I never thought that I would get the opportunity to intern in a lab, especially not at this point in my life–as a mere high school graduate who hasn’t even started college yet.
Growing up, I was always interested in science and other STEM subjects. As a little girl in Girl Scouts, I consistently chose to forgo the puppies and babysitting badges for camping and science experiments, so I always knew that STEM was the future for me and tried to pursue that as best I could through classes and extracurricular activities.
For me, working in a lab was a far off dream in some distant future–the “end goal”; not one of the first steps. But this summer that dream became a reality when Dr. John Randall invited me to intern at Zyvex labs, and I knew that this would be a great opportunity to get some experience in a lab and see if this was something I could see myself doing in the future.
Interning at Zyvex has allowed me to learn about countless new subjects, experience the work place firsthand, and see what a career in STEM looks like–all of which are hard to sum up in just a few paragraphs.
I’ve learned about things that I didn’t even know existed–neuromodulation, vagus nerve stimulation, targeted brain plasticity, scanning tunneling microscope lithography, and more. I’ve been exposed to today’s biotechnology and the advances that are being made within the field, and I’ve gained a better understanding of the importance of atomically precise manufacturing going forward.
This being my first “real job”, I was able to experience workplace dynamics for the first time and observe everything that goes into running a lab and small business. I also discovered many different fields within STEM through the backgrounds of the Zyvex Team and their various projects, and determine that this is truly what I want to do with my future.
On my very first day at Zyvex, I dove right in and worked hands-on with the Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) Implants, putting plastic covers on each device so that an Optical Leak Test could be conducted. Since then, I have continued to work under Rahul Saini and Bill Owen on the VNS implant, researching neuromodulation devices and their potential uses. I have also been challenged with creating a historical documentation of the VNS Implant process flow from start to finish, outlining every single step of the process–a very slow but rewarding task. This work has allowed me to learn about different technologies, processes, and tests, as well as the documentation associated with project management–a side of STEM that I never thought about before.
On top of exposing me to many different topics and aspects of STEM, and reaffirming my love for science, interning at Zyvex has shown me not to be afraid to ask questions when I don’t understand what my colleagues are talking about, and to work hard at everything I do–whether it’s putting stickers on implants, researching the effects of VNS, or pulling together test reports.
Posted by Anna Connolly
Summer Intern Zyvex Labs