In This Section

Summer Scholars Explore Pediatric Research Careers

Published on August 9, 2023 in Cornerstone Blog · Last updated 8 months 2 weeks ago
AddtoAny
Share:

WATCH THIS PAGE

Subscribe to be notified of changes or updates to this page.

3 + 1 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.
CHOP Research Institute interns are celebrating the completion of their summer of scientific exploration.
CHOP Research Institute interns are celebrating the completion of their summer of scientific exploration.

Students had a summer to remember at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute, as they experienced pediatric research and medicine from behind-the-scenes, explored pathways for STEM-M careers, and received mentorship and guidance from CHOP faculty who are at the top of their fields.

The high school and undergraduate students participated in two summer internships developed by the Office of Academic Training and Outreach Programs to provide comprehensive, hands-on programs that aim to inspire future generations of leaders in child health.

CHOP Research Internship for Scholars and Emerging Scientists (CHOP-RISES) is an intensive internship program designed to build science skills confidence in students typically under-represented in research and related fields. Students spend two to three summers at CHOP working in labs, shadowing investigators, and exploring career options. This year, all students in their third CHOP-RISES summer have been accepted to a college or university for the fall, with at least three of those students being the first college-bound generation in their families.

“This is the first summer that we have RISES students I, II, and III all together,” said Michelle Marshall, MEd, senior outreach programs manager for ATOP. “We can’t wait to see what our RISES interns accomplish next in their careers.”

Also graduating are this summer’s cohort of the CHOP Research Institute Summer Scholars Program (CRISSP), a competitive internship designed to provide undergraduate students with theoretical knowledge, practical training in academic research, and exposure to pediatric-focused research career paths under CHOP faculty mentorship. The 10-week program provides opportunities in basic, clinical, behavioral, and translational research. Students complete an independent research project over the course of the CRISSP internship and present a poster presentation at the end.

As the students prepared to celebrate the completion of their respective internship programs Aug. 10, an intern from each cohort reflected on their experience and how it will inform their future goals.

The CRISSP summer program provided participating undergraduates a full-time, mentored research experience.
The CRISSP summer program provided participating undergraduates a full-time, mentored research experience.

Lynnette A. Martínez Rivera

Age: 21
University: University of Puerto Rico - Río Piedras Campus
Program: CRISSP
Host Lab: Matthew Weitzman, PhD

Why did you choose to enroll in the program, or how did you get involved?

As a rising senior, this summer was critical for informing my next steps, and I sought a program that catered to my academic needs and aligned with my aspirations. I discovered the CRISSP program during an information session led by Program Coordinator Maria Morales at my university. Her insightful presentation highlighted the unique opportunity to combine my passions for medicine and research in a pediatric setting.

CHOP’s prestigious reputation and the renowned Research Institute caught my attention because the environment combined my academic and career goals. The invaluable opportunities for growth that CRISSP offered within the field of research and healthcare ensured the experience would equip me with the skills necessary to propel me toward achieving my professional aspirations.

What are some of your favorite experiences so far in the program?

The program offers an incredible array of resources and activities; however, shadowing at CHOP’s Emergency Department and conducting my project within the Weitzman Lab left a lasting impression. Everyone who works in a pediatric setting such as CHOP has a unique charm in the way they treat their peers, patients, and their families. CRISSP offered a combination of clinical and research experiences that allowed me to explore the pediatric world and gain a unique perspective on healthcare.

Another highlight of the program that enriches the overall experience is the opportunity for each student to personalize their internship to match their interests. Working in Dr. Weitzman’s research laboratory exposed me to a multitude of careers and perspectives within the scientific community. I have made use of the informational interviews provided by the program to explore different professions and collaborations within research. Working alongside leading experts in the field and contributing to meaningful, cutting-edge projects that could potentially impact the healthcare field has been truly inspiring and fulfilling.

How do you think the program will help in your future career goals?

One of the most significant advantages is the opportunity to establish mentor relationships with esteemed faculty members and other professionals in various fields. Their expertise and insight have helped me shape and refine my career goals, all while providing invaluable guidance along the journey.

As someone about to graduate college and in need of guidance for graduate school, the opportunity to talk to professionals in diverse careers enabled me to explore and reaffirm my commitment to a profession in healthcare. Their advice and perspectives have been crucial in helping me make informed decisions about my academic journey.

The program’s emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration encourages networking and connections that can lead the way to future endeavors while cultivating a diverse professional community. Every student is equipped with the tools needed to build a strong foundation for success.

Students in CHOP-RISES I enjoyed their first six-week experience with the summer internship program.
Students in CHOP-RISES I enjoyed their first six-week experience with the summer internship program.

Gabriella DiGiacomo

Age: 16
School: Franklin Learning Center, Philadelphia
Program: CHOP-RISES I
Host Lab: Elizabeth Bhoj, MD, PhD

Why did you choose to enroll in the program, or how did you get involved?

I chose to enroll in this program because it seemed like an educational and entertaining experience. I was excited to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.

What are some of your favorite experiences so far in the program?

I loved meeting all the people in my lab and the other students in my program. Dr. Bhoj’s Lab is such a positive environment; I enjoyed coming in every day. I am also excited about all the lab techniques I’ve been learning.

How do you think the program has helped shape your dreams for the future?

The program opened my eyes to all the job possibilities and different areas of study I could try. I enjoyed being able to see the “behind the scenes” of the medical field rather than what’s shown in the media.

CHOP-RISES II students participated in their second summer of science at the Research Institute.
CHOP-RISES II students participated in their second summer of science at the Research Institute.

Kyle Tymes

Age: 17
School: George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science, Philadelphia
Program: CHOP RISES II
Host Lab: Robert Levy, MD

Why did you choose to enroll in the program, or how did you get involved?

I got involved with this program when my adviser recommended it a year ago. I chose to enroll because of the opportunity to get a taste of what my future career path could look like.

What are some of your favorite experiences so far in the program?

Some of my favorite experiences were going on a scavenger hunt, where we got to know the CHOP and Penn campus by finding a list of landmarks, and participating in the mentor meetings.

How do you think the program has helped shape your dreams for the future?

The program reinforced my determination to go into engineering and biomedical engineering.

All of this year’s CHOP-RISES III participants are heading to a college or university for the fall.
All of this year’s CHOP-RISES III participants are heading to a college or university for the fall.

Ashley Rodriguez

Age: 18
School: Graduated from Conrads School of Science, Wilmington, Delaware; enrolled at Emory University
Program: CHOP-RISES III
Host Lab: Kate Wallis, MD, MPH

Why did you choose to enroll in the program, or how did you get involved?

I had in interest in STEM-related fields and was nominated by a mentor from TeenSharp, a nonprofit program that helps prepare low-income, black, and Latino youth for higher education.

What are some of your favorite experiences so far in the program?

My favorite experiences so far have been shadowing different doctors and getting to see their interaction with patients.

How do you think the program has helped shape your dreams for the future?

The program helped me solidify that I want to pursue a career in developmental psychology.

Visit CHOP Research Institute's Instagram for a fun glimpse of the 2023 CRISSP and CHOP-RISES graduates.