College

Building Your College Application Story With An Internship

When we meet with high school sophomores and juniors, applying to college is often at the forefront of their minds as well as the angst of their parents. While their previous experiences may seem a bit disjointed to them, we are able to help them find the unique “thread of interest” that runs through their high school years.

The idea for us, is to establish an internship that directly relates to their academic interests. On their college applications, students are able to show that they are pursuing their passions and talents, not only within the school day, but also in a much deeper way. This becomes their story on their applications and college interviews.

Setting yourself apart from other students

Taking this idea one step further, the following is an example of one student’s college essay about nanotechnology. Not only does he write about his interest in this particular field of science, he is able to talk about the in-depth experience he had through the internship we established for him in high school.

Ben followed our suggestions about “Telling his Story” in a creative way.

As a side note, he was accepted to both Cornell and Columbia for engineering. Today, years later, he is a businessman, in a field unrelated to science.

Many Colleges require a personal essay plus an Academic Interest Essay. The following is Ben’s Cornell essay relating to his internship:

-Describe your intellectual interests, their evolution, and what makes them exciting to you.

A Path to Discovery

After slipping into a white coat, I insert my hands into tight latex gloves, carefully covering my hair with a cap made of thin, crinkly paper. I slide open the heavy rubber curtains, stepping into the clean room, enveloped by dust-collecting Styrofoam and silence. Facing me are two computers and a state of the art, half million-dollar Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), powerful enough to see anything a few billionths of a meter in size. For the next six hours, I will work alone in this room, etching off misaligned carbon nanotubes through wafer-scale electron beam lithography using SEM to define high-resolution features on test chips.

Why am I doing this on a beautiful summer day? Imagine computers that boot up instantaneously, cell phones with enough memory to run full-motion video and music clips for days. Or picture a trillion bits of data stored on a chip the size of a postage stamp. These are some of the potentially radical implications of technology being developed at Nantero, the place of my summer internship. I hope in this generation to contribute to the development of these exciting new discoveries in the interrelated fields of engineering, nanoscience and biology.

-Consider the academic programs in the school/college you indicated on page one. How will you utilize them to further explore your intended major or field of interest (or general academic interests if you’re undecided)?

Cornell’s reputation for interdisciplinary research and advanced approaches in nanotechnology are very exciting to me. The Duffield Hall facility and collaborative partnerships within programs is exactly the type of academic setting that is so appealing to me. The Center for Nanoscale systems and ongoing research in carbon-based nanoelectronics and silicon nanoelectronics is are of particular interest and relate to my separate summer internships working with printed circuit boards as well as carbon nanotubes. Also, the opportunity for undergraduate research at Cornell is very important to me.

I am seeking a broad-based and well-rounded education and Cornell’s strengths in Liberal Arts combined with excellence in science and engineering would provide the perfect match for my academic interests.

How One Student Built A Career On Successive Internships

Ben’s Story: A Path to a Career

 

The following story is an example of how one student built a career based on successive internships. You will learn how his high school internship jump- started his career.

 

Now age 28, Ben told us:

“My internships provided a first hand experience of several, very different career paths. Summer long exposure in each different environment was all it took for me to change or validate my true passions. “

 

Ben was a junior at Newton South High School when he became interested in what was a new scientific field at the time called nanotechnology. After researching the companies in Boston area, we connected him to the CEO of Nantero, a new startup in Woburn, MA.

 

Nantero logo

 

 

Nantero electrons

 

At Nantero, Ben was trained to work on wafer-scale electron beam lithography, using a scanning electron microscope to define high resolution features on test chips.

 

The Chief Scientific officer wrote a stellar recommendation for college and Ben was accepted to Cornell where there was ongoing research in nanotechnology.

                                                                                                                   

During his freshman summer in college, because he had already interned in Nanotech in high school, he was able to parlay that internship to a prestigious internship in New York City. Lux Research is an independent research and advisory firm, providing strategic advice and ongoing intelligence on emerging technologies. While at Lux, he co-authored The Nanotech Report, a widely distributed reference guide for fortune 500 companies and corporate investors.

 

Lux Research Logo

 

The following summer in New York City, Ben piggybacked his previous experiences to an internship in wealth management at UBS, a Swiss global financial services company.

 

UBS

 

After two summers in NYC, Ben realized that he preferred Boston as a place to live and build a career, so after his junior year in college, Ben interned at Great Point Energy, a venture-backed natural resource company, producing natural gas from clean coal.

 

GreatPoint Energy

 

Ben was hired as an analyst immediately after his college graduation at this clean energy firm.  

He continued his working relationship with one of the partners there who formed GreatPoint Ventures, focusing on business development and operations for early stage cleantech and biotech portfolio companies.

 

GreatPoint Ventures

 

One of their portfolio companies was Oasys Water which provides technology that lowers the cost to produce clean water from salt water sources. At age 26, Ben became a founding partner at Oasys.

 

Oasis Water

 

After learning how companies are formed and funded, at age 28, Ben founded his own startup, Privy, where he is CEO today. Privy helps restaurants and retail brands with multi-channel customer acquisition and is a portfolio company of Atlas Ventures.

 

Privy

An internship will lead you to a path of discovery and will either confirm an interest or lead you to a new direction. What will be your path to discovery?

 

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