Summer Internship Series: Knowledge Gains

Duncan Tulimieri ’19

Strength and Conditioning Coach Intern, Prentiss Hockey Performance, Stamford, Connecticut

My name is Duncan Tulimieri and I am a Health, Exercise, and Sports Studies major and Biology minor at Denison University. Over the summer of 2017, I was a strength and conditioning coach intern at Prentiss Hockey Performance. I am currently a junior and plan to graduate in 2019 and go on to a graduate school for Kinesiology after graduation from Denison. I am the alternative captain for the men’s ice hockey team.

My internship was a very unique one to say the least. I wasn’t sitting at a desk and looking at a computer and spreadsheets like one imagines an internship would be. I actually did the complete opposite. I was up at the crack of dawn and moving around all day, setting up and breaking down exercises for both professional ice hockey players and the general population. The internship had many great aspects, but my favorite part was getting to know some of the athletes and learn about their views and perspectives about strength and conditioning. I learned that being a strength coach is not only just about being able to work someone out, but also about talking to the person and realizing that you are dealing with a person, not a textbook or skeleton. One of the most rewarding parts of the internship was that I got to see many topics talked about in the classroom, be applied in real life. Some topics that I saw get applied in the gym that were talked about in the classroom were; the stretch shortening cycle, passive insufficiency, isokinetic movements, isotonic movements, isometric movements, etc. It’s one thing to learn about concepts in the classroom and be tested on them, but it’s a whole different setting when you apply them to real live people, and watch how it affects them.

I could not have gotten, or done, this internship without the help of my parents, my supervisors, and the generous donor who supplied me with a stipend. I would also like to thank the people at Prentiss Hockey Performance for helping me to expand my mind and think about things in a different way.

Summer Internship Series: Community Engagement and Service

Alena Lassen ’18

OhioGuidestone, Cleveland, Ohio

My name is Alena Lassen, and I am a senior pursuing a double major in Anthropology/Sociology and Women and Gender Studies. This summer I was given the honor of interning at OhioGuidestone. I was a clinical intern able to learn from social workers and psychologists about research and working with clients struggling with mental illness and substance abuse.

OhioGuidestone is a non-profit based in Cleveland, Ohio that offers a range of services to low-income clients who are struggling with a dual diagnosis of substance abuse and mental illness. Guidestone offers a variety of different programs and services meant to give their clients the support and guidance they require in order to live with mental illness. Through programs such as residential treatment, its charter school called Stepstone, and individual and group therapy, OhioGuidestone is known as an organization that will take on and work with any and all clients even if they have turned away by similar organizations.

I, and my fellow clinical interns, worked closely with both OhioGuidestone’s research department and charter school, as well as with a variety of social workers and psychologists conducting both group and individual therapy. I helped work on an ongoing research initiative examining the extent to which joy promotes resiliency to toxic stress in children, and also helped run a parent group at the Stepstone Academy (Guidestone’s charter school). Additionally, I was able to shadow my supervisor Yami Napoles, as she worked with individual clients, as well as other therapists as they conducted group sessions. Specifically, I was able to regularly attend an IOP group that OhioGuidestone offered. This is a support group designed to help individuals struggling with substance abuse by putting them in contact with other recovering addicts, as well as a trained therapist.

I learned an incredible amount at OhioGuidestone about what it means to engage with a variety of different clients as they are in the midst of incredibly complex struggles. By observing therapists working with both groups and individual clients, I was able to get a sense of the sorts of skills that are important for conducting therapy. Additionally I learned quite a lot about the demands that social workers and psychologists face in terms of confusing, irregular schedules and emotionally challenging jobs. My supervisor, as well as everyone else I have the privilege of working with, gave me incredible advice about ways to organize one’s time in order to be a helpful resource and confidant for future clients. Therefore my experience at OhioGuidestone definitely prepared me for my future career as a social worker.

I am so incredibly grateful for all the opportunities and learning that both Denison and OhioGuidestone offered me this summer through my internship experience. I would especially like to thank my director supervisor, Yami Napoles, as well as Rebecca Bernstein who is in charge of Guidestone’s summer internship experience, Robert Dick who ran the IOP group I shadowed, Brittany Pope from Guidestone’s research department, and everyone at Stepstone Academy for helping to enrichment my internship experience and offering me such incredible learning experiences this summer. Finally, I would like to thank Denison for its excellent advice regarding summer internships, and the donor who made it financially possible for me to consider taking this internship at all, Mr. Wallace Burke, Sherman Fairchild Foundation

Summer Internship Series: Making a Difference Through Medicine

Kira Sawyers ’18

Medical Intern, Columbus, Ohio

My name is Kira Sawyers, I am a senior and a Biology major with a Violin Performance Music minor.  This summer I had the opportunity to intern with two Denison alumnae as a medical intern in Columbus, Ohio.

Dr. Anne Taylor is an alumna of Denison University and runs her own medical office as a plastic surgeon, called Aesthetica Surgery and Spa. The primary focus of Aestethica is to empower patients to feel comfortable in their own body. Dr. Biggs is also an alumna of Denison University and works as a hospitalist at Doctors Hospital and OhioHealth. Dr. Biggs focuses on extremely sick patients who have been admitted to the hospital. Both Dr. Biggs and Dr. Taylor provided an inside look into the career of medicine.

During the internship, I was able to watch live surgeries, interact with patients and work on medical cases. My role was to observe Dr. Biggs and Dr. Taylor and choose a specific medical case of interest to further research. This was a challenging task as many of the cases were fascinating and I had to interact and work directly with the medical residents. It was intimidating to work with them, but it allowed me to experience the different stages of the medical profession. Overall, my internship allowed me more fully understand the demands and needs of medicine and gave me valuable hands on experience that I will use in the future.

Dr. Biggs and Dr. Taylor were great mentors. Both Dr. Taylor and Dr. Biggs were extremely helpful in explain how to apply to medical schools, and how to prepare for the MCAT.They also taught me relevant medical terminology and procedures as they interacted with patients.

At the end of the internship, I had the opportunity to write a case report on a case of my choice. I chose a case involving the effects of intravenous drug use in the development of bacterial endocarditis. This case was complex and required analysis and research. Despite the difficulty, I was able to learn valuable knowledge on the effects of drugs on the body. I also gained valuable experience in having to follow strict medical guidelines for a case report, which will be a necessary skill for medical school.

My summer with Dr. Biggs and Dr. Taylor has helped me solidify my professional goals and has given me insight into a career in plastic surgery and internal medicine. I am certain that a career in medicine will allow me to help those in need and to give back to the community.

I would like to thank Dr. Taylor and her medical staff, and Dr. Biggs and OhioHealth for a wonderful internship experience.

Summer Internship Series: A Good O.R. Playlist Goes a Long Way in a 6 Hour Surgery

Kristen Brennan ’18

Aesthetica, Doctors Hospital, Columbus, Ohio

Hello Everyone! My name is Kristen Brennan and I am a senior Biology major on the hill! This summer, I had the incredible opportunity to shadow two Denison alumni, Drs. Anne Taylor and Ariel Biggs in the Columbus, OH area. Dr. Taylor works independently in her own plastic surgery practice, Aesthetica, and Dr. Biggs is a hospitalist at Doctors Hospital in Columbus. I spent a month working with these two incredible physicians; watching them operate, tend to patients, operate administratively, and in their home lives as well.

I have shadowed physicians for a few years now but this internship was different. When you have doctors generous enough to let you live in their homes throughout the duration of the internship, they are being generous enough to let you into the side of being a doctor that most people do not think about. Being able to witness Dr. Taylor’s roles as a mother and a physician inspired me and motivated me to follow my dreams more than ever before. On a typical day, I would wake up around 5:15 so that I could get to Doctor’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio by 6:30 to round with the residents and see patients with Dr. Biggs. After spending the mornings with Dr. Biggs we would then go to shadow Dr. Taylor at her office for the rest of the day either in consultations or watching minor in office operations. About two times a week we had the opportunity to watch Dr. Taylor operate at the surgical center. Being exposed to surgery this close and watching how the entire O.R. team operates was extremely beneficial in gauging my comfortability and interests for potential future directions I would like to pursue in the field of medicine. I am more confident than ever that this career path is the one for me and that I will continue to work as hard as I can to put myself in a position to help people on the level that Dr. Biggs and Dr. Taylor do every day. I learned that there is no set rules to follow regarding how to go about speaking and working with patients but that in a state of being their healthcare provider it is your obligation to treat everyone to the best of your ability and to always do it with respect, compassion, and genuine intentions.

I am fortunate to call these two amazing women my mentors and I hope that I will be able to continue on one day as yet another Denison woman working in the field of medicine.

Summer Internship Series: Journey on the Path to Find the Cure for Cancer

Neel Kejriwal ’18

National Cancer Institute

My name is Neel Kejriwal, I am a Biochemistry major and currently a senior. Over my summer I had the opportunity to work at one of the top cancer research labs in the country- NCI under the guidance of well renowned scientists from all around the world. It was a three-month experience where I spent the first few weeks shadowing and understanding the roles of the researchers in the field and then actually working on a research project. My project was interesting. It involved fixing and operating a digilab robot which could pipette up and down tumor cells and dispense them into 96 well plates in forms of microdroplets. This was created in a 4X4 array of drops. To these drops, drugs of different concentrations were added and using accurate imaging, the results were displayed. It was particularly fascinating, in my opinion to see how different fields of research played a vital role in studies primarily in the chemistry and biology fields, through modern innovations.

The robotics system I was working with was a sophisticated piece of equipment which was bought 2 years ago but was unused since it was very difficult to operate. I was given the task to understand the mechanism of operating it and perform the experiments. This was a very useful contribution to the national cancer institute since there is so much potential which microdroplets of cells could have with drug resistance. My results initially kept leading to errors but with constant observations, tweeks, and changes, I came up with a concrete protocol which matched my hypothesis.

In addition to the fantastic experience I had working for the organization, living on my own by renting a room in a single-family house gave me a perspective on independent living. My lab was in the middle of an army base called fort Detrick, so it was also really interesting to see the tight security and the safety precautions that was standardized in these government buildings.

Overall, my summer experience gave me a very broad experience on skills which would help me in my career into pharmacology and research and allowed me to have the exposure to work for a public based organization such as the national cancer institute. I have made some major contributions which might be published with more research and would help advance more innovations in science.   

Summer Internship Series: A Summer at Shriners Hospital

Thiele Schroeder ’18

Shriners Hospitals for Children, Boston, Massachusetts 

My name is Thiele Schroeder and I am a senior Communication major and Psychology minor. This past summer, I worked at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Boston in the Development Department.

Shriners Hospitals are non-profit organizations. Each hospital specializes in specific pediatric treatments. They pay for every patient’s medical care regardless of the family’s ability to pay. As a result, the Development Department is extremely important in order to fund the expensive medical procedures that come with treating severe medical conditions. The Boston location treats mostly burn patients.

Throughout the summer I was helping plan the organizations 50th Anniversary events. I utilized my corporate event planning skills that I learned during the summer of 2016 and learned new skills pertaining to fundraising and creating relationships with corporations through grant writing. I was in charge of finding venues for the 50th Anniversary Gala, accompanying the Director of Development on site visits, creating mailing lists of possible donors, and developing pre-event material for donors and corporations in the area.

I was the only intern in the office and consequently was assigned major projects and built a strong relationship with my mentor. While I was working mainly for the Director of Development, I worked in a small office so I worked collaboratively and completed projects for the other two permanent positions in the office, as well. All three women in the office genuinely wanted me to learn skills that would be applicable through my career path. Without their desire for me to learn, I would not have been challenged to attempt projects that I had no previous experience in. Although I was encouraged to step outside of my comfort zone more than I expected to be, those instances of discomfort made me produce my best work and enforced skills that I will utilize across my future professions. It was an invaluable summer.

After this internship, I have adjusted my aspirations for my career path. Although I would still love to end up coordinating and planning corporate events, I realized that I have a strong passion for non-profits with a mission that aligns with my personal values. Because of this, I realized that I would love to work to improve communication between corporations and non-profits in their respective area in order to enhance community relations and outreach.

I would like to thank everyone in the Development Office at Shriners Hospital – Boston for an incredible summer and for allowing me to experience a new field of work.

Summer Internship Series: It Was More than Just Horses!

McKenna Geiger ’19
Research Intern, UK Markey Cancer Center, Lexington, Kentucky

Summer internship series: it was more than just horses! - mckenna-287x300.png image #0Hey everybody, my name is McKenna Geiger. I am a current junior majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry. I am also on the Pre-Health track. This summer, I spent 7 weeks in Lexington, Kentucky as a research intern for the UK Markey Cancer Center’s Ovarian Cancer Screening Program.

Before I dive into what I did as an intern, I want to talk about how amazing this program is and how honored I am to have seen their contributions first-hand. The Ovarian Cancer Screening Program at the University of Kentucky offers free ovarian cancer screening to women who are over the age of 50 (post-menopausal) or over the age of 25 with a documented history of ovarian cancer. The main purpose (and hope) of these screenings is to first and foremost notify a patient that they do not have ovarian cancer and then with the patients who do show signs, detect it early enough. Early detection of ovarian cancer is vital to survival, so providing women with the ability to obtain these screens at no cost is ultimately life saving.

I began my internship observing the sonographers who work for the program. I learned all about how ultrasounds work and what the sonographers look for in their patients. After, I learned how to locate and outline masses on the ultrasounds of patients who did show signs of ovarian cancer. We used the measurements to determine whether or not the masses were malignant. That experience was super neat and a skill I know for a fact I will use post-Denison! After this, myself along with another intern from DePauw University were tasked with writing a research paper comparing the affordability of health insurance in Kentucky for fiscal years 2014—2017. Our focus was on the changes in premium and out-of-pocket costs under the Affordable Care Act for numerous family illustrations in both metropolitan and rural cities of Kentucky. Before this internship, I was very unfamiliar with health insurance and all of the legislation involved. Now, I’m an expert and helping First Federal Savings and Loan in Newark with their 2018 health insurance renewals!

Summer internship series: it was more than just horses! - mckenna-170x300.jpg image #1Another great experience I had during this internship was watching the Gynecology-Oncology surgeons perform. The surgeries were robot-assisted and ranged from unilateral or bilateral salpingo-oophorectomies (removal of one or two of the ovaries and fallopian tubes) to hysterectomies (removal of all parts of the uterus). Watching these surgeries was by far my favorite part of this internship. I have never seen a surgery before this and I am so glad I did because not only was it the coolest experience ever, but it also solidified my interest in pursuing a career in medicine. Now, will I become a surgeon? Who knows! But what I do know is that this internship helped me decide (with confidence) the field I want to go into post-Denison.

I will forever be thankful for the team at the Knowlton Center for helping me through the application process, my supervisor Dr. Ed Pavlik for providing this experience, and everyone else I met and worked with along the way!