Prior to the pandemic, my summers were filled with will long days in the sun, instructing and corralling small children, and were 99% offline. Many things have changed from my time as a camp counselor to my position as an undergraduate research intern. These changes include no longer working with children, but rather learning from a team of experienced and skilled researchers. However, as you may recognize, one of the largest changes this summer is I am working fully remote, inside, and on my screen for my position. This change took some adjusting, as I was no longer assuming the camp counselor role, one that I enjoyed for many years. However, to my surprise, it only took a little bit of time to get used to the new working environment as it was very similar to balancing my schedule during the semester with my courses. Working virtually this summer has thankfully been quite easy, as all of the team members are respectful, engaging, and proficient at using zoom. The virtual environment has its setbacks, as we are not able to be together in person for collaborations as we normally would. However, this has created a working environment where I have been able to learn from my supervisors and colleagues and easily engage with members of the study team that I may not otherwise be able to talk to due to distance.
The World of Work has differed from my university and academic life as I am working with researchers who are devoted to their specific field of study. Specifically, I am engaging with professionals that are extremely driven and care deeply about the work that they are studying. Working with the research team has given me exposure to a specialty area of research that is different from that of my academic career thus far. At Brandeis, we are exposed to a breadth of academics, and within the sciences, we are given the broad scope of a given topic i.e. genetics, epidemiology, biology laboratory, etc. This being said, through my thorough academic background from Brandeis I felt prepared to engage in a level of work with the researchers where I am able to actively communicate about the research topics and aid the researchers. Through this internship, I have and continue to gain a deeper understanding of cardiovascular research and Takotsubo Syndrome.
Through my internship this summer, I have gained certifications for Basic Human Protection as well as Good Clinical Practice useful for any future research aspirations. Such certifications enable me to engage with the work that the research team is doing like data analysis, and patient records, and if I were to work with human participants, I am certified to do so. In addition, to the certifications for good research practices, I have accumulated more experience reading and authoring scientific articles and data abstraction and analysis. I have also gained an understanding of recruitment strategies and learned the importance of standard operating procedures when running a research study. All of these skills will prove useful as I continue on my path to medicine.