August 23, 2012
Summer 2012 Internships: An Overview
(If you are a University of Chicago student seeking more information about applying for internships in this region, please visit our Internships webpage.)
The Jeff Metcalf Program at UChicago’s Career Advancement office placed 24 interns at internship positions across mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan for summer 2012. Most of these were research-based programs developed by University of Chicago faculty members Professor Wei-Jen Tang and Professor Dali Yang. Professor Wei-Jen Tang, Professor of Cancer Research in Biological Sciences, designed the Undergraduate Summer Science Research in China program, which offers science major undergraduates a research opportunity at biological, chemical, or biomedical laboratories in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Yang, Faculty Director of the Center in Beijing, targeted his internship research positions toward studying Chinese government policies and their effects on society. Project Assistant Chenjia Xu helped with oversight.
Social Sciences and Paulson Institute Summer Interns: The Center in Beijing also hosted four students in research internship programs in collaboration with the Metcalf Program.
Benjamin Struve, who worked in a Metcalf summer internship program organized by the Paulson Institute in Beijing, focused on developing the Environment Performance Database and further researching environmental issues in China. Dan Wang, another Paulson Institute intern, worked on the policy-making and implementation of environment policy in China especially during the eleventh five year plan.
In addition, the other two interns researched Chinese government policies in summer internship programs organized by the Social Sciences Department of the University of Chicago. One of the students, Zhen Hao Zhou focused on Chinese State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) regulations on traditional Chinese medicine, specifically SFDA response to cases of adverse effects from treatment, while Jin Yang, a rising fourth year student, researched databases for welfare regulations in China, specifically Social Security. Both of these students’ projects were independent studies coordinated with Professor Yang.
Yang’s interns had the opportunity to go on excursions to further enrich their educational experiences. On July 20, he led them to visit the China Sustainable Energy Program, an influential energy and environmental foundation. Deputy Director Zhang Ruiying met with the students and discussed the initiative and main focuses of the China Sustainable Energy Program, and the students engaged in an interactive tour of the facilities.
On August 2, interns visited Ma Jun, one of the most prominent environmentalists in China. Ma met with the students at the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE), a registered NGO that aims to raise public awareness of water pollution in China. Director Ma discussed with students the importance of environmentalism and the impact of current projects, including the “China Pollution Map”. Developed by the IPE, the map urges consumers to influence companies via a boycott of blacklisted brands whom the IPE believes pose environmental concerns due to excess pollution output. The students not only learned about the general scheme of the environment movement in China, but also daily operations taking place at the IPE, including data analysis and industry research.
Summer English Camp: In addition to these interns based at the Center in Beijing, seven Metcalf interns spent two weeks teaching English at Tsinghua University’s annual Summer English Camp. These interns included: Grace Gleason, David Guo, Adam Kratoska, Jeffrey Nelson, Michael Sarchet, Tony Song, and Alison Thumel. Focused on teaching western culture and practicing speaking skills, the camp consisted of over 2,500 rising second-year students at the Tsinghua. Each morning, the interns would assist the senior faculty in delivering lectures about various cultural topics, with an emphasis on discussions in English. Following this, the interns would lead their own class discussion sessions, which used student-created skits to practice their new skills. The students also performed other activities such as singing, movie dubbing, debate and short performance competitions. The interns resided at Tsinghua University dormitories and had the opportunity to go on organized excursions to the Great Wall and the Beijing Symphony Orchestra.
Summer Science Research: Nine more students conducted research internships at prestigious universities in Asia in the Undergraduate Summer Science Research in China program organized by Professor Wei-Jen Tang. Raymond Dong, Han Deng, Jennifer Hu, and Michael Begun studied biological topics in labs at Tsinghua University and Peking University, while Calvin Chao, Maya Kailas, Christian Lowe, and Jenny Wang conducted research at universities in Hong Kong. Another Metcalf intern, Dora Lin, conducted a lab biology research internship at Academia Sinica, the most prestigious academic institution in Taiwan. Each intern researched individual projects under the mentorship of a local professor and the program culminated with a symposium at the Center in Beijing, where the interns presented their summer research design and results.
Business and NGOs Summer Internships: Outside of these research programs organized by professors, some students also took advantage of Metcalf summer internships placed in private firms and non-governmental organizations. Students Daniel Lee and Steven Wendeborn interned at SK China, a Korean industrial firm, and rising fourth year student Anna Johnson interned at Beijing Global Village, an NGO that specializes in sustainable development and environmental education.
Administration Summer Internship: One undergraduate student, Dan Li, conducted an administrative Metcalf summer internship at the University of Chicago Center in Beijing. This student helped with the daily operations of the Center in Beijing, including preparation for academic conferences, development of the Center’s website, and analysis of data and reports concerning the Center’s operations.