As an intern in the CardioRACE study under Dr. Lee's Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory, I was mainly responsible for 1) operating and maintaining the lab during intervention hours, 2) performing various assessment procedures (i.e. 1RM tests, grip strength, wet-lab processes, etc.), 3) writing the monthly CardioRACE newsletters, and 4) data entry. A huge focus of the CardioRACE study is making sure the participants are treated as well as they deserve for giving us their time—with respect and genuine concern. Therefore, much of this internship's responsibilities require going above and beyond customer service norms. Also, being an active, vocal member of lab meetings is an essential feature of this internship. Without adequate discussion of the participants and their experiences in the lab, effective customer service cannot occur.
I think the greatest, most fulfilling, accomplishment of this internship is how integrated I feel now within CardioRACE, looking back on my connections with the participants and the staff. Over the course of my internship, I believe I was able to find an effective role on the research team, which fostered a sense of belonging. This belongingness improved my ability to connect with the participants; I felt a personal responsibility to give them the best service that I could and take the time to get to know many of them. I see this as a personal accomplishment, and it also speaks to the wonderful CardioRACE team and their welcoming and warm approach to mentorship.
What advice would you give?
My advice to future students is very simple, yet often forgotten: make the most of your time. Whether it be during your internship or during your bachelor's degree itself, there are opportunities and experiences everywhere. For your own growth, solely, take advantage of them! That said, often these opportunities are not presented as glaring arrows pointing you in their direction; you will have to have your eyes open and your head up. If you are on the right career path and seeking the degree to take you down that path, keeping your head up and your eyes open should not be a difficult task. If this is an issue, I hope you find no struggle and waste little time in moving on, shifting your attention, to find a path that makes this act easy. Not only is it important to keep your eyes open and your head up to find these opportunities but it is also important in retrospect, after you've given time to these opportunities. Keep your eyes open so that you may reflect on lessons learned, relationships gained, and character build. At least in my experience throughout my undergraduate degree, making the most of my time and being able to reflect on and absorb the lessons I've learned has proven to be extremely fruitful: personally, intellectually, and professionally.