I have the unique privilege to work with a team of expert scientists to study head and neck cancer immunology as my internship this summer. This prestigious opportunity is a tremendous learning opportunity in the field of precision medical research. As part of the research team, my role on each project typically begins with a fair bit of background reading and conversation with the scientists to help me grasp the complex studies that the team is undertaking. Once I get a working understanding of the science behind the studies, admittedly a constant struggle to keep up with the terminology and concepts behind the research, my role has primarily been to organize data sets using statistical programs. I then present a summary of the data to the team from which they decide the best way in which to analyze the data and move forward.
Although I enjoy the honor of working with experts in their respective fields, I still carryout typical intern tasks such as creating bibliographies. Although a relatively small portion of my duties, it is often a nice way to get a break from the challenging task of understanding head and neck cancer immunology.
Now that I have started my internship, looking back at how I came to this wonderful position is quite interesting. As a pre-med student, I reveal at the opportunity to work with physicians. However, after two years of shadowing I was looking for an opportunity to have more of a role in medicine rather than solely observing. Fortunately, through someone networking I came across a legend in the field of otolaryngology. After meeting with him and expressing my interest in his work we slowly pieced together a role for me in his team’s research over the course of the academic year. Finally, once the summer started I was introduced to the team and began learning from and working with them to start to build a base in cancer immunology research and otolaryngology as well.
With a great start now moving further and further back in my memory, I am thrilled to continue to settle in and dive deeper into carrying out my role on the team to the best of my ability.