Denison Internship Program: Featured Summer Intern

Casey Pearce

Year:  Class of 2021 (Rising Junior)
Major:  Biology & Environmental Studies
Internship Provider: New Mexico Wildlife Center
Title:  Hospital Intern
Location:  Española, NM


What are you doing for your internship? What are some of your responsibilities?

On a day-to-day basis I take care of injured wildlife and help to prepare them for release into the wild. I deal with wild animals from Golden Eagles, to Elk, to Bull Snakes, to the common House Finch. I have learned the basics of cleaning and flushing wounds, administering medications, mixing medications, preparing diets for all animals, hand feeding baby animals, processing and developing x-rays, and many more tasks. I am currently learning how to properly dress wounds, assess fractures, and stabilize fractures. I am also currently writing for their social media in the form of hospital news updates on our patients and releases.

What do you like most about your internship so far? What has been your favorite part of the experience?

In my internship so far, I really enjoy hand feeding baby birds and providing medical care. My favorite part of the experience is being able to do releases of animals, so far I have been able to release a Mountain Cottontail and a Grosbeak.

Which skills have you learned or strengthened during your internship that you think will help when applying for jobs/graduate schools?

I have learned a great deal about everyday animal husbandry and caring for injured wildlife. As I would like to do something in the field of wildlife biology, these are excellent skills that will take me very far in my career field. I have had the chance to handle all different kinds of wildlife from songbirds, to raptors, to small mammals, and even ungulates! Perhaps more importantly, I have had a lot of time to do self reflection on how I work in a team and how to better understand and get along with my team members. We also interact with the public in a professional manner on a daily basis; educating the public is an invaluable experience in this job.

How has your time and experience at Denison prepared you for this internship? How have you used your liberal arts education during your internship?

My time at Denison has helped me prepare to balance a busy schedule and multitask very efficiently. Denison has introduced me to a huge variety of people from all different backgrounds and in my internship I have met even more people that I knew how to work with and talk to effectively. I have had an easy transition here from Denison’s level of comprehensive education; I feel as if I was very well prepared for this internship due to excellency of my education at Denison and the wide variety of topics we covered.

Denison Internship Program: Featured Summer Intern

Sophia Menconi

Year:  Class of 2020 (Rising Senior)
Major:  Theatre & English (Creative Writing)
Internship Provider:  Spooky Action Theater
Title:  Artistic Directing Intern
Location:  Washington, D.C.


What are you doing for your internship? What are some of your responsibilities?

This is a position created specifically for me, to provide hands-on experience in what it takes to operate and lead a small-scale professional theatre company. As the Artistic Directing Intern at Spooky Action I am responsible preparing for and monitoring auditions for the upcoming season, reading and evaluating script submissions for New Works In Action series, as well as assisting in the day to day operations of the theatre including coordinating marketing for the upcoming season and maintaining the costume and prop storage.

What do you like most about your internship so far? What has been your favorite part of the experience?

I have loved being able to work directly with professionals in my desired career path, without being treated like an intern. I am gaining valuable hands-on experience with the inner workings of a professional theatre company, as well as being allowed to work on creative projects with the support and advice of my supervisors. My work is treated as integral to the functioning of the company, and the respect my supervisors give me has provided me with further confidence to continue in this chosen career path.

Which skills have you learned or strengthened during your internship that you think will help when applying for jobs/graduate schools?

In receiving an inside look into the functions of an Artistic Director and Literary Manager for a small professional theatre company, I will be able to speak with accuracy and conviction toward the work that I want to be doing in the future. In working with a dynamic and young theatre company in Washington, D.C. I am able to connect with many different working professionals, as well as gaining insight into what it takes to create a theatrical season and find actors and technicians to flesh out that season.

How has your time and experience at Denison prepared you for this internship? How have you used your liberal arts education during your internship?

Through my varied experiences at Denison, working toward an interdisciplinary Theatre degree, I have been given tools to be able to succeed in most theatre work, and I know how to speak up and ask for guidance when I need it. The Theatre Department’s versatile teaching style has provided me with the tools I need to work across many different fields of theatre with ease. I feel that I am a well-rounded theatre artist, with Denison giving me experience in acting, directing, carpentry and design. Through what I have studied in my double major in English, I am able to write and speak with clarity and precision, a skill that is necessary for the fast-paced working environment of professional theatre.

Denison Internship Program: Featured Summer Intern

Allen Primack

Year:  Class of 2021 (Rising Junior)
Major:  Data Analytics (Economics) & Global Commerce
Internship Provider:  Retail Business Services
Title:  Assortment Services Data Analytics Intern
Location:  Carlisle, PA


What are you doing for your internship? What are some of your responsibilities?

The main purpose of my internship is conducting in-depth analysis of consumer data for the ahold delhaize-affiliated grocery stores, looking at product departments and categories. The goal is to leverage the data to help the stores make informed decisions regarding their shelf space. Stores strive to have an optimal allocation of products, in order to maximize their profits and retain their customers. Optimizing the space on the shelves of these stores, by leveraging data, involves analysis of certain trends in the data, sales figures, and current allocations and their success, along with many others. As an intern on the assortment services team, I’m working with data to help determine the optimal size of each category within the grocery stores. Changes in consumer preferences of products require changes in stores’ allocations, and this is a highly important process. In my role, my main project will be leveraging data on natural and organic products, answering key questions surrounding the placement of these products while making recommendations to store planners based off of the data. The initial portion of internship involves attend high level trainings, meet relevant teams, job shadowing macro, micro, in-store, and innovation and technology teams. Gathering data on a day-to-day basis and staying updated is an essential function. I’m currently working on a wide range of projects regarding shelf space optimization, incorporating both macro and micro space. I’m assisting the assortment services and planning teams with the natural and organic product category at the moment- which is one of the fastest growing categories, thus making it one of the most important to optimize. My hours are 8am-5pm with a lunch break between 12-1. It’s been great helping the company thus far, putting all of the skills that I’ve learned at Denison thus far, especially through my data analytics and statistics coursework, to good use.

What do you like most about your internship so far? What has been your favorite part of the experience?

My favorite part of my internship is the people that I’ve been able to get to know and work with thus far. Everyone that I’ve connected with has been so welcoming, friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. Some great people in the company have helped me to get acclimated and settled in to this new role, along with providing me with recommendations for things to do in the Carlisle, Pennsylvania area- and area that is still new to me. Along with the people, I’ve also really liked working through some of the data, and I’ve also been able to have some great food! I’ve valued every conversation I’ve had thus far in my internship, and I’ve been able to learn so much in a short period of time.

Which skills have you learned or strengthened during your internship that you think will help when applying for jobs/graduate schools?

Thus far, I’ve been able to learn more about utilizing Microsoft Office tools, something that I wasn’t too comfortable with before starting the internship. I’ve already completed multiple tasks with Microsoft Excel, which has allowed me to improve my excel skills. Furthermore, I’ve had my first experience with creating and maintaining databases in Microsoft Access, a skill that I think will be very beneficial to me throughout this internship. I’ve also been able to learn more about the retail industry, and everything that goes into it. It’s a highly complex industry, and I’m enjoying becoming more familiar with some of the terminology and processes in the industry. This has allowed me to gain a greater appreciation of the industry and those who work in it. i think the data analytics that I’m conducting on real world data, that will have real world impact, will help me when applying for jobs/graduate skills. Some would argue that the work I’ll be involved with is high-stakes, and directly impacts the success of the company and each of the stores that we work with. Connecting with others throughout the company, and networking effectively throughout the Summer will also be very helpful to me when applying for jobs/graduate schools. I will also be giving many presentations throughout the Summer, which will be great practice for the real world, where I I’ll likely be giving presentations and partaking in important meetings very frequently. The problem solving skills that I’ll be able to attain from this internship will definitely be useful when applying for jobs/graduate schools. A goal of mine is to eventually enroll in an MBA program, and I’m constantly looking for applicable skills to gain and topics to learn that will prepare me for the application process.

How has your time and experience at Denison prepared you for this internship? How have you used your liberal arts education during your internship?

Denison’s liberal arts education has allowed me to master my reading, writing, problem solving, and communication skills, along with many others, which I’ve been able to apply to my internship. My data analytics, computer science, and math/statistics coursework has given me the technical skills to succeed on tasks relating to data. This past spring, my CS 181 course (data systems with Dr. Kelley), allowed me to learn SQL, which I’ve already used throughout my internship. I’ll be doing a lot of work with SQL databases, and Dr. Kelley’s course has prepared me well for this type of work. My involvement outside of the classroom, which has given me leadership experience, has helped me to improve my confidence and professionalism, allowing me to smoothly transition into my role with the company. I’ve always tried to seek out every opportunity outside of the classroom, as the skills learned and connections I’ve made within campus organizations has carried over to the professional world. Denison has taught me key time management skills, and I’ve been able to gain a “hustle”, which I’ve carried with me to the professional world. I’m tremendously thankful for all of the opportunities that Denison has provided me, both inside and outside of the classroom, and I’ve learned a tremendous amount, allowing me to grow as a young professional. Without Denison’s liberal arts education, I would not have been as prepared, confident, and skilled in this role as I currently am. When interviewing for this internship in the first place, the hiring manager proclaimed how valuable a liberal arts education was in her mind, and how she was confident in how Denison has prepared me for this role. I definitely think this is true, and I’ve further immersed myself in the liberal arts. I find myself applying things that I’ve learned throughout my time at Denison to almost every aspect of my internship.

Denison Internship Program: Featured Summer Intern

Benjamin (Benny) Mandelbrot

Year:  Class of 2021 (Rising Junior)
Majors:  History & Education
Internship Provider:  Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries
Title:  Research Assistant
Location:  Philadelphia, PA


What are you doing for your internship? What are some of your responsibilities?

Searching the catalogs and websites of area repositories for collections related to stories of resistance as part of a project with the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries. In addition to doing supervised and independent research using the PACSCL databases and libraries, I got to explore much of the greater Philadelphia by visiting several colleges, museums, and historical societies that were member institutions, and took photographs and conducted interviews at each sight to supplement my work. My finished product will be an Omeka blog post that will display my findings at the end of the summer.

What do you like most about your internship so far? What has been your favorite part of the experience?

Being able to work independently, not being restricted by specific work hours, and having time to explore the beautiful city of Philadelphia. My research is very interesting because it affects so many people and resistance covers a broad span of time so that I am getting to study different moments in history.

Which skills have you learned or strengthened during your internship that you think will help when applying for jobs/graduate schools?

Creating a finished product without an explicit assignment. In college, I am usually assigned very specific tasks and writing assignment that vary with difficulty but usually have clear instructions. Now I am working on a single assignment and focusing on it for an extended period of time much like a senior thesis or what I anticipate graduate-level work will look like.

How has your time and experience at Denison prepared you for this internship? How have you used your liberal arts education during your internship?

Denison has immensely improved my time management skills by forcing me to balance classes from a variety of disciplines while also juggling on-campus jobs and extra-curriculars. It feels easy by retrospect to only have to focus on one thing at work and then the rest of my focus goes into navigating the city and taking care of myself in an apartment. The biggest skill I have gained and use daily is writing at a professional level that I could not reach in high school. Minimizing unnecessary words and highlighting important points and arguments is what my boss most looks for when summarizing my research.

Denison Internship Program: Featured Summer Intern

Denison internship program; featured summer intern - veronika-danchine-247x300.png image #0Veronika Danchine

Year:  Class of 2020 (Rising Senior)
Major:  Biology
Internship Provider:  University of California, San Francisco
Title:  Visiting Scholar
Location:  San Francisco, CA


What are you doing for your internship? What are some of your responsibilities?

I am conducting research in the orthopedic department of UCSF Benioff’s Children’s Hospital in San Francisco and Oakland campuses. I am researching how to improve patient portal “MyChart” which is the electronic hub for all patient information regarding their health care including appointment information, medication lists, and send non-urgent messages to their provider. I am administering surveys to teen patients (11-17 yrs) and their parents to understand what functions of the portal they appreciate and think need improvement. The patient populations I am studying are adolescent idiopathic scoliosis patients and ACL tear patients.

What do you like most about your internship so far? What has been your favorite part of the experience?

It is a multidimensional experience. I am able to both shadow Dr. Diab and collect data at his clinics each week. I love the hospital environment and working at a world-renowned facility that is full of resources and amazing professionals. You are learning at every turn and observe how doctors work with nurses, patients, and their students. An added perk is that San Francisco city is full of activities and nature/parks all at your fingertips.

Which skills have you learned or strengthened during your internship that you think will help when applying for jobs/graduate schools?

I have refined how to interact with patients and other health care professionals. It can be difficult to collaborate in such a large institution so finding the resources you need is a skill that you learn. Along with this, you learn to ask questions and reach out for help and working closely with the research coordinator. You are shadowing yes, but you are also independent because the doctor or PI will mention something that they think you should look into and it is up to you to take initiative and research if it is feasible.

How has your time and experience at Denison prepared you for this internship? How have you used your liberal arts education during your internship?

Networking through Denison helped me land this internship. Also, I was a summer researcher and Denison last summer that helped me prepare for a summer of research anywhere in the world. Although I was doing lab work at Denison with Dr. Caldari, the attention to detail that I learned is really important, especially for surgery. I am able to write about what I am doing/researching eloquently and clearly which I learned with my poster presentation at Denison.

Denisonians in Health Professions: Osteopathic Medicine

Denisonians in health professions: osteopathic medicine - 04-22-19-kristen-brennan-283x300.jpg image #0Name: Kristen Brennan
Denison Graduation Year: 2018
Denison Major: Biology
Professional School: D.O. from Midwestern University- Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM), Class of 2022
Contact me: brenna_k1@denison.edu

What is the focus of your graduate/professional school and what content has most engaged you?
While the curriculum at every medical school is different, the focus of my first year of school has been focused on learning the human anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and also working with standardized patients (actors) to develop my formal interpersonal skills required to be a doctor. Being a student of osteopathic medicine means that all of my classes tie in and demonstrate the role of osteopathy in every condition present. My training thus far has consisted of a lot of hands on work — learning to identify the human body by touch, distinguishing normal from abnormal, practicing osteopathic manipulations and techniques, and ultimately being able to decipher what pathologic process the structural or functional problem is indicating internally on the patient. All of my classes interest me, I love being a medical student. As a first year student, I believe the most engaging component of my schooling is when I can see how every class ties together. I now understand the necessity of all of the prerequisite courses I took at Denison before medical school, as most of my courses now are based upon and pull in material that I learned throughout my time in undergrad. My most engaging medical school moments are when I get to interact with a standardized patient. In these moments, I am being assessed on my ability to take their health history, develop patient diagnoses, and ultimately put knowledge into action.

Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?
I have always felt very fortunate that from a young age I knew that I wanted to be a doctor. Every exposure to the profession only reinforced my desire to one day be a physician and for that reason my time was spent more on trying to get into medical school and selecting the one that I found best suited for me. Being an athlete my entire life (Go Big Red Volleyball!), I had my battles with acute and chronic ailments. Chronic back pain plagued my Denison volleyball career and what kept me going was preventative rehab, treatment, and hands-on care. Feeling the massive benefits that this type of care brought me really drew me towards the osteopathic field. My own body was so angry with me, so out of its normal structural alignment, and constantly compensating for the physical toll I was putting on it. Painkillers helped my pain to go away temporarily, but working to counteract those stressors with preventative and targeted physical modalities provided by my doctors, incredible athletic trainers, and physical therapists is what made me better long term. I still keep up with these preventative methods daily, and feel so much better because of it. For that reason, I felt the strong urge to be the type of physician that would emphasize and utilize the body’s “normal” structure and function as a roadmap to help make my future patients better.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?
One of the largest challenges I faced on my way to medical school was multifaceted. My challenges stemmed from my desire to “do it all” at Denison. School was my priority; however, I also was a member of the volleyball team, worked for Admissions as a tour guide and a senior interviewer, was a member and held leadership positions in multiple clubs, participated in sorority and fraternity life, and mentored younger students. In addition to these things at school, I had to make sure I was fulfilling the extra service work, research, and shadowing experiences necessary to be a competitive medical school applicant. Almost every minute of my days were planned, I would even pencil in times to eat! I do not regret it for a second because it is what I wanted to do; however, every day presented a new challenge. I think the biggest challenges I faced and that so many other medical school students I have talked with face during their pre-med journey involve sacrifice and fears of inadequacy. Figuring out what to prioritize when everything is important led me to sleepless nights, and sacrificing time with friends and people I cared about. Most days I felt like there simply was not enough time in the day. Throughout the path to medical school you are constantly being evaluated on your grades, extracurriculars, and ability to hold it all together. Daily stressors of not being good enough are present for most pre-med students. I think getting over that fear and being proud and happy with all of the work you put in as a student is one of the biggest keys of success. A positive mindset and a great support system will really get you a long way.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?
While I am unsure of the exact type of doctor I want to be right now, I plan to match into and enter a residency that will provide me the tools and training to go forward and be able to practice independently as a physician for the remainder of my career!

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?
Never give up. If becoming a physician is your dream, make it happen. There will be people who do not believe in you, grades that discourage you, and days that make you wonder if all of the effort is worth it. Go back and think about why you want to be a doctor, ground yourself, and keep pushing forward. While of course I would advise students to do well in school, be involved, and find ways to demonstrate your passions, I do not think that would be the most important advice I could give you. The two most important pieces of advice I can provide are: 1) surround yourself with people who support you and 2) take care of yourself. I am so grateful to have had such an amazing support system including my family and friends, professors and advisors, and even my bosses.  This is a tasking journey and you are going to need their hugs and cheers along the way. Never forget to thank them and make time for those people, because at the end of the day that is what is important in life. I will say that while getting into medical school might have been one of the greatest days of my life thus far, the best part about it was being able to share it with the people who helped me to get there, and thank them for everything they did. Secondly, while the support system is so vital — those individuals are, for the most part, not trying to go to medical school. You are your biggest advocate and if you do not take care of yourself first, you are not going to be able to get done what you need to do. Listen to your mind and your body. Take breaks!! Exercise, eat well, drink lots of water, laugh, and make time for the things that make you happy!!!! I cannot stress that enough. Recognize when you need to reach out for help and do just that. Finally, Denison is the best place in the world. My time on the hill grew me into the person I am today. Take advantage of the incredible people and opportunities that Denison provides you. Every member of the Denison community only wants your success. Believe in yourself, be a better you every day, and never give up on your dreams!

Denisonians in Health Professions: Allopathic Medicine

Denisonians in health professions: allopathic medicine - 04-08-19-hannah-glick-300x300.jpg image #0Name: Hannah Glick
Denison Graduation Year: 2018
Denison Major: Biochemistry
Graduate School: MD at the University of Michigan, Class of 2022
Contact me: glickhh@umich.med.edu

What is the focus of your graduate/professional school and what content has most engaged you?
he focus of my program is training to become a medical doctor. I am currently in my M1 year at the University of Michigan. In our program, we have a condensed curriculum meaning that we only have one preclinical year and we go to the wards to do our clinical rotations starting our M2 year. The first few months of school we learned foundational material that covered biochemistry, genetics, immunology and diagnostic therapeutics. We are currently learning the normal physiology and abnormal pathophysiology associated with all the organ systems of the body. Additionally, we have year long courses, some of which focus on things like inter-professional experiences, biostatistics and diagnosing chief concerns and communication and physical exam skills. The content I find most engaging right now is learning about all the different pathological states that can occur in the human body and how medicine has evolved/is currently evolving to treat or cure different disease states.

Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?
The University of Michigan Medical School was always my dream school for many reasons. One reason is the condensed curriculum. Whereas many schools have 1.5-2 preclinical years, we get to go into the wards and start interacting with patients very early on, even before we take our first board exam. Another thing that impacted my decision was location. Being from Ann Arbor, I was so excited to get back home and be close to my family. Medical school is hard and taxing, one of my biggest stress relief activities is going to the gym with my mom or going home and playing with my dogs!

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?
I think some of the most difficult parts of my road to medical school were because of mental health issues or issues where I ‘failed’ at something. I’ve always been very hard on myself so every exam I took at Denison really mattered and I really stressed myself out. There were a few semesters that I thought ruined my chances at getting into medical school because I was struggling with anxiety and depression and my GPA suffered. First and foremost, I had to take care of my mental health, which I did (use Whisler if you need it!). I then bounced back and had my best semesters of college, GPA wise. Once I got to the application process, I decided to use my lower GPA semesters to my advantage and show schools my resilience. I openly wrote about my tough times and showed major GPA improvements in the following semesters while still keeping up with my extracurriculars at Denison like volleyball and research.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?
Although I’m not sure what field of medicine I will enter in to, I hope to pursue a residency at an academic institution like Michigan where I will have opportunities to do research, interact clinically with patients and train the next generation of physicians below me!

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?
There is no direct path to medical school and taking time off is right for you if it’s right for you just like going straight through is right for you if it’s right for you. The application process is challenging and daunting but take your time and never give up. Always ask for feedback and continue to constantly learn. If you stay humble and ask questions, people will want to help and teach you. Please reach out and email me if you have any other questions!

Denisonians in Health Professions: Osteopathic Medicine

Denisonians in health professions: osteopathic medicine - 03-25-19-ryan-vagedes-1-300x296.jpg image #0Name: Ryan Vagedes
Denison Graduation Year: 2017
Denison Major: Biology, Spanish (minor)
Graduate School: DO from Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2021
Contact me: rv1581616@ohio.edu

What is the focus of your graduate/professional school and what content has most engaged you?
he focus of OU-HCOM is developing primary care physicians practicing in underserved communities in Ohio. The most engaging thing for me at OU-HCOM has been being able to explore public and global health. I was able to combine my experiences from Denison (studying Biology and Spanish) and translate them into developing intentional global health research in medical school. Because of Denison, I was able to develop and be the lead investigator on an international research project focused on understanding social determinants, HIV transmission, and care received by people living with HIV/AIDS in urban and rural communities in Ecuador.

Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?
I knew I wanted to go to medical school since I was pretty young. From my experience shadowing physicians in different specialties as well as seeing my sister go through medical school, I wanted to attend an osteopathic medical school. Why osteopathic medicine (DO)? There’s a strong emphasis on preventative medicine and primary care, promoting wellness, and focusing on the interconnectedness of the body and mind, taking a “whole person” approach. In addition to taking all the same classes as allopathic medical schools (MD), you take an additional courses in osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) which is a form of manual medicine (think physical therapy) than can help diagnose and aid in the treatment of different medical conditions.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?
During your first year of medical school, it is a lot like transitioning into college. You have to rethink the way you learn and how you study. While the material you learn is not harder than at Denison (in many cases, it is actually easier), the pace at which you learn is very different. Things move a lot faster. Each medical school lecture usually covers the amount of material in about 3-4 undergraduate lectures. Being proactive (rather than reactive) in your learning is what helped me adjust to medical school. Reaching out to second year students, using all the resources you have available, and getting tutoring when you think you need it is how you succeed. There is no shame in asking for help.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?
Right now, I am interested in going into general internal medicine and splitting my future practice into inpatient hospitalist work and outpatient primary care. I want to practice in a medically under-served area. I am also interested in public health, social medicine research, and practicing internationally (e.g., Doctors Without Borders). If I can find someway to combine all that together, that is what I want to do!

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?
If you are thinking about going to medical school (or really any health profession), I suggest to shadow some professionals to get a sense of what the practice of medicine is like in whichever field interests you. If you are not sure if you are competitive for a certain program/school, call them! You can call or email the admissions office of nearly any school and ask them what kind of applicants they accept (e.g., MCAT scores, GPA, research, volunteering, etc.). I scheduled a meeting with an admissions officer and brought my resume. We chatted about what kind of applicant I would be and how to be more competitive. The best advice someone can give you about being competitive for medical school are the people who accept you to medical school. Overall, I think osteopathic medicine is very much a continuation of the the liberal arts philosophy at Denison. When looking at applying to medical schools, keep osteopathic medicine on your radar. It is a rapidly growing field. Now, about one in four US medical students attend an osteopathic medical school. If you ever have any questions, I can do my best to answer them. Find me on LinkedIn, and we can chat from there.

Denisonians in Health Professions: Pharmaceutical Science

Denisonians in health professions: pharmaceutical science - 03-04-19-lauren-thompson-300x300.jpg image #0Name: Lauren Thompson
Denison Graduation Year: 2018
Denison Major: Biochemistry, Mathematics (minor)
Graduate School: PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Class of 2023
Contact me: thomps_l1@denison.edu

What is the focus of your graduate/professional school and what content has most engaged you?
I am in a Pharmaceutical Sciences PhD graduate program. While the classes are fascinating and challenging, I most enjoy my time in the lab. My program has us rotate through 3 different labs in our first year so I’m getting experience working with cell lines, mouse models, and patient clinical data.

Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?
For me, the interviews were vital in really getting a feel for a program. In talking with the students and faculty, I was able to tell where I would fit in. Additionally, it was important to me that whichever program I chose had multiple labs that I was interested in. This way I would have a chance to rotate and make the best decision for myself.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?
I had spent the first 22 years of my life surrounded by friends and family in Ohio. Graduate school was my first time going off on my own. While this is certainly challenging, my parents have been very supportive, especially with the big move (21 hours of driving!). Living alone in a new state is certainly scary but the other students in my program have been a great resource and I’ve even connected with some old Denison friends!

What are your professional plans post-graduation?
I’ve only just started my program so I’m not entirely sure yet but I’ll likely end up in pharmaceutical industry. If not, I could definitely see myself running a research lab in an academic institution.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?
Talk with other students who have been there! Don’t be afraid to reach out to Denison connections and even faculty members at programs you’re interested in. They’re surprisingly approachable and it can help your chances at getting an interview! Also, the absolute best thing to prepare yourself for graduate school is your lab experience. Get involved on campus, look for summer programs in fields you’re interested in (I did a couple in Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical Sciences labs off campus), and make sure you really understand your previous research and can talk about it!

Denisonians in Health Professions: Occupational Therapy

Denisonians in health professions: occupational therapy - 02-18-19-logan-berlet-264x300.jpg image #0Name: Logan Berlet
Denison Graduation Year: 2016
Denison Major: Psychology
Graduate/Professional School: Clinical Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD) from Washington University in St. Louis, Class of 2019
Contact me: lberlet15@gmail.com

What is the focus of your graduate/professional school and what content has most engaged you?
I am currently in my last year of my clinical doctorate degree in Occupational Therapy (OT) at Washington University in St. Louis. In our OT program we have the opportunity to get exposure to many areas of practice through clinical experiences (fieldwork), research experiences, and classroom clinical exposure. I am specifically very interested in the hand therapy area of practice within occupational therapy, so I am currently completing my doctoral research in hand therapy, mentoring students in a student-run hand therapy clinic, and have completed one of my two 12-week clinical experiences (fieldwork) in hand therapy. Despite my interest in hand therapy, I am very grateful that I have had exposure to other areas of practice through clinical experience in the program, including acute care, pediatric therapy, inpatient rehabilitation, mental health, and other areas of the field.

Describe the process you went through while selecting your graduate or professional school pathway: what impacted your decision?
After my freshman year, I knew I was very interested in psychology, education, and healthcare. However, I wasn’t sure if I could find a career that incorporated all of my areas of interest. My cousin is an occupational therapist, but at the time I had no idea the field of occupational therapy existed. Quite a few members of my family work in various aspects of healthcare, so I began to ask them about what they did and how they got there. When I talked to my cousin, she explained to me that she worked as an occupational therapist in an outpatient neurology clinic working with patients who had undergone a stroke or had other neurological conditions who were having difficulty with various activities in everyday life. She explained to me that occupational therapy involved working with patients to get them back to doing the activities they do on a daily basis (occupations) and that an occupational therapist gets to use knowledge of medical conditions (anatomy, physiology, etc.), creativity, an understanding of people, and education to help individuals get back to the things they want and need to do every day. This conversation really peaked my interest, so that summer I shadowed at an outpatient pediatric clinic working with younger children with developmental delays. That summer I got to shadow two licensed occupational therapists as they evaluated children and worked with them to get them back on track with their developmental milestones.

What challenges did you face on the way to graduate or professional school, and how did you overcome them?
Once I decided I wanted to pursue graduate school for occupational therapy, I had to find a mentor who understood my career and graduate school goals. This was challenging because I couldn’t find a lot of people that knew about the field I was interested in and there were not many alumni that I could find who followed the path to graduate school in occupational therapy. Eventually, I found Dr. Gina Dow and worked closely with her for three years at Denison to make sure I was getting experiences that would be beneficial before entering an occupational therapy graduate program. Dr. Dow helped me to determine classes I would need to take both at Denison and during the summer to meet application requirements and helped me to gain experience with individuals in the community she knew. I worked with Dr. Dow for an independent study my senior year focusing on Transition to Independent Living for Developmentally Disabled Adolescents and got exposure to a lot of individuals in the community. Denison did not offer some of the courses I needed for application requirements, so I took a few of them when I studied abroad in New Zealand, took a few courses over the summer, and got creative with the independent studies I completed at Denison.

What are your professional plans post-graduation?
I currently have one academic semester left in St. Louis, which includes mentoring and teaching experiences, and then I will complete my second 12-week clinical experience in inpatient rehabilitation in Colorado and complete my doctoral experience in advanced clinical practice with a focus on upper extremity amputation and prosthetic rehabilitation. I would love to get my first job in hand therapy, but that can be difficult as a new graduate, so I am open to starting my OT career in another area of practice. Overall, I am so happy I chose a field that encompasses all of my interests and allows movement across areas of practice. After graduating with my OTD and passing my board certification exam, I will be qualified to work in almost all areas of OT practice, which opens up a lot of opportunity.

What advice would you give a current Denison student considering a graduate or professional program like yours?
I’ll start off my advice with a funny story: I remember talking to somebody at the career center at Denison at the beginning of my sophomore year to find out as much information as possible about occupational therapy. I learned about a 3-2 program with Washington University in St. Louis in which I could complete 3 years of my undergrad degree at Denison and then finish requirements for my Masters in Occupational Therapy at Washington University. I remember thinking to myself that I did not want to join this 3-2 program because it would limit me to just one graduate school and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to move to St. Louis, MO. Ironically enough, I ended up at Washington University after all that and have had an amazing experience here. So, my advice after this story is that for graduate school, specifically OT, you end up going to school where you get in. Unfortunately, you have a lot less choice when it comes to these programs because they are competitive. Another piece of advice would be to try to get shadowing experience in a variety of areas of practice within occupational therapy. Try to shadow in pediatrics, in a hospital, in a nursing home, in a hand therapy clinic, or other areas locally. Getting a variety of shadowing experiences will really help you to understand the field of occupational therapy better and set you up for success when applying to OT school. I am happy to answer any questions you may have about occupational therapy or occupational therapy graduate school, so please don’t hesitate to reach out.