Name: Amir Salar Sepehri
Internship, Co-op or Research Site: Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine
Position Title: Research Program Assistant
Major(s)/Minor(s): Biological Science (B.S.) & Psychology (B.A.)
Expected Graduation Year: May 2016
Briefly describe your internship, co-op, or research opportunity, including your day-to-day tasks, responsibilities, and assignments.
I worked as a research program assistant at Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine (Department of Geriatrics) during the summer. I went to the Bayview campus on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM and worked with a group of 15-20 people. At Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, we worked on several different research studies, and I helped the team by:
1. Assisting the unit supervisor with recruitment and screening activities
2. Assisting the unit supervisor with enrollment of participants for multiple research programs
3. Completing the data entry and filings, and checking the data and report for consistency and accuracy
4. Assisting with other research related assignments as needed
I also interacted with multidisciplinary clinical and research teams on campus and participated in team meetings every week.
Describe the process of obtaining your internship, research, or co-op opportunity.
I was always interested in interning in a research organization while being an undergraduate. While looking for different opportunities that were close to the UMBC campus, I found a research program at the Geriatrics Department at Johns Hopkins University. Fortunately, I found out that one of my professors (Dr. Hughes from the Department of Biological Sciences) used to be part of that same program and was still in contact with the principal investigator. She was kind enough to recommend me to the program coordinator, and after that, I sent my resume, got an interview, and started working as a volunteer at first, and then as an intern during the summer. I currently work as a part-time employee at Bayview on Fridays.
What have you enjoyed the most about your position or organization/company?
As a pre-medicine student interested in doing research, working as an intern at Johns Hopkins was a great experience which helped me to have a better understanding of what I want to pursue when I start my journey in medical school. During the summer, I had a chance to be part of a real research study from the very beginning and observe the entire cycle. I helped the team with recruiting the participants, conducting interviews, taking different tests, and working on the samples in laboratory.
How do you believe you have made an impact through your work?
Although the elderly population (by definition, adults who are 65 years and older) represent almost 15% of the U.S. population, unfortunately they are usually forgotten, and their medical needs are mismanaged in our current healthcare system. I believe that by interning in a research program at the Geriatrics Department, I am a small part of a team that is trying to help this population and is working towards finding solutions for their medical needs. I believe that this rewarding experience will help the elderly population in the near future.
What advice would you give to another student who is seeking an internship or similar experience?
In terms of the application process, I would encourage you to apply early and to many different programs (not just one or two!). But in general, I would say to try your best, be very persistent with what you want, and do NOT underestimate yourself!
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