The Unknown

I’ve never exactly known what I want to do when I “grow up”. For a while I was pre-med, then I wanted to be a nurse practitioner, now I may want to go into research and study epidemiology. My interests are in constant fluctuation and although I may never know exactly what my ideal career goal is, this internship has helped me examine a career path I would have never explored.

Through this internship I have gained invaluable information regarding my genuine career and academic interests. Exposure to the research associated with the Boston University (BU) School of Medicine and the BU School of Public Health (BUSPH) has introduced me to a new career idea: the unknown. I am finding that instead of pinpointing one specific career goal, I am allowed to be open to opportunities that arise as I move forward. One such opportunity is the Aging Well Institute run through the BUSPH and my boss this summer. I will be interning for this cutting-edge, Internet of Things public health center in the fall. Usually completely techno-lost, I am thrilled to be exploring a new dimension of healthcare despite its deviance from clinical healthcare.

My internship at the Framingham Heart Study has drastically widened my career path. Formerly, I completely excluded research from my career interests, as I assumed it was tedious and boring.  I may not want to do research for the rest of my life, but I consider it a valid potential job in the near future. This subtle change in interest has completely shifted the way I am now thinking about my career goals. I still would like to work in a healthcare-affiliated field, but my options are now wide open. This has been perhaps the biggest learning moment for me this summer, as instead of precisely focusing on one career, I am open to exploring and trying new things.

Written by Hannah Bowlin, BC Class of 2018

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If I only had a Brain

The Framingham Heart Study (FHS) is a longitudinal health study started in the 1940’s. Its original goal was to track patients and measure risk factors relating to cardiovascular disease. A vast majority of the first cohort of study participants are deceased, but the legacy they leave in deciphering risk factors for heart disease lives on. The study has been so successful that it is now branching out to look at more aspects of health.

My team of 10 interns is in the process of going through hundreds of Generation 3 charts to identify and report patients that have had a traumatic brain injury. We compile the reports and enter them into BU’s database for further analysis by the top researchers. My Boston College education thus far has prepared me immensely for this experience. The intense biology laboratory courses have given me insight into the details of a research study and my background in liberal arts has helped me hone my attention to detail. Details are imperative in this study, as one mention of “concussion”, “head injury” or the like in the hundreds of pages of a chart lead to a traumatic brain injury report.

The medical humanities and french courses I have taken give me an edge in this world, as I am very comfortable analyzing literature and paying attention to minute details in large written works. In particular, my medical humanities courses have shown me the importance of holistic patient care and the significance of the small things. My work at FHS has the potential to improve the lives of hundreds of patients because an early diagnosis of dementia leads to early care and treatment. Additionally, FHS has the potential to create a connection between traumatic brain injuries and dementia, which could change the way we see concussions and lead to more protective protocol regarding brain health.

Written by Hannah Bowlin, BC Class of 2017