Social Impact Internships: Sav Lawrence (’24)

Hi, I’m Sav! I’m a rising senior (‘24) majoring in course 7 (biology) and minoring in WGS (women’s + gender studies). This summer, I worked as a research intern at the Cambridge Health Alliance Health Equity Research Lab (CHA HER Lab), an interdisciplinary group of researchers, clinicians, and community partners conducting research to improve physical and mental health in diverse communities.

I chose animation as my medium for my design project; I enjoyed creating animations during quarantine and my leave from MIT in 2020-2021 and wanted to revisit it again this summer to represent how I’ve changed over the course of my internship. The animation is unofficially titled “the tangle,” as it symbolizes the tangle of thoughts and emotions surrounding my work-life balance, relationship with myself and others, and my career goals in the past, present, and future. At the beginning of the summer, I had a strong fixation on untangling this tangle, hoping that my summer internship would miraculously provide me with the clarity to discover the formula to reaching maximum productivity, maintaining conflict-free relationships, and knowing the perfect future career for myself. This was a wildly unrealistic expectation to set for myself that led to frustration in attempting to meet it, portrayed in the animation through the red, angry effects circling the tangle as it attempts to unravel and form knots, as well as the snake that the tangle morphs into later in the sequence.

As the summer progressed, I began to make peace with the uncertainty of the future. This was largely influenced by the advice, feedback and support I received from my supervisor and other members of the HER Lab regarding my education + career pathways beyond MIT and personal life goals. I’ve cultivated a deeper sense of gratitude for the various opportunities that exist within the tangle, and a more patient and forgiving attitude towards myself and the decisions I make about my future. The flowers sprouting out of the tangle and the tangle itself beating like a heart are representative of me coming to terms with the tangle; instead of continuing to attempt to unravel the knots and kinks in my future plans, I
allow myself to continue to learn, grow and flourish in my current work in spite of the unpredictability of it all.

Song credits for the animation: “Symphony for a Spider Plant” by Mort Garson

Tags: Health & Medicine, Social Impact Internships, Social Impact Internships Summer 2023

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