Internship site: Forschungszentrum Jülich, Institute of Energy and Climate Research, Jülich, Germany
Tell us a little about your IIP: In my upcoming IIP, I will look into the atomic-level understanding of electrochemical processes. This is crucial for designing efficient energy storage systems. With the resources and software at Jülich, I will model the structural properties and Lithium-ion conductivity of new electrode materials. I will also have the chance to present and discuss my findings with colleagues from various fields (physicists, chemists, engineers) as well as experimental collaborators. At the end of the summer, our work will likely result in a scientific publication. This work will not only be crucial to my senior thesis in the Chemistry department (under Prof. Leslie Schoop) but will also inform my desire to pursue a Ph.D. program in Germany.
Do you have tips for future interns? Don't take yourself too seriously – be willing to be wrong sometimes. At Princeton, it is far too easy to get caught up in the competitive treadmill of only pursuing perfection. And it's even easier to import that mindset to things beyond Princeton. Fight that. The fastest way to learn is by making mistakes, by looking like a fool – and with only eight to ten weeks of work, time is of the essence. So don't be afraid to explore something you never touched before, even if you have no clue how it works – your advisor and your future self will thank you for it.
Your favorite book: Popular wisdom says that happiness cannot be directly pursued. But I think that's only partially right: there is a long list of things we can – and should – do to live a better life. "The Happiness Hypothesis" by Jonathan Haidt has been the best book of this year so far. While it isn't a complete account of positive psychology (for there is no such thing), I still recommend it to anyone who wants to acknowledge what they could be doing differently.
IIP Summer Playlist Song: "American Daydream" by Electric Guest