My mentor this summer, Jie Zhu, was very helpful in helping me adjust to working in the lab and learning my responsibilities. She was always very approachable and patient when teaching me new aspects about the project, including critical background information that I had not yet learned from my college studies. She was also a crucial mentor in helping me solidify by career path choices. Jie is a medical doctor and just recently completed the health informatics program at Northwestern. I am interested in completing the health informatics master’s program at Michigan so it was essential to hear her point of view about the Northwestern program to see if it was something that would interest me in the future. She helped me figure out my strengths and interests and I am more confident in the path that I am choosing for my future career. She is also a valuable networking resource that I will not hesitate to contact in the future!
I have also developed relationships with my fellow interns, Colleen and Analiese. Colleen has interned at the lab for the previous two summers, so she is always giving us good feedback and teaching the new interns other lab upkeep tasks, such as dishwashing and autoclaving. We also are giving each other new ideas and feedback about our projects and what we can improve.
I am glad to have had the opportunity to develop a relationship with the lab’s primary investigator, Teresa Woodruff. She is very inspiring and dedicated to making sure that the interns were getting everything out of the internship and learning from other researchers in addition to their immediate mentors. She was interested in hearing about our career interests and being an important networking contact in the future.
Every week we had lab meetings to come together as a group and exchange feedback with each other. A lot of lab members also had lunch together to get to know different people as well as held informal demonstrations to teach new techniques.