This summer working on the Ultrasound Elasticity Imaging Laboratory of Columbia University (UEIL) has been an amazing experience. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to make my summer during this strange time a productive one. I have certainly achieved a lot more things than I hoped for. Helping in the development of such an interesting research was truly an incredible way to invest my time and energy in, while at the same time improve myself as a scientist.
One of the reasons I wanted to pursue an internship this summer was that I wanted to experience working in a lab setting, in order to decide if that could be a viable career path for me. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was not able to physically be in the lab. Consequently, I did not get the chance to perform experiments in person or practice using lab equipment. Despite these difficulties, I had the opportunity to study how to analyze data and I became proficient in MATLAB. I learned how to write my own algorithms, which most of the time is a rather creative job.
During this internship, I was required to work on my own, which taught me some crucial skills about working independently, but made me realize that I really enjoy being part of a team and collaborating with other people. This summer, I also cultivated my ability to set goals and manage my time accordingly in order to achieve them. Through this experience, I learned more about myself and my abilities, but I’m set on a course to challenge myself even more.
To anyone interested in pursuing an internship at the UIEL lab in the future, I would say that you should be ready to work hard and dedicate a lot of their time into this research. Another piece of advice I would like to pass on is the importance of finding a balance between struggling by trying to work through the difficulties on your own and asking for help. By forcing yourself into a situation where you have to think a problem through by yourself, you’re enhancing your critical thinking skills and challenging yourself. That way you learn to research and think outside the box when it comes to finding solutions to your problems. Some more advice I would like to share, is that you should make sure you are interested in the research of the lab you choose to work with because researching and studying about the lab’s research will take most of your time as an intern.
I am beyond thrilled to have worked for the UEIL lab and I am proud of my accomplishments this summer. Contributing to the prestigious research of this lab was something I was not expecting to be able to achieve in such a short amount of time. All those months of preparation, learning MATLAB on my own, and studying research papers were worth every second of my time.