https://www.mdanderson.org/about-md-anderson/careers.html

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Biology Research Intern

June - August 2019 • Houston, TX

What I liked

I liked how I had the opportunity to learn at a fast pace. My mentors were all clear and concise in walking me through the experiments and concepts. They held me accountable and made me more motivated to produce a project with the best work and results possible.

What I wish was different

I wish there was more interaction across labs. At the floor I worked on, people mainly interacted within their own lab member's cubicle area and I wish there was a greater sense of community instead of individuality during my time at MD Anderson.

Advice

Be prepared to work long hours, as expected in any research lab setting. Don't be afraid to interact with others around you and outside your lab, even if no one else seems to. There are many brilliant minds you can learn from here, and many networks you can build up. Don't let it go to waste.
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Professional Student Nurse Extern

December 2019 • Houston, TX

What I liked

This is an amazing opportunity! I would highly recommend it. I have gotten hands on nursing experience that will help me be a nurse in the future. I am able to apply everything I learn from school during my clinical shifts here at MDA.

What I wish was different

I wish I was able to rotate through different units.

Advice

The minimum shifts required for this experience is 2 shifts a month. I highly suggest coming in more, you build relationships with nurses and its a good learning opportunity.
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Graduate Research Assistant

May 2019 - June 2020 • Houston, TX

What I liked

I enjoyed the Doctors that I was able to shadow

What I wish was different

I wish the pandemic had not arrived. I cut my research short and caused missed opportunities with networking for medical school

Advice

I think it's a great experience. I would advise applying early.
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Research Intern

June - August 2019 • Houston, TX

What I liked

It was a great experience. There was a lot of help, and I learned a lot

What I wish was different

Nothing. I had a really great experience.

Advice

I would just try to reach out to people because there are so many people who will be willing to meet with you and discuss their experience.
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Student Nurse Extern

May 2019 • Houston, TX

What I liked

Great experience.

What I wish was different

N/A

Advice

Worth doing while in school.
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Cancer Research Intern

June - August 2019 • Smithville, TX

What I liked

Every PI I spoke with, every other intern I met, and everyone in my lab were always extremely helpful and welcoming from the first day I arrived to begin working at MD Anderson. At first, the secluded location and distance from any other large cities was strange, but as time went on, I began to rather enjoy beauty of all of the nature around the facility and it was also nice to get a break from all of the traffic and bustle of the big cities. The most enjoyable aspect of this internship for me was the opportunity to engage in cutting edge cancer research, working very closely with both my mentor Swanand Hardikar and my PI Dr. Taiping Chen. Both of them were always willing to thoroughly try to answer my many questions about the science, theory, and reasoning behind the research, so I could better understand what I was doing in lab every day. I also had the opportunity to think critically about and contribute to the work we were doing by working on two projects over my 10 week internship, then presenting the findings at a symposium at the end.

What I wish was different

Since this location was in the more rural parts of Texas, the internet could often be very spotty and it was often very difficult to find good reception after I left the campus. This made trying to do nearly any work or online leisure activities nearly impossible. However, I stayed at a ranch with nine other interns, so we often found ways to keep entertained even without the internet.

Advice

Show genuine interest in the research project you may get and ask your PI and lab mates for help with understanding everything you are doing and why you are doing it. This will help you get more out of the experience and give you more chances to get to know your PI and lab mates. Those relationships may be extremely valuable in the future after the internship when you are looking for other opportunities.
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Biology Research Intern

June - August 2019 • Houston, TX

What I liked

I liked how I learned a vast amount of information and became more informed about the scientific process behind coming up with a hypothesis and research experiment.

What I wish was different

Not many people interacted outside of their lab bubble, and the cubicles often seemed dull and uninviting. I also would have preferred if all American interns were paid or at least rewarded credit, especially for all the hours we put in.

Advice

Overall the experience was enjoyable, although very busy and tight at times.
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College Intern

June - August 2019 • Houston, TX

What I liked

Working in a laboratory and talking with people with experience in the field.

What I wish was different

I wish it were paid.

Advice

Networks are important.
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Research Intern

June - August 2019 • Houston, TX

What I liked

I liked working in a high-profile research institution and hospital, with remarkable doctors and physicians from multiple countries around the world. I got first hand exposure to the newest technologies in the field, amazing mentorship from professionals with decades of experience, and immersion in the largest medical center in the world.

What I wish was different

I would have liked to have had more clinical experience.

Advice

5 things: - Learn how to network effectively and (force yourself to) do so when you're there - Don't be afraid to ask ALL the questions you have (it demonstrates your interest) - Explore the city/state as much as possible on your free time - Develop a personal relationship with your mentor; they should know you and respect you as a professional and an individual - Have fun!
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Research

June - August 2019 • Houston, TX

What I liked

The experience of Independence combined with professional working environment.

What I wish was different

I wish i had been more prepared with details on specific skill sets.

Advice

Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Apply to many programs that interest you.
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Summer Intern

May - August 2016 • Smithville, TX

What I liked

Lots of support for students. Fully paid board plus stipend for gas/groceries. Boarding on lovely remote ranch house in the middle-of-nowhere, TX; you can see the milky way at night! Less than an hour from Austin, TX. Small labs with state-of-the-art equipment allow you to have an intimate and one-of-a-kind experience. Research presentation for all students at the end with the whole facility. Weekly seminars with various PIs in the department.

What I wish was different

There should have been more communication between PIs and students before we started. The PIs choose the students from a databank. The particular lab I was assigned to was in the middle of moving so there was a lot of emphasis on my end to get my project started. Some other students complained that their projects were not what they expected.

Advice

Keep an open mind. You will have an amazing experience and will learn a lot whether you're working on your preferred project or not. Reach out to the PI as soon as you can to begin coordinating your project, 10 weeks goes by faster than you think and you'll get more done if you can start your project sooner.
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GRA (Graduate Research Intern)

June - August 2018 • Houston, TX

What I liked

I loved how friendly yet productive the research environment was. My mentor was incredibly kind, answering all of my questions, and providing me with a wealth of informative and educational activities. My summer internship program facilitated a wide range of opportunities for experiencing the life of a researcher, and my lab developed specific skills and interests in me. Overall, my perspective, motivations, and abilities matured deeply through my summer experience at Anderson!

What I wish was different

I wish that my particular research project had been better formatted for the timeline and ability of a summer student, but that very timeline being so short-lived as well as the time it takes upfront for a new lab member to become acquainted with the work of the lab explain why that was difficult.

Advice

I truly learned the usefulness of taking advantage of the people in the research environment around me. I reached out to a huge variety of researchers, clinicians, staff members, and more during my summer, all of which were incredibly kind and willing to listen to my story and advise me in a productive manner. You never know when you may be talking to your future boss, colleagues, or collaborators!
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Head and Neck Surgery Intern

May - August 2018 • Houston, TX

What I liked

I loved that I was not treated as an intern. I was treated like a team member in the fight to cure cancer.

What I wish was different

I wish it would have been longer so that I can see my research all the way through.

Advice

Be prepared for the heat!
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Nursing externship

May - August 2018 • Houston, TX

What I liked

That I was able to follow a seasoned nurse and work their schedule.

What I wish was different

Having to submit my schedule a month in advice because their schedule was only approved for 2 weeks.

Advice

It was a really job experience and made me a lot more prepared for nursing school clinicals
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Undergraduate Research Assistant

May - August 2018 • Houston, TX

What I liked

I enjoyed the fact that I was able to work on cutting edge medical imaging research over the summer.

What I wish was different

Advice

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Biology Research Intern

June - August 2018 • Houston, TX

What I liked

All of it.

What I wish was different

I wish it was a paid internship.

Advice

Experience Houston for all it has to offer.
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College Student - Organization Development

June - August 2017 • Houston, TX

What I liked

People are very knowledgeable, caring, and professional. Many interesting workshops and trainings.

What I wish was different

Task can be boring at times, and the background and health check process is time-consuming

Advice

Take initiative to ask for tasks that you want, and they are willing to give you opportunities.
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College Intern

June - August 2018 • Smithville, TX

What I liked

I loved working full-time in a lab setting while contributing to a fascinating project. This experience confirmed that I would like to go to graduate school and pursue research as a career.

What I wish was different

Absolutely nothing.

Advice

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Biology Research Intern

July - August 2018 • Houston, TX

What I liked

I really enjoyed the access to clinical shadowing that this internship afforded me, as I had the opporunity to shadow a doctor of the same specialization as my intended vocation. I had the opportunity to interact with diverse individuals in the lab all from science backgrounds, as well as a strong education in the execution of assays and various tests in the lab I worked in. Additionally, I had enough flexibility to test out ideas that my research inspirired, as well as the opportunity to work on a review paper.

What I wish was different

I wish I had perhaps had more things to do beside writing my research paper, as we were only able to fit in 3 shadowing sessions. If the shadowing had begun earlier in the internship rather than at the latter end of the internship, I think I would have been able to experience more of the clinical aspect of research.

Advice

I highly advice being able to afford housing in Houston if you are not a Houston native. Unfortunately, most of the monthly rent spans from $700 to $1000, which was unexpected coming from the Chicago area. Additionally, having relatives or friends in Houston can definitely help make the experience more homely, as it is a vast city and you most likely will not have your own car.
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