Currently, Kathryn Lin is a full-time research technologist in the Immunology department at the Mayo Clinic, investigating early immune responses in the gut.
However, last summer, Kathryn was still a human biology major just interning at the clinic in CRISP, the Clinical Research Internship Summer Program, which is a 10-week summer program that gives college students the opportunity to participate in clinical research.
Specifically, Kathryn worked as a student researcher in the Mayo Clinic Florida Breast Imaging Department where she learned about breast imaging and cancer detection processes.
Her main project was to analyze retrospective charts of patients who underwent screening mammograms and evaluate their risk for breast cancer, further management of their health, and their follow-ups at the Breast Center.
“There are many different factors that go into patient care and screening for a disease which are usually intricate and heavily related, so each patient’s path for care and treatment is oftentimes very different from everyone else’s,” she said.
The opportunity to work with some top, industry-leading professionals to be special and rewarding, someone Kathryn hasn’t take for granted.
“Even though I personally was not able to scan or read patients, I was still able to gain a lot of information about how the process works, what physicians look for, and how to best approach each individual case,” she said.
Kathryn had other projects she participated in that included working on a case report involving a blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell tumor, improving a project for patient’s experience post-breast biopsy, and bettering a quality improvement project for residents in the Breast Imaging Department.
“This internship was extremely helpful in letting me discover different areas of research that I may be potentially involved in for the future,” she said. “The variety of research opportunities and diversity of projects I was allowed to work on really helped shape the perspective and preferences I have for academic research in the future.”
Kathryn’s tip on summer internships is to remember that even though it is the summer and you are on break from school, an internship position is not the place to be slacking off. She advises you to show your dedication and willingness to work hard — something that clearly, has paid off for Kathryn.
“If you can outperform the standards they have already set for you, it’s a great opportunity to show how capable and ready you are to take on bigger projects and more responsibility in your position,” Kathryn said.