Alexis Levine is a junior Biology major at Assumption College. On campus, Lexi is involved in numerous clubs and activities, including ADAPT (2016-17 president), LEAD, Psi Chi, Assumption College Chorale, and more. Below is Lexi’s account of how her internship at Boston Children’s Hospital allowed her to use skills learned in her undergraduate classes and reaffirmed her career goals.
For as long as I can remember it has been my dream to be a pediatric neurologist and work at Boston’s Children’s Hospital. So last March, while searching for internships when I was recovering from getting my tonsils removed, I stumbled upon an application to work at the Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience (LCN). Although it was past the deadline, they still accepted my application, and I was chosen to work on the Autism Biomarkers Consortium for Clinical Trials (ABC-CT).
As soon as I started communicating with various people who worked at the LCN I knew it was the right place for me. Everyone was so passionate about the work there and they truly wanted to help their students maximize their time at the LCN.
As I mentioned above, I was chosen to work on the ABC-CT project, a 5-site wide observational study of kids with autism. Unfortunately –or maybe fortunately — this study’s start date was pushed back. As a result, I got to work on the rare genetic studies, which is my true passion. I got to work hands on with kids who have rare genetic disorders, which was so valuable in furthering my career and education. This included providing behavioral support during dreaded (for the kids) electrophysiology sessions, filming sessions, caring for the child while the parent was debriefing with a clinician, and so much more. I also learned how to analyze and enter data. Additionally I was able to shadow three different doctors, which gave me three different view points into the world of neurodevelopmental disorders.
It was so exciting to me when I was learning about something at the LCN and I already knew about it from my course work at Assumption. My psychology classes had prepared me for the ideology behind treatment of the disorders I work with at the lab. My science classes helped me understand the science behind our electrophysiology sessions and the genetic differences in the kids we saw.
I simply cannot say enough good things about my experience. Luckily, I get to continue to work there throughout my undergraduate degree, and may even return as staff if I take a year off before medical school. I even get to write my thesis there about my favorite project! This experience has reaffirmed my dream of working with kids in a neurological and medical aspect.
My advice to students looking for a summer internship is to be persistent! Keep looking if you can find an opportunity that you’re passionate and don’t give up if you are not chosen- chances are it wasn’t meant to be!
By: Lexi Levine (’18)