Charlotte Woody ’14
Internship Site: Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research - Cambridge, MA
I am very much interested in veterinary medicine, but not necessarily as a clinical vet. Since pharmaceutical companies involve a great deal of animal research in their pre-clinical drug trials, I thought it would be a good place to explore animal health and welfare in a non-traditional setting. Novartis was recommended to me by a family friend, who spoke very highly of the company.
The main project that I worked on during my internship was the revision of Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) policies. These policies are on a three year revision schedule, so I edited all policies requiring revisions to maintain current. Since the internship was through a summer scientific intern program, it included a poster session as well. The policy revision process was the topic of the poster I presented.
I think the most challenging part of the experience was my poster presentation, as presentations are a weakness of mine. By preparing myself greatly for the presentation, and by putting a lot of time and effort into my poster, I was able to successfully present my poster to members of the Novartis Cambridge community, including scientists and administrative staff. By facing this challenge successfully, it reinforced that hard work and appropriate preparation pay off, and that the only way I’ll become more comfortable with presenting is by doing it more often.
I think that all my major-related classes helped equally to prepare me, especially in helping me to understand the scientific background and reasoning for the procedures being performed on animals. I think the internship emphasized the importance of effective writing and communication skills, even in a scientific research setting. Scientists working day to day in a lab must have highly developed communication skills, both written and verbal, as they may be given the opportunity to publish and present their work, or to submit animal protocols, both of which require very effective communication skills.
This internship has helped me to realize that I would rather be working in a lab, doing research, rather than working at a desk all day. It has, however, also made me realize that I do very much like the pharmaceutical atmosphere and subject matter, and I think I would be very happy doing research in pharmaceutical development. Working in the pharmaceutical development industry would give me the research environment that I desire combined with my interests in health and medicine. By working in the industry, I would still be very much able to help patients, either human or animal, which has been one of the aspects I desire in a career for a long time.
Tips from Charlotte:
Keep an open mind – an internship can be very beneficial even if it’s not exactly what you see yourself doing in the future. It is good to gain experiences outside of your comfort zone, and can help to develop skills for a future internship or job. My experience with the field this summer will help me to become a more informed animal researcher. Being a good scientist implies understanding not only the science, but also the ethics and regulation behind the science.
*To find out more about how to get an internship, make an appointment with a career counselor. Just call the Career Center at 717-245-1740 or stop by Biddle House.