Reflecting on the summer

Wow, did summer fly by. I spent the last few days at ICAAP reflecting upon everything I had learned, both small and large. I feel as though, most important to my personal, career, and academic life, I fulfilled my goal of learning about childhood trauma and its implications on society. While I still have much more to learn, it’s a teaching that permeates into  how I view my classes, my relationships, and how I want to make a difference in the future. My academic goals guided my career goals significantly, as I now feel as though I have a better grasp of the path I want my career to take. While my vision for the future is far from solidified, I definitely feel as though I have a better understanding of what I am looking for in terms of work environment for the future. For starters, the work atmosphere at ICAAP is a great fit for my type of learning style. It revolved largely around autonomous work, and self-initiatives, which is perfect for me. When I am first assigned a task, I like to immerse myself in noise-cancelling headphones, and just be solitary in my understanding of the task. However, ICAAP also encourages collaboration and discussions, which helps provide a dynamic work environment that largely revolves around solitary work, but encourages mutuality. In future jobs, this is the balance I will look for to best fit my own learning style. My third goal is networking, which I partially fulfilled, but is definitely something I need to work on. Oftentimes I would become so immersed in a conversation with one person, that a room would clear out before I had a chance to follow up with additional people. I networked well within the ICAAP realm, however, wish that I had networked more extensively outside of our organization.

To any student looking to intern at ICAAP: Do it. Do it especially with the staff in the ECD realm. I feel so incredibly grateful to have been surrounded by such a strong and open group of women. If you are looking to intern in public health realms in general, beware that experiences vary quite dramatically within each organization. Even ICAAP, which is part of  a national organization, has drastically different work environments in each. When you are interviewing, make sure you know what the work environment will be like, whether they will give you fulfilling work, and whether they will challenge you. There are a lot of great articles that talk about how to assess if you will be satisfied in a job, like this one! Also, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback and advice.

My proudest moment of the summer was giving my final presentation to a group of 40 professionals introducing them to the realm of childhood trauma. My fellow intern and I were so unbelievably nervous, especially because we followed up one of the best public speakers I’ve ever heard. After we finished, we knew we did a great job, which was only reinforced by professionals we had met and our bosses.

Presenting at the Governor State University on childhood trauma
Presenting at Governor State University on childhood trauma

Mid-Point Post

I gave myself learning goals before I started my internship. However, I wasn’t expecting to learn this much. I told myself that I would explore the different areas within the company (check), figure out if I enjoy industry more than academia (check), decide on when to pursue graduate school (check), and figure out whether or not I want to work at Innerscope (check). The learning curve has been steep at Innerscope and I know I am far from mastering it. However, I did reach my personal goals and have learned so much more. Not only have I been welcomed into this company, but the employees have helped me figure out which personalities I work best with, what environment suits me, and who I am.
For the longest time, I have been in denial of graduating and finding a job. I can now confirm that I have learned and grown at Innerscope because I am no longer in denial of growing up. “Learning” is definitely a difficult concept to measure without an assessment, but there are other ways. It’s not all about attending lectures and taking exams. Learning is about having the courage to explore new territory and expanding your curiosity. This type of “learning” is what I have learned during my internship. Over the past month and a half, I have had the opportunity to explore the intersection of neuroscience and market research. Of course, there is more to dive into, but from what I have explored so far, I have been able to not only understand the company, but myself as well. And this is what I am most proud of. Innerscope helped me gear towards one pathway (rather than a million). As a college student, I always worried what my major would be, what I would study, and what I would do. Innerscope helped me develop a path and it’s the best feeling a student can ask for.
For my future career and academics, I will be able to transfer my interpersonal skills and thinking-style. There is a particular way of thinking in market research, especially when most of the project managers have a Ph.D. They have taught me how to analyze, strategize, and create a project from beginning to end. I am still getting use to this way of thinking, but I will most certainly use this style of thinking in my classes back at Brandeis!

Alicia Park, ’15