My first six weeks at Ariadne Labs have flown by rapidly and I am acclimated to the day-to-day operations in a virtual environment. Interning at a research lab virtually has its caveats but it has been an overall positive experience. Some positives include the convenience of being at home and not having to prepare for a commute. In addition, it adds a sneak peek into the coworker’s daily lives outside of work which we would not get in an in-person setting. On the other hand, the element of technical difficulties arises as well as the lack of an office-type atmosphere. In the remote world, we are often isolated from the outside until there are team or group meetings in our homes whereas in-person work would involve more than meetings, there would be team building events, meals, or even the daily passing by conversations with coworkers which adds to the experience of an internship.
Ariadne Labs Serious Illness Care Team
The World of Work has a plethora of similarities and differences to academic life. A similarity includes the aspect of learning in both settings. As an intern, a bulk of the work for me has been actively learning about the healthcare industry through team meetings, reading articles and participating in journal clubs with other interns. Through the journal club, the interns and I analyzed the team’s research studies, which is similar to the journal clubs we conduct in Biology Lab and Genetics and Genomics at Brandeis. However, a difference is that at Ariadne, we collect questions to ask the authors of the paper and understand their methods and next steps in research which we may not be able to do in an academic setting. Another difference is that the World of Work involves some professionals that have been working for even longer than I have been on Earth, so it is pertinent to reach out to them and gain insight on their journey to where they are currently. Ariadne has a weekly series called “The Path to Ariadne” where employees from all areas of work present their story of how they ended up at the organization with an opportunity to further connect and ask questions on their experiences.
As part of this internship, I have adapted skills that are applicable to academics and my professional life following academic studies. One skill includes using Miro, a virtual whiteboard during convenings for visual facilitating and organization. Miro is a revolutionary application to virtual spaces for staying organized with the lack of planning on office boards. Another skill I have learned is the process of coding qualitative interviews in order to find the general themes and takeaways to use in future manuscripts. The process of coding entails two researchers side by side utilizing a system to categorize pieces of qualitative information and if the two researchers both categorize the excerpt using the same theme, that data is trusted and can be used in a manuscript. Using software such as NVivo and Dedoose makes it easier to categorize and come to conclusions among researchers. Lastly, through manuscript work, a skill that I have developed is synthesizing data from applications and interviews to create tables and visuals to use in a potential manuscript. All of these skills can carry over into academic and professional work as I navigate the field of medicine and evidence-based research through visual facilitating, qualitative coding, and quantitative figure creating.
Overall, the World of Work is similar to the academic world in some ways. However, the ways that the two worlds are different provide the opportunity to apply the skills that I learn in the World of Work to the academic and professional world, as well.
–Ayush Thacker, Experiential Learning Fellow