Transcript
0:00
The team is right next to me. They’re at Berkeley. They’re a Jay Chou. They are at Columbia at Princeton at MIT. So, and the two other people from my school that also made it with me are currently at UConn Harvard.

0:21
My name is Tim gingelly. I am a student at Brown. Um, I am a current sophomore going to be a junior next year. And I guess the program talking about today is simmer.

0:36
Simmer is the Stanford Institute of Medical Research. So it’s a medical biology Medical Sciences Research Program that Stanford has over the summer. And it’s a really cool program because it’s one of the few programs where they match you directly with a with a researcher, which is most often the professor a PhD, or a doctorate, who is working on either wet lab research or dry larvae from the bioengineering program. And you actually get to work towards building something. So as a, I guess, philosophical overview, simmer has two components. So there’s a wet lab component, and also bioengineering component. So if you’re the wet lab component, that is a five day a week program, um, for 40 hours a week, and if you’re in the bioengineering boot camp, then it’s three days a week, she’s a bit more flexible. So if you’re in the wet lab program, um, then typically, it’s what it sounds like. So you do more but lab kind of research. And I think they’re grouped into subgroups like immunology and cancer research on and so forth on stem cell research, and you work correspondingly on a project at a that’s a current lab is working on, you can just tag on there, but you also get one on one interaction with the professor, which is super useful. For the bio engineering program, you work with groups of students, groups, it’s about groups of four. And it’s interesting because you get to formulate your own project and find your own clinical need and attack it and make a solution there.

1:59
It’s just a, it’s a small terminology in the research here, but a wet lab is where you’re working more hands on. So the wet kind of comes from the chemical component or bacterial component. So you’d be working with culture or media you’d have it’s a typical thing when people think of research scientist with gloves on pipetting, you know, mixing solution, so on and so forth. Dry lab is more either analysis lab, or it can also be like engineering predicate lab. So if you’re building a bio engineering device, for example, you’d be working more of like Arduinos breadboards, you’d be building like prototypes, and that necessarily wouldn’t involve the arm involve, like, you know, wet lab components, like pipetting mixtures, or making cultures.

2:38
So for this summer, really, I only applied to summer. Um, and I also had a side, like a wet lab thing going on. Um, so I like simmer by engineering, in that it gave you flexibility. So it was only like I said, only three days a week. So it gave me flexibility to pursue other summer projects as well. So if you were working on something else, and you could do it like four days a week, and then similar could be three days a week, whereas the wet lab port port portion of similar which was five days a week was more time intensive, so it was more like this little project we’re working on. And also, um, obviously you get like a stipend, you get paid for it. It’s a pretty good deal. And it familiarizes you with Stanford’s campus and its facilities so very useful. They’re

3:23
similar, it honestly. Okay, so what’s nice is that they give you the stipend so it doesn’t have like housing. So they give you a second for transportation. And, um, that so they give you I think, around $500, if you are a top applicant, you get something called an engine scholar, scholarship. So that gives you like $1,000. So really, like you’re you’re all taken care of. So you shouldn’t have to worry about whatever transportation and there’s also Stanford shuttle that comes from like, so I obviously went Irvington. That’s in Fremont. And so there’s a Stanford shuttle that comes right in everyone’s rings. So it’s very, it’s very convenient. I’m from the actual, like, the social aspect and everything. And the food aspect. And everything. December does a really good job of integrating social, the social life into your experience. So every day you have, I think, I think it’s actually like, it’s either every day or every like, once or twice a week or something. But pretty regularly. You have like all similar lunches in this like, big place, they bring in food from outside and like it’s actually really good food compared to dorm food and stuff. It’s really, really good. They spend a lot of money on it. And it’s really like a nice, like, very cool social scene. Everyone, like kind of talks. Chad’s like, there’s this huge friend who’s everyone’s big at a table and like you guys are all talking and chilling. It’s really it’s really nice. It’s like what you’d expect from like your typical close to a college experience. And because seems like a fairly smaller ish group is about 15 people. It’s good. It facilitates bonds and it’s it’s not so being that you don’t know everyone and it’s awkward, but it’s not so small that there’s a small limited friend pool to select from or gets boring. So that’s really nice. I love by engineering, especially because, like I said, You worked in teams of four, but there’s lots of there’s lots of collaboration in between different teams.

5:00
too, so we don’t critique each other’s pitches, we would like talk to each other, we would have like our workstations near each other. So we’d see each other as we like, kind of walk by back and forth. And it’s really cool to see because a lot of like, some people work in biomechanics, probably and some people are working on a myocardial infarction project, we were working on the cancer project. So as we were kind of walking by everyone has these different projects and solutions, and you kind of, you know, pitch things help people improve. So that’s, that’s a super cool component as well. And similar actually has a couple of like, really, like nice formal, I think dinner was it was like dinners or lunches or whatever. But you all get into these really fancy rooms and tables, and you all the, it’s like a big presentation, it feels all fancy and formal, which is really, really cool. And there is at the end, there’s like a big similar to like graduation day where everyone has their own poster, like no graduation date, but like a abstract presentation where everyone like, has posters of the research presents it. And it’s super cool. It’s it’s a lot of fun.

5:54
It’s a bit of a double edged sword. But I really, really loved being able to work hands on to solve a clinical need that you develop. So this is a bioengineering component. So most other components in every virtually every other research program, you’re tagging onto a research experiment. So it’s not your original methodology. It’s not your original novel idea of pursuit of analyzing a problem and getting there, there’s not very cradle to grave, it’s more of a of a experienced researcher has said, you know, what, I have this, whatever protein, I want to optimize of all the research into it. And you’re going to help me to couple of the protein optimization steps. So it’s like experiential, but I’m really similar engineering was cool, because you work with teams to from scratch, it’s very cradle to grave. So you see, this is a problem I want to work on, you decide on what problem you want to work on, you hone in, you look at the solution space, you look at the competitors on the market, you see how I can better design a device you meet with doctors and everything. So it’s very, it kind of feels like a startup. And I really like that because I have a bit more of an entrepreneurial bent personally. So I really liked being able to merge the two because it seemed like it was very, it was it was more of a bioengineering bio design kind of bio innovation boot camp. So it had both engineering components. But also like, we had like pitch meetings, and we had to do both business pitch deck, as well as like the scientific research methodology deck. So it was very, it was it was it was definitely an interesting experience there. But that also served as a bit of a challenge, because we did have to work in teams before. And although that’s great, we definitely came into big conflicts, our team, definitely that in the moment, I did not enjoy it, because we all had different visions of what projects we wanted to pursue, or my teammates will pursue something and spasticity and like neuroscience related on or pursue something with cancer detection related, my friend wanted to do something pediatric related. So there’s a lot of, I guess, a lot of collaboration and group discussion, and so on and so forth. But looking back, it was a really good introduction to working in teams, especially with large scale projects. But ultimately, like all went well, we we settled on solution space, that kind of combined aspects of something all of us were interested in, and went in with a broader solution that we all were happy with. So I guess that would be what I’d have to say for that.

8:05
Simmer, it’s I personally heard about it when I was in, like Middle School, early High School. So it’s a program that’s, um, it’s it’s, it’s unique in that you don’t pay for it, they actually pay you a stipend, and you get hands on research with professors, or, you know, researchers, and that was important to me to get some like wet lab experience, or you know, dry lab experience, volunteering experience, and get that kind of exposure. So it’s, it’s something I heard about I found online, and I thought was pretty cool. Um, so that turned on my radar. I know a lot of most people that have heard about it, either hear about it through word of mouth, or they hear about it from a teacher or friend.

8:47
When I was younger, around that age of like middle school, or high school,

8:51
or early high school, I wanted to do like research and whatnot research. But, um, especially a lot of people that are interested in biological sciences are limited by this where it’s like, you can’t work legally in BSL two labs unless you’re 16 plus. So I obviously like there’s two routes, many people they, you know, I’m sure you’re all familiar with it reaching out to professors and cold emailing them and getting some kind of opportunity. But they’re also like structured programs that provided for you and they kind of shortcut the process in the pre selected project that you know, you can for sure work on December was one of the few that actually did that. And there were lots of programs out there that are more pay to play, so to speak, where they’re more like, they’re, they’re more advertised as like educational boot camps, and you don’t actually have to do research, but you have to pay like 1000s of dollars and it’s more of like a sticker on your resume, but you don’t learn too much experientially from there. So I like that similar kind of deviated from that and it was like a program that pays you a stipend in addition to giving actual experiencial learning.

9:47
So I definitely know that a lot of people I’m like, this is my like, like, disclaimer, my personal thoughts, but I suspect this is what’s true. A lot of people that are like, pay to play summer programs at colleges where if they want

10:00
attend those colleges, they’ll say, Okay, if I pay like $5,000 and take classes here, they’ll help us my chances. My personal opinion is that it doesn’t really, um, I wouldn’t highly recommend that simar is one of the few programs that I think would actually help you get into the college. Get into Stanford specifically, because it’s held at Stanford, you’re doing research into facilities, you’re working with professors and researchers into facilities. And for most people, you get your professors that you’re working with to write your recommendation letter, which counts a lot more when you’re applying to that college specifically, and it counts more when you personally know the professor and you’ve done research with them, as opposed to they’ve known you for a short period of time, or they’ve just taught a class and you’re generally a student of how I think it played for me specifically. Um, so my college story is a little bit different. But um, when I was in high school, at least, I was an early decision applicant to brown for the peel me program. So my like the peel me program to the SMD program. So my whole thing was I wanted to do medical engineering. And I wanted to focus my undergrad on engineering, so I don’t have to worry about MCAT medical school requirements. So similar obviously helped my application there when I wanted to prove the case for why I should want to do this and bring something unique to the field of medicine. Um, as far as getting into Stanford itself, so I did end up getting accepted to Harvard and Stanford for their bio engineering programs. I don’t know how much Harvard it would have had an impact, but it definitely played some role in my application, I’m sure because it proved the case for I’ve done by engineering, I’ve done research, I’ve been through the cradle to grave process for Stanford, I definitely think it helped because I got the person at Stanford to help write that recommendation letter for me. Um, so that was that was profoundly helpful. It definitely definitely gave me an insight into that, um, as far as my friends were alumni of the program, it’s been kind of all over the place. So two people from my group one is at Harvard, another one is at, I’m

11:55
forgetting she’s, she’s somewhere she’s somewhere on the east coast. That escapes me right now. Other people, alumni from the team is right next to me, they’re at Berkeley, they’re a Jq theatre at Columbia, Princeton, MIT. So and the two other people from my school that also made it with me are currently at U Penn, Harvard, so they’re alumni is pretty generally generally pretty good places. Um, and for the most part, as far as I know, most of them get recommendation letters from the professor to work with. And most of them do talk about to some extent in their essays. So I definitely say it does help. Especially because again, you’re doing hands on research, and you’re having a professor vouch for you.

12:36
Um, recommendation wise, um, I think a lot of people mess up in their applications, because they underestimate the importance of the,

12:45
of the personal component of their application. So a lot of them overestimate the importance of their grades, their academics, their other achievements. And most people that I know that got rejected tended to focus their essays more on like bragging of like, this is what I’ve done, but I think Sumo cares, beyond like simmer as opposed to a lot of other summer programs out there. Here’s more about personal factors. Um, I like it’s a very, it’s a very, like, very, very cliche advice. But it’s like being set as can be as candid and genuine, as you as earnest as you can be in your essays. A lot of people tend to when they when they sit down to write an essay, they kind of think they kind of write it more like an APA essay. So they use like, they try to write in Super formally super structured paragraph style. And it’s it feels like a basic format and you can tell it kind of sounds rehearsed. And I think essay readers admissions officers can really tell that and this applies to college and stuff too. But I mean, this would have started by December I guess too. Um, so I will try to deviate away from that as much as you can.