Spring’19, Melody Wu’22, BIDMC

My first year at MIT has been a whirlwind of ups and downs, highs and lows, and everything in between. In the fall, being far from my home in California and a stranger to Boston, my priority had been to adjust to MIT life, breathe in Boston, and find community. While I was able to do this, this spring I wanted to explore— and so I decided to look for different opportunities. Although I may have overwhelmed myself a bit too much this semester, from these experiences, I’ve gained a greater perspective on the work I’m doing and what I hope to do— including as a Development Office Intern at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. I had seen the job listed in Chiara’s emails during IAP but was unsure if I had the skillset just yet and if I even had the time. However, after I talked with Chiara and she encouraged me to test it out and apply.

I talked with Richard Horne, supervisor of the Development Internship program, and Ellen Church. They were both very welcoming and after talking with them I knew it would be a valuable experience for me this semester. Learning about BIDMC and how far it has come as a medical research center and a hospital has been very interesting for me. Because they are a nonprofit, BIDMC uses all of the donations it receives or any other outside resources towards research, its employees, and supporting the health of the community. That mission spoke to me, along with my curiosity about Boston’s medical network and how Boston medical centers function, so I decided to join. And it has been a valuable learning experience. I’ve gained more skills in using Excel to visualize data about funding over the past decade for BIDMC and hope to explore using Python as well to do so. While I do not plan on majoring in computer science, it’s made me more appreciative of the power of visualizing data and what it can tell us about the work we do but also help us identify potential causes to look into in order to build a sustainable system that not only depends on the community but also is for the community. At the same time, I’ve been given opportunities to explore the rest of Beth Israel and the research and work it does for its community.

I’m really grateful for this opportunity this semester and thankful for the flexibility they’ve given me. I hope to have not only learned about BIDMC but also have helped BIDMC’s Development Office in a small way through this experience. It truly has been great to get off MIT’s campus for a bit and come back with a wider perspective about the communities I live in.

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