Molly Svendsen

Agency: Bend Research
Intern Title: Summer Undergraduate Technical Intern
Major: Biology
Graduation Year: 2017

Describe your internship. Where was it? How long was it? What were your key responsibilities?

I was incredibly privileged to complete an 11 week local internship at Bend Research. During that time I was able to learn a lot about pharmaceutical research and what it's like to work in that setting. I was placed with a specific research group & was allowed to help wherever possible including washing dishes, mixing buffers, preparing samples and running analytical tests. I also got to sit in on some meetings and continuing education lunches and work in the lab alongside the research mentors so I really was able to see what a day in the life was like.

Why did you choose to intern at this site?

I was interested in knowing what a research internship in a non-university setting was like and this was a great opportunity to do so.
In addition, it was super convenient location-wise to not  have to relocate for the summer.  

What is a life lesson did you take from your internship?

One big lesson is that the process of learning is never complete. After 11 weeks of an internship you feel like your brain has been packed full but there is so much you have yet to learn. 

More abstractly though was the concept that things don't always go as planned, especially in science where there is usually something that needs adjusted or re-evaluated. This helped me to have a more open approach to just jumping in and trying things even if you don't have a guarantee it will work. 

How did your internship influence your career interests, goals, or future plans?

This experience really helped guide me toward or solidify what I had previously felt I wanted to pursue as a career path. I'm fascinated and excited by research and scientific inquiry and this experience helped me to realize I want to keep that as part of my eventual career while also adding other components to it. 

What advice would you give to students to help them make the most of their internship experience?

Have fun & be open to learning a lot. Also, the more you put in, the more you'll get out of the experience. And while we all have days where we don't feel like learning something new, in an internship you can really get quite a bit out of the experience if you try. 

Also, ask questions. A lot of them (or ask as many as they'll tolerate at least). And not just questions about what you're doing in the lab but about career paths, graduate school applications, balance in life etc... From my experience, the people you work around are willing to share their advice and perspective as long as you're willing to receive it. This is your time to learn as much as possible about a potential career so take full advantage of that & make sure to use it as a networking opportunity