Think Like a Scientist

This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the 2018 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Devaughn Mark, COL ’19

This summer, I worked at the Laboratory of Comparative Pathology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. I worked at the same lab last summer. It was extremely hard to support myself last summer whilst doing this unpaid internship. My parents provided housing and whatever little assistance, but it was not sufficient. In addition, I exhausted my funds I saved throughout the school year. This year, the funding I received from Career Services assisted tremendously in easing my worries where finance is a concern and allowed me to focus on my experience in the lab. Instead of splitting my time between the lab and a minimal job, I was able to focus exclusively on the lab and gain valuable knowledge that I can use to become a doctor. The funding covered my travel expenses to and from the lab every day as well as food. I also used the money to buy clothes to look professional in the lab and other settings. I am extremely grateful for the funding I received because working in a lab at a renown known hospital is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I was able to seize such an opportunity for the second time. This opportunity allowed me to apply what I have learned as well as acquire new knowledge and skills.

Having experience in a lab helped me to “think like a scientist” which will be helpful as a doctor. Being familiar with research gives me the ability to assess the validity of new treatments. Being in the lab also provided me with valuable skills that will help me as a physician. I was able to hone my analytical skills as well as oral and written communication skills. I learned how to write up a gross report on a necropsy with proper terminology. I was also able to sharpen my time management skills and be a team player. I often worked with the lab technicians and completed a variety of tasks and projects throughout the summer. Last summer, I focused on how to identify parasites under a microscope as well as running chemistry samples through a machine. This summer, I performed and observed multiple necropsies, learned how research slides are made and learned how to identify white blood cells under a microscope. The necropsies helped me to review anatomy and pathological processes. Knowing the difference between specific white blood cells will help me in my journey to becoming a doctor.  I know that I want to be a doctor and this opportunity provided experience and assisted with my decision. Since this lab provides a variety of services, I was available to talk to various professionals that worked in the medical field. Through these conversations, I found out what I want to pursue on my way to becoming a doctor. Once again, I am thankful for the summer funding and I will use what it provided me in order to achieve my future goal of being a doctor.

Author: Student Perspective

Views and opinions from current Penn students.