It is a big deal, most of the people in the department are PhD students and Grad students, but they still hire interns that show "aptitude."
Not talking about being the primary author.
Not saying my situation is the rule, I always figured it was the exception. Like I said we're interns. We're not first authors, however we do help with IRB and help with proposals where needed. And, we get credit in the journals, but definitely not as a first authors.