despite the changes, the students are still hopeful that they will learn new topics and delve into diverse career pathways.

“Although summer programs are now virtual, they are still great opportunities to explore or solidify areas of interest and deepen knowledge or skills, especially since we have been unable to experience working in any hands-on activities all year. I hope the summer programs will provide me with more specific knowledge on the medical field and present more research opportunities,” Bhatia said.

Therefore, the students are eager to challenge themselves and apply the knowledge they gained from classes to new projects. They encourage other students to apply to summer programs to further enhance their education.


About the Contributors

Dhruv Anish

Staff Writer

Dhruv Anish is a junior at Leland High School who is a staff writer for the newspaper. He likes to watch movies and listen to music in his spare time. His favorite actor is Robert Deniro and his favorite movie is The Godfather: Part 2.

Norah Shen

Staff Writer

Norah Shen is a freshman at Leland High School and is a new staff writer. She likes to read, listen to music, and relentlessly tease her younger sister.

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