HANDS-ON ENDEAVOR: Aspiring science writer Dawn Breault did summer research with cell biologist Sam Bowser at the Wadsworth Center in Albany, N.Y.
Many undergraduate students are returning to their respective campuses a little wiser in the ways of science after spending their summer vacations working on research projects at various institutions across the United States. In most cases, the experience helps undergraduates determine if they really want to pursue a career in science. It provides an advantage for researchers overseeing undergraduates, as well: another pair of hands in the laboratory. And perhaps most important, summer programs give researchers the opportunity to pass on their expertise to future scientists.

Organizations like the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Chevy Chase, Md.-based Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) provide millions of dollars for summer research projects at institutions throughout the United States. For example, in 1996, HHMI's Undergraduate Biological...

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