Research at the Center for Autism at CHOP

Jason Lai, NUR ’24, Danville, CA

This summer I had the invaluable opportunity to work at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as a Student Administrative Assistant in the Center for Autism Research department. I was able to immerse myself in a research environment and gain experience through interacting with families that enriched my understanding of being a part of a research team as a whole. This opportunity provided me with insights, challenges, and growth that I will be able to apply in my academic and career pursuits.

As a nursing student, I have already had many experiences with patients in a hospital setting through my clinical rotations. Although it has been very rewarding, I have always been interested in research, specifically how nursing research can impact clinical practice. With the scientific inquiry for evidence-based practice class that I also took this past semester, I was introduced into a world of research and it intrigued me so much that it shifted my focus to finding summer opportunities related to research and getting involved hands-on.

One of the most remarkable aspects of my summer experience was the diverse range of studies I had the privilege to contribute to, some of which were the Adolescent Communication of Emotion study, Social Biomarkers study, and the Imaging Cognition and Neurodevelopment study. As a result, I had the chance to work with many research assistants and principal investigators throughout the internship who all shared their expertise, guided me through tasks, and encouraged me to ask questions. By being involved with so many studies, I was able to gain a comprehensive understanding of all the parts that go into research, from designing the study to recruiting participants to conducting the study when participants come for a visit. Moreover, I found it rewarding when I got to interact with families and participants that I had helped arrange their visits.

Although at times it could be challenging balancing projects and meeting deadlines, my experience improved both my ability to effectively time manage and my prioritization skills.

All in all, my summer internship at CHOP provided me with an immersive and enlightening experience in the world of research. The opportunity to work with multiple teams, tackle real-world projects, and witness the results of my efforts has left an indelible mark on my professional journey. The insights gained and connections made during this internship will undoubtedly shape my future endeavors. As I move forward in my academic and career pursuits, I am grateful for the transformative experience this research opportunity has offered me.

This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2023 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here

By Career Services
Career Services