Final Reflections from my time at the Benson-Henry Institute

I originally set out with the goal of learning the Relaxation Response and being able to understand it and integrate it into daily life. However, this is only one of so many things I learned during my time at BHI this summer. In addition to learning about the Relaxation Response, through participating in team conference calls, I learned about the science behind mind-body medicine in general, neural pathways that allow RR to be effective, and best practices for utilizing RR in daily life.

This experience definitely helped to clarify my career interests. I have never before considered research as a field of interest for my career, mainly because I never had much exposure to it. Through my internship, I learned that research is not simply lab work. My particular role in research at BHI was in recruitment for and maintenance of clinical trials, and I did the majority of my work with contacting and enrolling participants. I learned that research is so much more than strictly bench-work, and that has made me more likely to consider a field in a health-related field that is more research-intensive.

My advice to someone seeking an internship in the health field is to be open-minded about the type of internship you envision yourself pursuing. In my personal experience, I had never had experience with research and I did not know what about research would interest me. I jumped into the field with this internship and I have been completely surprised about what my work has entailed. Mostly, I just did not know that the recruiting work I was doing is involved under the umbrella category of research. To someone looking to pursue an internship at BHI, my advice would be to ask lots of questions. There were many topics that I learned about through our group conference calls, especially regarding trials that had gone on prior to my arrival at BHI, so I was unfamiliar with the material discussed and the terms used. By asking many questions I caught up and feel like I had a better grasp on the subject matter at hand. (For an idea of all their trials, consult their homepage under “Conditions & Treatments)

I am particularly proud of my ability to pick up many tasks quickly throughout the course of the summer. Between the different trials that were going on and the many components of each one, I  learned such a wide variety of skills. Not only that, but through careful notes and detailed SOPs which I created during my first month of working, I was able to teach other interns when they arrived. This really reaffirmed the amount I had learned, when I saw how much I was able to teach others.

That is all for my time with WOW. I am happy to report that I will be continuing as an intern at BHI through the Fall semester, so my learning is far from over! I am so glad I had the experience that WOW offered me this summer, and the skills I ┬ádeveloped will remain with me going forward!Gianna Petrillo ’19


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