“Another thing my advisor did was help me get an REU — a Research Experience for Undergraduates — at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The idea behind REUs is to give undergraduates a summer to feel out a different research project and another institution. My experience was amazing. I was able to build on techniques I was learning from Jon on a new type of project. The results wound up challenging theoretical models and led to another publication.
As an undergraduate, you want an REU because of the experience, of course, but also because you’ll get a reference letter from somebody who’s seen you do research at another institution. Grades will tell whether you’re a good student, so you want your references to talk about how you handle research — and you want as many of these as possible. An REU really helps with this.”
— Greg Salvesen, BS/Michigan Astro '09