Since my internship has officially come to an end, I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about one component that made this internship so successful: the leadership. My boss, who is a physics professor here at the University of Michigan cares a lot. He cares about his job as an educator, his research and, most importantly, the people who work with him.
The first time I truly got to see how much he cares was during the first lab meeting I attended. He took the time to ask everyone how they were doing and seemed to remember people’s answers to that same question from the last lab meeting because he asked follow up questions. “How did your math exam go?” “Did your sister get into her top choice college?” I personally found it very impressive that someone who is renowned in his field took the time to inquire about the small things in the lives of the undergraduates that worked for him. This sincerity carried over into actually working for him. Although he was extremely busy with a variety of projects he never seemed impatient when I would knock on his door with coding questions. He even spent 40 minutes helping one of the grad students fix her bike. It was clear that my boss cared about my development as a scientist.
Another great thing about working for my boss, that’s more related to the actual work part of the internship, is that he has significant experience with working with undergrads. From talking to other undergrads and from my own experience, striking the balance between too hard and too easy can be hard; either we are given tasks so trivial that we don’t feel useful, or we are given tasks where our ability is highly overestimated and we can’t actually do it. Because my boss knows what an undergrad student can realistically accomplish, I always felt like I was doing tasks that were useful and that were in line with what I was capable of doing. This made coming to work fun and engaging.
My boss also presented me with a lot of opportunities. He took me to Fermilab multiple times, each time helping me expand my network and get closer to figuring out what I want to do with my life. He definitely didn’t need to bring me to Fermilab all of the times that he did, and that is what makes all of the things he has done for me mean even more. I look forward to continue working with him this school year.