I have participated in several summer research internships and they were wonderful. I enjoy traveling so my summers were spent in Salt Lake City, New Haven, and St. Louis at various insititutions. My undergrad. institution wasn't very research driven and I used my summers to build up my research experience.
The internships are great learning experiences. I was fortunate enough to be working with/for wonderful PI's and so that made the experience even better. My first internship in SLC was less research oriented. I interacted directly with the children and was the facilitator of a prevention program and I really enjoyed that. My other internships were very research intensive and I learned a lot from those. I was exposed to many different methods of research and different levels of involvement with each
I would strongly recommend you doing an internship and you can get paid for it as well, as all of mine were paid internships. So that is always a plus because they you can enjoy the city/location where you are staying.
I did one as an undergrad, junior going into senoir year, worked in a human performance lab. I found out about it through my college. It was actually at a different college than the one I was attending but I got it anyway.
It was pretty fun and very relaxed with lots of freedom to do nearly whatever I wanted, and paid $500 a week!
Looks nice on resumes of course as well. Highly recommended!
I too have participated in summer research programs since my freshman year. I currently work for NIDA and they provide funding for many of these PI's as well as facilitating programs where groups of students come in during the summer to get research experience. I participated in that program for 2 summers. There are also many institutes/ centers within the NIH that you can contact in order to land some summer research experience. They tend to welcome these applications!
PM me for more detailed information if needs be, as I can't really get that much into detail on here.
i did an NSF funded REU at Madison..it was a topnotch experience..if you are a junior or earlier and want to do research, def check out the sites at the NSF website..just google "nsf reu"..a bunch of schools have them and they include full time res exp with a mentor, a decent stipend, housing travel, etc..even a gym membership from mine
feeel free to PM or post with questions..there were definitely + & -'s to my experience..