November 12, 2013 at 8:54 am

Test Drive Your Career with Summer Research Fellowships

By Kathryn McFadden

“Why work a fast food service job this summer when you can get paid to do research and advance your college career instead?” asks Roxanne Malé-Brune.

Malé-Brune, director of grant development and projects for the Office of Research, helps Ohio University students identify and competitively apply for summer research internship opportunities, often in partnership with the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards.

“The Office of Research is extremely interested in encouraging our students to apply their classroom knowledge to real-world experiences through engaging in research—both scientific and creative,” Malé-Brune says.

Students have engaged in a variety of fellowships, throughout the United States and abroad, funded by sponsors such as the National Science Foundation.

Will Stevens, Biological Sciences

Will Stevens, Biological Sciences

Will Stevens, an undergraduate Biological Sciences student involved in vertebrate paleontology research at Ohio University, says his summer NSF fellowship at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City was “simply stunning.”

The NSF’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates fellowship provided Stevens with housing at Columbia University, reimbursement for monthly subway travel, and a living expense stipend for the high-cost city.

He worked full-time in the vertebrate paleontology department with nearly unlimited access to the museum throughout his REU internship.

“The setup for the fellowship was incredible,” Stevens says. “I am more than familiar with the often banal scientific circle of research—papers, classes and more. This experience allowed me to see the public fall in love with science on a daily basis.”

Stevens says he was able to meet the “rock stars” of the science world, watch children in plain awe of skeletons and stuffed mammals, and touch specimens that had forever changed the scientific community.

“I was able to walk through the greatest museum in the world with a sense of pride,” Stevens says. “This experience helped me realize that all of the work I am putting into a scientific career at Ohio University is worth it.”

Malé-Brune agrees that this is the most valuable attribute of the summer research internship fellowship opportunity.

“They’re a way to test-drive your career before you graduate,” she says. “And to build your portfolio of experiences and expertise.”

Stevens says the fellowship helped him understand what he wants to do with his life and allowed him to meet very successful and influential people.

“This fellowship left a lasting impression on my professional self,” he says.

Malé-Brune encourages students to contact the Office of Research, as deadlines, which vary by program, are approaching for summer research internship fellowships. Each program has its own eligibility requirements, including year of schooling, citizenship and discipline. Selection criteria usually are based on the applicant’s academic record, but other activities, including expertise, languages and technical skills, can be important.

For more information about summer research fellowship opportunities, please contact Malé-Brune at 740-597-1227 or

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