I had two great internships this summer. In my first internship, I was fortunate enough to work with Dr. Carol Bascom-Slack and Dr. Revati Masilamani from Tufts University. Dr. Basom-Slack is a Research Assistant Professor, whose main focus is Antimicrobial Resistance and science education. Dr Masilamani also works in the Tufts Center for Science Education and heads a project on misconceptions within the high school science curriculum. In the first part of this internship, I conducted research on perceptions of vaccines throughout social media platforms. I focused on people’s attitude towards receiving the flu shot to see how it may overlap with people’s willingness to receive a potential COVID vaccine. I scoured commonly used platforms, such as Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Then, I wrote up a research abstract that described my methods and findings. As I transition into the school year, a Tufts undergraduate will pick up my research from where I left off and expand on it.
For the second part of my Tufts internship, I am creating a five minute informational video disproving a common misconception of the flu vaccine. More specifically, I am disputing the idea that the flu shot can give you the flu--a false claim that repeatedly appears within social media and daily life. This video will be posted on the Tufts website to educate science teachers and students nationwide as well as contribute to Dr. Masilamani’s project on misconceptions. I am extremely grateful that both Dr. Bascom-Slack and Dr. Masilamani have allowed me to collaborate, which has deepened my understanding of the medical research field.
For my other internship, I worked with Dr. Christopher Louis, a Clinical Associate Professor of Health Law, Policy, and Management in the BU School of Public Health. Dr. Louis, along with a team of researchers from the University of Virginia, is conducting a study funded by the American Cancer Society on the effects of mammography center policies and practices on uptake in breast cancer screening and diagnosis. They are examining how various mammography screening centers in the Appalachian region of the United States operate and the effects it has on women presenting with late-stage breast cancer. I have been fortunate enough to sit in on the team’s weekly meetings and debrief with Dr. Louis after. Additionally, as Dr. Louis and his team begin to draft their first research paper, I assisted in conducting a literature search. For instance, I have sifted through literature on google scholar to look for related studies that may benefit them and make sure that no identical studies have been completed. I am honored and thankful that Dr. Louis and his team have allowed me to learn from them as well as their project, and I wish them the best of luck as they continue to move forward.
Overall, I am happy to have had the opportunity to explore the research field this summer and would love to extend thanks to all of the people that have helped me to do so.