Friday, November 4, 2011

Chandani Buchan worked as a Research Assistant at Mass General this summer. Read her story

MGH Summer Alumni Program



Every year for the past two decades Massachusetts General Hospital has inspired hundreds of Boston youth who are interested in health and science careers with activities and employment opportunities. MGH is committed to expanding the horizons of these young people as a health improvement strategy as well as a workforce development strategy. We know that educational attainment is highly correlated with economic status the largest predictor of health status.

MGH Center for Community Health Improvement provides 420 youth (grades 3 through college) with academic, life, and career skills that expand and enhance their educational and career options through activities related to science, technology, engineering and math. These activities enable exploration and skill development through experiences and relationships related to health and science subjects and careers. The Center also engages families across all programs.

Meet Chandani Buchan of Boston, an alumna of Edward M. Lennedy Academy for Health Careers and a student at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She participated in the MGH Youth Scholars Alumni Summer Program. This new program provided alumni/graduates of the MGH High School Program with employment and networking opportunities as part of their continued learning and professional development. Chandani is pursuing an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering and accounting.

What was your MGH internship this summer?

This summer I had the privilege of working as a Research Assistant in the Research Laboratory of Neuorimaging and Genetics. As a Research Assistant I assisted the team with screening patients and observing MRI experiments for a research study they were conducting on how decision-making is altered by drug abuse.

How did this experience differ from your MGH High School Program internship?

This experience differed from my high school internship as I was able to do more hands on work as a more mature and responsible young adult in college.

In this internship, I interacted directly with patients for the study. I was also assigned important projects in which the people in the lab relied on me to complete. These tasks included conducting brief phone interviews with each potential subject, and determining if they were a fit for the study. I also made packets of all the handouts and information needed for each patient visit, then conducted the actual study on the patients and entered all the data received from each patient visit. Being able to do these tasks really made me feel my efforts were essential to the overall team and the study.

Why are you studying biomedical engineering and accounting?

In college I currently have a double major in biomedical engineering and accounting with a minor in Hindi. I am majoring in Biomedical Engineering because, as a high school student, I always wanted to do something that focused on math and science, and so this was a perfect fit. The reason I chose to study accounting is because math is my strongest subject and I felt that this would provide me with flexibility in my career options. At this time, I am hoping to become a forensic accountant and work with the FBI. 

What are some of the important lessons you will take back to your studies this fall?

The most important lesson I will take back to my studies is the importance of time management. I selected this as my lesson because working in the Neuroimaging and Genetics Lab this summer has provided me with a better sense of how the real world operates from both a medical and business perspective. Although I am still in college, this internship provided me a better understanding for the real world. I was able to come to work every day knowing that this was not just any job, but one that provided me with a more sophisticated and mature type of experience.

What advice would you give to students in the MGH Youth Scholars Program as they consider a health or science course of study in college?

I would advise the students in the MGH Youth Scholars Program to make friends and network as much as possible with the people in their departments, even if they are not in a department where they see themselves working in the future. These connections will help their networks to grow, and lead to greater success in finding a job after they graduate from high school and/college.

What is your favorite part of the internship/and or /Alumni Program and why?

My favorite part of this internship was working with the people in the Lab on projects. There was so much work to complete for the study and every time I was given a task to complete, I felt I was essential to the team. Their praises, advice, and encouragement have made this internship experience a wonderful one!

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