The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Research Institute is dedicated to training undergraduates by giving them hands-on exposure to sophisticated scientific and research techniques. CHOP Research Institute Summer Scholars Program (CRISSP) provides full-time mentored research experience to future leaders in the biomedical sciences, with a special emphasis on advancing laboratory, clinical, behavioral, and translational pediatric research.
CRISSP built a young scientist’s confidence to follow her investigative spirit. The 2013 CRISSP alumna blogged about how her invaluable learning experience revealed her future career focus.
Lindsay Zajac, a Bucknell University student, spent an internship last summer at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) assisting with research studies designed to increase understanding of how to best help children coping with pediatric injury and illness. She described the mentoring she received from Meghan Marsac, PhD, and Nancy Kassam-Adams, PhD, as, “truly one of a kind, which was illustrated by frequent meetings with my mentors and their thoughtful advice.”
CRISSP interns train within a designated research laboratory or group from June through August and complete an independent research project that they present at a commencement event. They receive formal instruction in human subject protections, care and use of animals in research, laboratory safety, and responsible conduct of research.
“This program brings undergraduates into the Research Institute and shows them how great science is,” CHOP Research Chief Scientific Officer and Executive Vice President Philip R. Johnson, MD, noted in the Research Institute’s Annual Report.
Zajac’s favorite role was approaching and enrolling families to participate in research studies while they were at the hospital. It exposed her to the rewards of conducting behavioral research for a pediatric population, and she began to develop her professional identity.
“My experience at CIRP has ignited my passion for research and solidified my strong desire to pursue a career in clinical psychology,” Zajac wrote.
With her career plan in place, Zajac was inspired to help other Bucknell students to find their professional paths. The second semester senior is in the midst of organizing an internship panel specifically for psychology students.