Halfway through my session at Massachusetts General Hospital, I am excited to see the
research project shaping up nicely for the August deadline our group is working toward. At the beginning of the summer, I was not entirely sure of how my time would be utilized in order to meet the criteria of a peer-reviewed experimental study. I knew the basic timeline and scope of the study, but I did not know specific details and was a little nervous as a result. As mentioned before, not having much research experience in my undergraduate career made this start to the summer a highly-anticipated event. Now, a month into the experience, I feel much more comfortable in the role I have been assigned.
With the help of my research coordinator Dr. Kaitlyn Edelson, I have since been able to create a literature review on the relationship between ambient air pollution and adverse birth outcomes. From this, I have been working on creating a draft of the study’s introduction to provide a solid background on pollutants and how they are measured. In the past, courses like Intro Biology Lab helped me create my first ever introduction, but writing something that is soon to be published is quite surreal. Working at the hospital in Boston has also taught me less obvious lessons, like time awareness for commuting as well as working efficiently during the work day. Further, more recently I have been collaborating with another student to collect the relevant EPA data from a public database for future data analysis by statisticians at MGH.
As I enter the back nine of the summer research program, I expect to continue learning about data analysis while refining my written drafts for the literature before the August deadline. Dr. Edelson has been so understanding and accommodating throughout the process, answering questions about the biology and anatomy of everything associated with the study, as well as the logistical questions about the layout of MGH. Most of the other staff members in obstetrics and gynecology were quite welcoming when I entered the office. One individual was a little bit abrasive to me during my first week of the internship, but I understand that this is not indicative of the personnel at the hospital in general. Of course, this experience will introduce me to all different personalities. Moreover, not having a source of income right out of college has been something that has proven stressful for me, but I am thankful for this opportunity and know that it will lead to success in the future. At the end of the day, I am excited to see what the future truly holds.