Julie Kohn '12
Employer: Becton Dickinson, Franklin Lakes, NJ
Internship Title: Co-Opportunity, Lab Personnel
Describe your duties:
Half of my Co-Op was spent running tests of the medical equipment in the lab. I performed tests such as blood aspiration, sleeve function testing, and vacuum testing on medical needles and blood draw test tubes. The other half of my time was spent completing FDA compliance work. This included SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and Equipment Validations. This helped me understand the equipment I was working with, and how medical companies have to comply with FDA rules. I was also in charge of the chemical inventory for the entire building, containing over 1000 chemicals, and managing all of their MSDS files (Material-Safety Data Sheets).
What did you enjoy most about your internship?
I enjoyed the introduction to the medical field and the community environment at BD. I had not seriously considered any job in the medical field, but now it seems exciting in both the facts that it really helps people, and its challenging but creative at the same time.
What did you enjoy least about your internship?
Much of the lab work became very repetitive once it was mastered. However, I was glad that I worked with 5 other Co-Ops who all worked together.
What is the most significant thing you learned about yourself as a result of the internship?
I learned to be independent and trust my instincts. I was the youngest of the Co-Ops and the only non-Biomedical or Mechanical Engineer, so I had a lot of catching up. I asked a lot of questions, but many of the experiments I had to use my resources and figure out how to get things myself. I feel much more comfortable in labs now and in doing projects that don't have explicit instructions step-by-step.
What recommendations do you have for other students considering doing an internship?
Go in with an open mind, and try everything that makes you nervous to do. This is how I realized that I really like the medical research field, and how my coworkers knew I was really trying to help out the company- I consistently challenged myself with new tasks and volunteered for ones no one else wanted to do. That's how I learned so much.