Name: Xiyue Shen '24
Class Year: 2024
Hometown: Kaifeng, China
Internship Organization: University of California, Los Angeles
Job Title: Research Assistant
Location: Los Angeles, CA
What's happening at your internship? We would love to hear what kind of work you are doing!
My summer research is about spectroscopy. The main goal of my project is to generate a promising plan for an electron energy loss spectroscopy, which can be used in one of the condensed matter labs for some detailed analysis like electronic structure and bonding properties of matter.
Why did you apply for this internship?
I'm very interested in optics and lasers. Last summer, I did research with laser setup. Even though we used it as a tool and formed microscopy images, I didn't know the exact working mechanism of the microscopy. This is a great opportunity for me to dig deeper into it.
What has been your favorite part of this internship?
My favorite part is the design of the optic element. There's a lot of freedom to make the design and exciting plots.
What is something you have learned from your internship that you didn't expect?
I had some hands-on experience with optics. The main component of my work is computer simulation and matrix analysis. There won't be much hands-on experience. However, the graduate students in my group showed me a lot of fancy experiment setups in the lab, and I also got a chance to have laser-safety training.
Can you talk about the skills you are learning and why they are important to you?
I have been learning presenting skills. It's very important to present your motivation, methods, and results to audiences at different levels. Through presenting to other people, I can better understand the concepts and experiments better. The questions and confusion from the audience gives a lot of insights as well.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced at your internship?
Asking for help is the biggest challenge that I have faced at my internship. I was afraid to ask questions because I think the questions can be very simple or boring for other people to answer. I always thought that I could google the questions or find some useful information from the textbook. However, this would cost a bunch of time and energy due to my lack of experience.
Can you give us three adjectives and three nouns that describe your internship experience?
Surprising, fulfilling, creative
Beams, optics, spectrum
What is most rewarding about your internship?
I would say it's the opportunity to collaborate with other groups, especially when groups are from different departments. I have been working in the particle beam lab, and my project is in collaboration with a condensed matter group. It's really exciting for people to come together and form ideas not only for projects but also for some interesting possibilities to explore the subject more.
Was this internship what you expected it to be?
Yes and no. The overall work is exactly what I expect to do. However, there are more things than I thought of to do. Except for my own work, I have also got involved in some very helpful workshops, activities, and presentations.
Visit the Summer Internship Stories page to read more about student internship experiences.