Reflection by Matthew Dina
This summer I was fortunate to receive the opportunity to work at Nemours A.I. DuPont Hospital for children in Wilmington, Delaware. The Nemours Summer Undergraduate Research Program (NSURP) is an internship experience I have been applying to since I was a freshman at Wesley College, and this past spring, I was given that chance to prove myself.
I remember getting the call from one of my mentors and the program coordinator, Heidi Kecskemethy, who explained to me, in detail, the basis of my research and who I would be working with. More importantly, however, Heidi had to make sure that the work I would be doing was something I would be comfortable performing. The premise of the project was postmortem imaging of infants and children, a rather morbid project. However, my ambition in life is to become a doctor (more specifically, a pediatrician).
I knew that the NSURP internship experience was the first step in the right direction since I want to care for and treat children as a practicing physician. I accepted the project and offered some suggestions to show my eagerness to begin immediately. Since school ended the first weekend of May, I proposed that I come in three weeks earlier than my fellow interns to begin my project in order to become acclimated with the hospital environment. I understood I would not be paid for these earlier hours as I was focused on gaining the experience and obtaining the needed volunteer hours for medical school.
There are not enough words to truly describe the experience I had at Nemours this past summer. From making connections with the doctors I worked with, to the projects I worked on, to the fellow students that I remain in contact with today, I feel that I have never been more prepared and set up for medical school. When I joined the program, I was given two projects to work on and worked back and forth between the two. Unfortunately, due to circumstances that were out of my control, my one project could not be finished in time for a poster presentation, but my other project that focused on Endotracheal Tube Intubation could potentially be published.
As a result of personal passion and work ethic displayed while working at Nemours this summer, I was asked to come back in the winter and spring to continue on the other project that I was not able to complete over the summer. Through communication with my Wesley advisor and my mentors at Nemours, this project will serve as my capstone senior research project. The project mentor is very young and ambitious, and she believes that this project can be taken to new heights through professional endeavors, such as gaining publicity at national meetings, formulating guidelines, and getting published. Overall, my time at Nemours changed my life for the better after years of persistently applying to the NSURP program. I received the chance of a lifetime to prove my skills and abilities.