REU... The National Science Foundation's "Research Experience for Undergraduates" is a cool concept. Give grants/funding to universities who are carrying on a varity of research programs. Chemistry, Astronomy Physics etc. Each school has a professor (with a doctorate in his/her field) ,who has an area of interest, and oversees at least one or more students for a 8-12 week period. During this time each student, sophmore or juniors usually, learns how to: create a research concept, plan the concept/idea out, use lab equipment, write coherent reports on information learned, and present said information.
Why'd I give this overview? Cause I've spent the last 4 hours working on my own applications. I'm sending out 5 applications to schools who look like they've got some interesting research directions that they are going. Loyola University of Chicago, University of Connecticut, South Dakota State University, and two to two different departments at Stony Brook State University on Long Island New York.
I'm really hoping to be able to get a research internship this summer as well as maybe next summer also. Said internships would do several things for me. Help with my grasp of concepts, always helpful to keep up and even ahead of my learning. It will also look really good on a resume after I graduate to have said internships, along with research done at my own university (which I hope to start next semester) . Since I hope/plan to be a research chemist having lots of research experience will greatly increase both my starting salary (always helpful) and my ability to procure a job.