On my first day at Boston Children’s Hospital I was full of a variety of emotions. I was excited for the new opportunities that awaited me and to build new friendships and connections hopefully for the long term. I was jovial of the fact that I will be doing something that my education at Brandeis has prepared me for, and able to participate in a real life application of the material I’m taught at Brandeis. While I was filled with such positive emotions and a readiness to prove myself, I was also nervous of how much of an impact I would really have, whether I would actually enjoy myself this summer, and whether or not I would succeed in this internship.
My first day of work consisted of me becoming familiar with what it means to work in a research facility. I first introduced myself to everyone at the office and was able to meet such a diverse group of people. There weren’t just doctors or research assistants at the lab but also engineers, statisticians, software developers, and neuroscientists. Everyone had their own unique role yet each role depended on others in order to be successful. I was first required to complete CITI Training which is Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative where I was able to get familiar with the different research protocols and regulations, especially regulations that are set by the IRB, International Review Board.
Afterwards, I was able to attend a weekly group meeting for everyone to share their progress updates and seek advice or help on something that they’re trying to solve. It was interesting because in the lab it is not just one research group, but a multitude of research groups. There are different research groups working on different nerves in the body depending on their location and the purpose those nerves serve. In addition to talking about progress in their respective tasks, some people present current or past research papers that they read and find to be useful. During one of the weekly meetings I realized the seriousness of what I’m actually doing and the importance of results in research. I also realized that one doesn’t necessarily solve an issue or get results right away. Sometimes you have to start from scratch multiple times in the process, as a result learning from your mistakes. The weekly meetings overall emphasized the importance of learning and expanding knowledge.
As a programming intern my first task was to familiarize myself with the current medical imaging software that is being used for that specific task and then find the different features and functions that the software has to offer along with the drawbacks that characterize the software. In conclusion I was able to get a better understanding of what my internship would actually entail also what type of programming I would do. While my role will be very technical, it was important to learn my first day how important it is to become comfortable in a different academic environment, how to build relationships and learn from people with different roles, and what it means to conduct research.