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Internship in fluid mechanics (Princeton, Brown, UCSD ...)

Posted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:24 pm
by miragef1
Hello,

I posted on college confidential and they advised me to come here. So here's my questions !
I'm currently a French student in fifth year of higher education (physics/engineering) and I'd like to do an internship in a US lab for 3 months.

I currently have some opportunities :
- Brown : on the bat fly
- San Diego : on nano swim
- Santa Barbara : on turbidity currents
- Princeton : on radiatively driven flows or vortex (2 different labs)

Basically, all these subjects look great.
I wanted to do this internship on fluid mechanics applied to aero/astronautics but it's quite hard to find. I asked many faculty in Stanford but they lack space and can't host international students.

I don't really know which university to pick as all these subjects interest me. Princeton and Brown attracts me (especially Princeton) but I don't really know why as I can't really compare them.

What would you advise me to do ?

Thanks for your help
Regards

Re: Internship in fluid mechanics (Princeton, Brown, UCSD ...)

Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:16 am
by bfollinprm
miragef1 wrote:Hello,

I posted on college confidential and they advised me to come here. So here's my questions !
I'm currently a French student in fifth year of higher education (physics/engineering) and I'd like to do an internship in a US lab for 3 months.

I currently have some opportunities :
- Brown : on the bat fly
- San Diego : on nano swim
- Santa Barbara : on turbidity currents
- Princeton : on radiatively driven flows or vortex (2 different labs)

Basically, all these subjects look great.
I wanted to do this internship on fluid mechanics applied to aero/astronautics but it's quite hard to find. I asked many faculty in Stanford but they lack space and can't host international students.

I don't really know which university to pick as all these subjects interest me. Princeton and Brown attracts me (especially Princeton) but I don't really know why as I can't really compare them.

What would you advise me to do ?

Thanks for your help
Regards

Santa Barbara.
Proof:
Image
QED.

Re: Internship in fluid mechanics (Princeton, Brown, UCSD ...)

Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:27 pm
by miragef1
The coast looks awesome that's right. But I was speaking about the academic level !

Re: Internship in fluid mechanics (Princeton, Brown, UCSD ...)

Posted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:51 pm
by TakeruK
I agree with bfollinprm's proof!

To be honest, the academic "level" of a 3 month lab internship isn't going to be terribly important when it comes to grad school applications -- what I think profs want to see is proven ability and/or interest in graduate level research skills and especially in critical thinking skills. So the most important thing to assess is which lab can give you what you want the most? This is something that is different for each person, so without knowing you and without knowing these labs, it is probably hard for anyone on the Internet to help you! In your shoes, I'd talk to a mentor or advisor familiar with these labs from my home university!

Otherwise, some helpful things to think about are:

What kinds of skills do you want to develop? What areas are you lacking in? Also be sure to consider that one doesn't really accomplish much in only 3 months, so you might have to choose between doing more work in a field you're comfortable in vs. learning something new but not getting as much done.

In addition, perhaps more importantly, you'd want to find a lab that cares about developing your skills rather than just using you for your work.

But then again, it's only a 3 month internship! The above are the academic things to consider, in my opinion. But you should also factor in non academic stuff like being in a cool place where you can explore and do things that you're interested in during the weekends. I think traveling to cool places is part of the benefits of the work we do, so take advantage of it when you can!!

Re: Internship in fluid mechanics (Princeton, Brown, UCSD ...)

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:17 pm
by bfollinprm
miragef1 wrote:But I was speaking about the academic level !


Honestly, you shouldn't care. They all have great programs, the culture of research is current at all those schools, and their reputation is high enough that people at wherever you apply will recognize the faculty that writes you a recommendation*. Go for the waves (Santa Barbara), the culture and ease of travel (Princeton), or the beaches (San Diego), or whatever excites you most personally.

*possibly excepting Brown. It depends on the faculty member.

Re: Internship in fluid mechanics (Princeton, Brown, UCSD ...)

Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:50 pm
by miragef1
Thank you both for your replies. You pointed some interesting questions I should consider.

The important thing to remember is, I think, to look for an interesting internship, no matter the university (just like you said). I'd be happier in Brown than in Princeton if I learn more things there. So the point is to talk with the researcher and see how much it's important to him for me to learn new knowledge.

And I also have to consider the location. I've never been to the US and Princeton seems to have the advantage of "ease of travel". And NY is quite close. Santa Barbara looks charming (a bit too Mediterranean maybe) but far from many interesting cities.

Well, I'll still have to think because I might have a new opportunity at NASA (near SF) working on Mars climate.


Thanks again for your answers.