A Postcard From: Caiwei Shao ’18

Name: Caiwei Shao
Year: 2018
Major: Economics and Mathematics
Hometown: Shandong, China
Internship Job Title: Research Assistant
Location: Beijing

What’s happening at your internship?

I work with a group of graduate school students, mostly Ph.D. candidates, and professors on their annual research paper about national accounts. Most of works I do is to support other group members for further analysis and research. I’m currently collecting previous literature and working papers in similar fields and trying to analyze the common elements under different methodology and results. I’m also responsible for collecting data from various resources and databases and adjusting them to a useful from for regression analysis.

Why did you apply for this internship?

As I want to apply for graduate school, my advisor suggested that I apply for an internship as a research assistant to see and experience how a professor works and how research progresses. I feel that this is a great opportunity for me to get more knowledge about a doctoral program, and it will help me to reflect on my career decisions after graduating from Bryn Mawr.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

It is such a great opportunity for me to work and spend time with all the professors and Ph.D. candidates in this institution. Besides the academic work we do together, we always have lunch together and hang out on campus. As we have different backgrounds and experiences, I learn a lot of new things in our conversation. There are people who work after graduation and decide to continue to study in school after several years, and there are people who have an entirely different major in undergraduate school and find they like economics accidentally. I’m not only impressed by their professional skills, but also by their devotion to this subject and effort they are willing to put in their work. I learn a lot from them besides the academic knowledge, and they also give me advice for my study and following application. I feel very lucky to be around this group of people, and they are certainly my favorite part of this internship.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced at this internship?

Even though I have almost finished my major plan in Economics, things I learned in school are not sufficient to complete my assigned tasks. I was first supposed to test a regression model by myself, but I found there are a lot of methodologies that I don’t understand and I couldn’t finish this task. Therefore, I borrowed many textbooks from seniors and asked questions more frequently, trying to fill the gap between them and me.