It’s that time of year again—the time when everyone is starting to receive offers for summer internships and programs and a common question becomes, “Do you know what you’ll be doing this summer?” Although I’m not going through the internship process this time because I’ll be working on research for my thesis, all this talk has made me reflect a great deal on my experience as an intern with the Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS) program last year.
Last summer, I spent 10 weeks working as a PICS intern at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. I decided to apply to this internship for two reasons: first, because I am considering a career in medicine, and also because I wanted to spend my summer engaged in a meaningful project. I primarily worked within the Network Performance Group to help kick-start a new surgical safety initiative, work which I found particularly meaningful after attending conferences on surgical safety with my team and hearing from patients affected by poor care.
I would argue, however, that the best part of my PICS internship was the support and guidance that I received from my PICS supervisor and alumni partner. My supervisor genuinely cared about my interest in medicine and arranged many opportunities for me to observe surgeries, speak with various specialists about their work, and assist medical students with research. In addition, PICS interns are matched with an alumni partner, who not only funds part of the stipend that PICS awards its interns, but also makes the time to meet and speak to the interns about their experiences and interests. My alumni partner was generous enough to take his five interns out to dinner early on during the summer, and invited us all to his house for a barbeque late in the summer. It was incredible to have such a supportive network during my 10 weeks at Montefiore.
I went into the summer hoping that I might learn a bit about my career goals while giving back to a community; I came out having learned a great deal about who I am and who I want to be. My summer interning at Montefiore, through the support of PICS, was a transformative experience for me, and I would encourage any Princeton student or prospective student to learn more about the incredible summer internship and program opportunities that Princeton offers.