In this essay, Mingda Sun, a high school student from Connecticut, recounts her summer research internship opportunity at the Center for Quantitative Medicine of UConn Health. She discusses her learning experiences, the challenges she faced, and the encouragement she received from her mentors and peers and explains how this month-long internship helped her overcome her fears of the unknown, as the project was related to concepts that were new to her, like mathematical biology and computer science. Being part of a research team and committing herself to exploring new opportunities reaffirmed Sun’s career aspirations in science research in a STEM field. Her reflection offers helpful insights for students, educators, and researchers who are realizing the benefits that lab-based internship opportunities offer to both high school students and their instructors.

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