Princeternship Stories: Andy Zheng ’20, Eastern Virginia Medical Center, Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters

I had the opportunity to intern at the Children’s Hospital for the King’s Daughters. I took a day of rest before I started my internship during intersession. After arriving at the hospital, I was introduced to everything that I needed to know. The same thing that every hospital intern should be aware, such as I cannot disclose patient information and what happens in the hospital stays in the hospital. Continue reading

Princeternship Stories: Maria Jerez ’19, Disability Rights Maryland

I learned so much during my internship at Disability Rights Maryland – about the law, about the office environment and myself. When I first went into this Princeternship, all I knew was that I had a strong interest in law and a sense that I wanted to use that to help people. I wasn’t sure what that meant, and I most definitely didn’t know how I intended to do that. The biggest concern I had about my future profession was being able to mesh those two things together in a way that was interesting and made a difference. In talking to Leslie and all the other attorneys, paralegals and legal advocates at the office though, I saw that it was possible. Continue reading

Princeternship Stories: Lila Abreu ’19, Cornea and Laser Eye Institute/Hersh Vision Group

I applied to this Princeternship because I wanted to get a glimpse at a day in the life of a doctor. Recently, I’ve been thinking that I ultimately want to do something related to mental health and counseling. I’ve been trying to decide whether I should fulfill pre-medical requirements with the goal of becoming a psychiatrist, or whether I should focus my attention towards my Psychology courses and research. As I am extremely indecisive (I’ve switched majors from Chemistry to Computer Science and now to Psychology, dabbling in Linguistics, Philosophy and Neuroscience along the way!), I wanted to make this decision about what to do with my remaining time at Princeton with as much information as possible. I thought shadowing a surgeon would provide me the extra information I needed to begin making an informed decision.

Over the course of the day, Dr. Hersh, Dr. Gelles and some of the technicians showed us around the office. They explained the process of preparing patients for surgery, performing the surgery and doing post-procedure follow-ups. For each surgery we observed, Dr. Hersh made sure to give us background information on the problems the patients were experiencing and on how the procedure helped correct it. He also made sure to give us many close-up views of patients’ eyes mid-procedure (very cool!) and explained what he was doing step by step. He took time to chat with us, answering all of our questions about his experiences at Princeton and about the path he took that lead him to ophthalmology.

One of my biggest takeaways of the day was that while planning is certainly useful, those plans tend to change along the way. Dr. Hersh explained that he had gone into medicine wanting to do orthopedics, and ended up doing ophthalmology mostly due to the quality of the ophthalmology program at his school. In hearing his med school and early work experiences, it was clear that he embraced change and was open to following the opportunities that were best for him at the time, opportunities which led him relatively far from where he initially saw himself. This strategy obviously worked out very well for him, and it’s comforting to see that letting plans go astray is not so bad after all.

At the end of the day, I was so happy that I had the opportunity to do this Princeternship. It was an incredible experience that helped push me towards deciding what I want to focus on in my next two-and-a-half years at Princeton.

Princeternship stories: Jessica Quinter ’18, Maryland Disability Law Center

This post was written by Jessica Quinter ’18 after her Princeternship. For more information on the Princeternship program, visit our site.  

Though I did a fair amount of research before attending my Princeternship, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I kind of assumed it would be an average day in the life of any lawyer; some paperwork, some case research, maybe a few phone calls with clients. But the eye-opening, incredible experience I had exceeded any and all of my expectations.

The first thing I was struck by upon arriving at Maryland Disability Law Center (MDLC) was the warmth and friendliness of the atmosphere. It takes a certain kind of person to work there, someone dedicated and kind to the nth degree, and that sentiment was palpable. I was first able to speak with a few other professionals working at MDLC, whose jobs were somewhat different from my host (the Managing Attorney). I was allowed to listen in on intake calls, which was an incredibly valuable experience. It gave me a real understanding of the value of the work that MDLC does. I saw how vital and how heartbreaking it all was. I was also able to speak with another person, who worked specifically on promoting inclusion in after-school programs for disabled children. In everyone I spoke with, the definite common denominator was his or her passion and kindness. No one better embodied that than my host, Mrs. Leslie Margolis ’82.

Mrs. Margolis focuses in special education. I was able to attend a meeting with Mrs. Margolis with a parent she was representing (for her child) and the school special education staff, about the child’s school placement. Emotions ran high, and it was rather heartbreaking to watch this child be debated upon. But more than anything, I was struck by how completely dedicated Mrs. Margolis was to advocating for the parent and child, and promoting the student’s best interests above all other possible considerations. It was really illuminating to me, in illustrating just how vital the work of Mrs. Margolis and the MDLC as a whole is. These children, and also disabled adults, though I didn’t see much about that specifically, sometimes have no one to advocate for them. They may fall to the wayside, or suffer abuse. Parents, or other caregivers, may not know where to turn. Some private firms may sometimes seem to hold ulterior motives. Others cannot afford a private attorney, but just surpass the threshold to qualify for pro bono. The help of the MDLC, then, is incredibly important, and that was very clearly demonstrated to me.

My day shadowing Mrs. Margolis at MLDC was honestly one of the best experiences I’ve had. It opened my eyes to a kind of law practice that I hadn’t really considered before, which I now see as very rewarding, worthwhile, and important. For myself, I’ve always wanted to go to law school, but been wary of simply joining a private firm. I’ve always been passionate about social justice and civil liberties. I’ve worked as the political intern at the Human Rights Campaign in the Government Affairs Department, which I loved. I’ve always imagined that a path like that would be best for me; being able to lobby for policy for issues I am so passionate about. And perhaps I will still end up somewhere like that, I would still love to. But my day at MDLC showed me another possible path—being a lawyer doesn’t necessarily have to entail private corporate work. There are places like MDLC, where passionate lawyers can also advocate for social justice. Mrs. Margolis also informed me that she was able to do policy work as well, which I hadn’t know or considered. My Princeternship opened my mind to another realm of possible careers in a way that I hadn’t expected.

Shadowing Mrs. Margolis was also incredibly rewarding in that she gave me so much valuable advice. She told me a lot about her own career path, and was incredibly open and receptive to any questions I had. She gave me a lot of meaningful advice, in a way that was very relatable. I really enjoyed my experience shadowing Mrs. Margolis at MDLC, and I would recommend to any student to do the program. Thank you so much, Mrs. Margolis, for the incredible experience!!

Apply for a Princeternship

Looking for a great way to spend a few days of winter break? Want to meet alumni and get an inside look at career fields that interest you? Apply for a Princeternship, which matches undergraduate students with alumni for job shadowing and project experience over one to five days. Applications for the winter Princeternship sessions open Oct. 11 and will close Nov. 8. Undergraduate students of all years can apply in Handshake.

Princeternships provide a “day in the life” in the workplace, with students often participating in board, client or patient meetings; office tours; seminars; case studies and projects. During a winter Princeternship, students have the opportunity to:

  • Explore a career field of interest, without the commitment of an internship

  • Gain first-hand knowledge of a real work environment and on-the-job etiquette

  • Uncover possible internships and options for future careers

  • Connect directly with an alum host, who can serve as an excellent resource for career, job and internship advice

  • Learn about the job application process by submitting a resume and interviewing for a position

There are more than 70 positions available with 38 different organizations during this session, including opportunities in arts and entertainment, communications, business, consulting, entrepreneurship, education, government, healthcare, law, nonprofit and STEM. To learn more about the program and get a firsthand look at past experiences through student blogs, visit our Princeternship page.

Questions? Come to our walk-in hours or email Rachel Jimenez, associate director, internships & experiential education.

Princeternship stories: Yusuke Tsuzuki ’19, YingHua International School

tsuzukiMy Princeternship host, Ms. Kristin Epstein ’96, was a kind, engaging and wonderful host, and I had an extraordinary experience at YingHua International School.  YingHua is unlike any other school, in that it has a dual language curriculum, and its unique atmosphere enabled me to look at education from a different perspective. Students are taught only in Chinese before 1st grade, and gradually increase their proportion of English classes. Many of the students don’t speak Chinese at home, yet most upperclassmen speak it fluently. I wish they could’ve taken my CHI303 final for me. If you’re interested in language and education, YingHua is the perfect place to see how the two fields can come together in practice.

The benefits of this Princeternship were countless. First, shadowing the executive director allows you to get behind the scenes of school life and know how both individual teachers and board members need to respond to various needs. On the first and third day we attended a teacher-parent conference. There you can see how diverse the perspectives of parents are, in terms of testing, feedback, education goals, and much more. The fact that Yinghua is a private school makes it more interesting, because parental feedback directly means customer feedback, unlike in public schools. It was personally interesting for me because I’m interested in the public/private aspect of education, whether or not and to what extent educational institutions should be privatized.

Second, the Chinese New Year comes around during the intersession Princeternship, and I got to see the students perform at the Princeton Senior Center! This means that you not only get to enjoy watching the students perform traditional plays and sing traditional New Year songs, but you can also see how effective the dual curriculum is. The upper-grade students speak so fluently, it’s just amazing.

Last but not the least, Princeternship gives you the opportunity to listen to the stories of Princeton alumni: how their Princeton life was, what led to their current job, and what they think is important in life. My host actually started out as a BSE engineer–which was surprising considering the fact that she now runs an international school–and she chose not to get an MBA, even though it might have been useful. Each of her life decisions shows you there is no “mainstream” way of finding your career.

I would recommend this Princeternship at YingHua International School to anyone who is interested in education or language (especially Chinese), and perhaps policy-making concerning the two areas.  I want to thank Ms. Epstein again for being an awesome host, and Demi Zhang ’19 as well, who participated with me as a fellow Princetern.

Princeternship stories: Eric Chen ’19, Epic

When I arrived at Epic, I met with Gina Davis ’10, who helped coordinate the Princeternship, to see a product demo of Epic software. The software suite that Epic produces is truly massive. Driven by the mission of one medical record for every patient, Epic produces software so that everything a hospital does—from routine checkups to emergency room visits to prescriptions—can be housed in one electronic record. Right now, an impressive 57 percent of patients in the U.S. are covered by Epic software, a number which shows how working at Epic really does impact millions of lives everyday.
IMG_20160104_163426655When I first met my host Todd Dale ‘09, a technical services engineer and technical coordinator, he was on a conference call supporting a hospital’s installation of Epic software. I quickly learned that because of the nature of healthcare software, technical support is critically important. For one, system downtime can have a very negative impact on hospitals. It doesn’t matter if the power goes out or natural disaster strikes, Todd works with hospitals to ensure that their particular installation of Epic software will have as close to 100 percent uptime as possible. In this call, I saw Epic’s core tenet of doing right by the customer. Todd and his team work one-on-one with hospitals to make sure that Epic software works for the customer as well as possible.

Even though Todd’s main job is technical services for hospitals, the open and flexible culture at Epic allows him to wear many different hats every day. For Todd, this means that he is also the lead developer of an internal staffing tool for team managers at the company—a tool that he started out of his own need.

At one design meeting, Todd was pitching a new website design to improve workflows for managers using his tool. I’m not too familiar with developing in teams, so it was great to see Todd balancing his own vision for features with the opinions and demands of others in the room.

As we were bouncing between meetings, I got a chance to see some more of Epic’s campus, which reflects the general workplace culture of innovation, creativity and fun. Todd works in the jungle-themed building, but we passed through a Scandinavian building, New York City-themed areas, as well as an Indiana Jones hallway, where we had our picture taken. 

As my day of shadowing Todd revealed, there is an infinite number of jobs that can be done at any point in time, so there is no reason to limit your work to your job title because, oftentimes, your best work will be a product of pursuing what no one else thought to do.

A huge thank you to Gina and Doug for taking time out of their day to help me, and especially to Todd who graciously let me shadow him and introduced me to the expansive and fascinating world of Epic and healthcare software.

Princeternship stories: Alexandra Eakes ’17, Ganchi Plastic Surgery

Alexandra Eakes '17 and Parham A. Ganchi '87My Princeternship was with Ganchi Plastic Surgery for two days.

On the first day, I visited patients with Dr.Parham Ganchi ’87, listening in on his consultations with new patients and his follow-up visits with post-operative patients. I also observed quick procedures, such as Botox and filler injections. On the second day, I observed three surgeries: a rhinoplasty revision, gynecomastia surgery and a breast augmentation revision. The surgeries took up the entirety of the workday. Dr. Ganchi talked to me during the procedures, explaining what he was doing every step of the way and answering any other questions I had. I was also able to observe and speak with the anesthesiologist, surgical technicians, and nurses about their work at the practice.

This Princeternship exposed me to an entirely new field of medicine that I had not yet explored. I was able to see the various steps of a cosmetic plastic surgery procedure, from the beginning planning stage to the end results months post-operation. In addition to learning about the many different procedures, I learned how the surgeon collaborates with patients to reach their desired outcomes, and also how the surgeon must consider the motivation behind a procedure to determine if it is truly in the patient’s best interest. And though Dr. Ganchi specialized in cosmetic plastic surgery, he went out of his way to show me show me the variety of procedures and subspecialties that plastic surgery encompasses. He was also very generous with his experience and advice, discussing with me many other aspects of pursing medicine, such as undergraduate courses, family planning, and private practice.

My experience has contributed greatly to my further interest in medicine and has opened my eyes to a new potential career path. I’ve learned that private practice medicine is definitely something I am interested in pursuing as I enjoyed the intimate setting of Dr. Ganchi’s practice. My experience left me with many things to think about and consider, like the type of lifestyle I would like to have, as I continue my education toward my career.

I definitely recommend this Princeternship to anyone interested in medicine or health. I learned so much in only two days in a great environment with fantastic people. Thank you to Dr. Ganchi and everyone at his practice for being so kind and generous with their time and knowledge. They definitely made my Princeternship everything I had hoped it would be and more.

Princeternship stories: Elizabeth Maxey ’18, YingHua International School

This post was written by Elizabeth Maxey after her Princeternship. Applications for the Winter 2015 program close on Nov. 3. To apply, visit HireTigers.

Maxey 1During this past spring break, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in a three day long Princeternship at the YingHua International School in Princeton hosted by Kristin Epstein ‘97. The YingHua School is a preschool through 4th grade Chinese-English bilingual school, offering full Chinese Immersion from preschool until Kindergarten and then gradually incorporating English language curriculum into the later years.

Upon entering the school, I saw that it was nothing like what I had imagined. In fact, I had never seen a school like this before. The school is a relatively new one and currently shares a building with a church. Having gone to public school my whole life, a tiny private school is very unfamiliar to me.

The other Princetern and I were given a tour of the school on our first day. We first entered a classroom dedicated to Chinese classes, which cover similar material to what students in the U.S. would study in English classes. Our host showed us the workbooks the students use to practice writing Chinese characters. These textbooks are not for learners of Chinese as a second language, but rather are aimed towards students whose native language is Chinese and are learning to read and write. After a little while, it would become clear to us that these children’s native language might as well be Chinese.

We next entered a classroom where students were learning math. While the math they were doing at times was understandable (math truly is a universal language!), the detailed explanations, the chattering of the students amongst themselves, the chidings of the teacher were all totally incomprehensible to me. But the children showed no signs of struggle. It was amazing to see the versatility of their Chinese ability; regardless of their native language or background, these children were truly fluent in Chinese. Our host noted that the textbooks for math were imported from China, so the students all learn according to the Chinese method, which apparently has a different approach from the one we are familiar with in the United States.

Spending time at the YingHua School has strongly reinforced my preexisting interest in and respect for bilingual education. For the first time, I saw with my own eyes the incredible effectiveness of bilingual education. Conversations with our host, who is an administrator, revealed a side to the YingHua School (and private schools in general) that was not apparent through our observations. I had never realized what struggles were involved in running a school. YingHua is still in development, which means that a lot of effort is focused on expansion. Through our participation in the Princeternship, we witnessed and experienced firsthand the difficulty of finding a new building to house the school, the hardships of making a school into an accredited institution (through joining programs like IB), and the effort involved in publicity and spreading information about the school. Although the challenges of the position were clear, each day at the Princeternship I found myself increasingly interested in the field of school administration. I am grateful to my host and the Princeternship program for giving us this special opportunity.

Princeternship stories: Mina Park ’17, Ganchi Plastic Surgery

This post was written by Mina Park after her Princeternship. 

Mina ParkFor my Princeternship, I was given an amazing opportunity to shadow Dr. Parham Ganchi ’87 at Ganchi Plastic Surgery in Wayne, NJ for two days. Before, I had thought that plastic surgery mainly correlated with doing cosmetic work on the face, but through this Princeternship I learned that plastic surgery was a much broader field and I am so glad I was fortunate enough to get some real experience, even if it was only for a short time period.

My two-day Princeternship was divided into either watching Dr. Ganchi perform surgeries or sitting in on check-ups/consultations. Patients came back for check ups on operations such as labiaplasty, breast augmentation, and rhinoplasty. Being able to see the different stages that patients were in for the healing process was also interesting to be exposed to. I was really amazed by how on top of everything Dr. Ganchi was and the care and attention he gave each patient. I got to look at his schedule for the day and it was super packed! Even though he was so busy, Dr. Ganchi never lost his smile and always brought out a happy atmosphere not only for the patients but also for the office workers as well.

ParkThe next day I was excited because I was able to look at surgeries up close. I got to observe Dr. Ganchi perform a breast implant removal, labiaplasty, and blepharoplasty. It was really interesting to see three procedures all in one day. For each one, Dr. Ganchi had very distinct procedures depending on what type of surgery he had to perform. I also got to speak to the anesthesiologist and ask him questions about what drugs he had to use for each patient to sedate him/her. At first, I thought that these surgeries would not take a long time because they sounded so simple. However, I soon realized that I was wrong because Dr. Ganchi was so meticulous with his utensils and artistically cut through the skin in such a way that the patient would not see a major scar after recovery. I am so fortunate to have been given this incredible opportunity and I am so glad I could see these operations up close.

This Princeternship gave me such a wonderful opportunity, where I got observe surgeries related to cosmetics. This experience has helped me narrow down what type of doctor I might want to become in the future, and I thank Dr. Ganchi and his amazing staff for their warm hospitality!