Summer Internships Boost Experience

By Abby Wargo
Student Life Editor

Fall semester is officially underway, and some students are starting off strong after completing summer internships.

Junior Amanda Tran spent her summer as a research intern at Vanderbilt University’s Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. She worked in the lab for early drug development on some days, and on others, she studied pancreatic cancer in a biology lab. A few times she was able to go on rounds in the cardiac center.

The internship helped her re-evaluate her career path. After completing her internship, she switched her major.

“Since middle school I’ve been focused on the pharmacy track; working with a pathologist this summer and doing cancer research really made me realize that I want to go into pre-med. I’m so thankful for this experience for that reason.”

Her time at Vanderbilt increased her interest in becoming a physician, and it helped her learn more about different paths within the medical field. She was even asked to return to Vanderbilt next summer as a paid intern.

“The whole summer I was really nervous about working in the lab, so being asked to come back really validated my feelings toward switching to pre-med,” she said.

In addition to gaining real world experience in her field, Tran figured out her strengths and weaknesses. Her time spent doing lab research made her realize the intensity of professional lab work.

“If you have a lab, you’re expected to discover something profound on a time limit, otherwise you’re booted. I am definitely not interested in going into research because of this.”

Jimmy Turley, junior, interned at the Eagle Animal Hospital in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania. He was able to apply because he had a connection with the veterinarian that owns the hospital.

A psychology major with a concentration in behavioral neuroscience, his interest in veterinary medicine benefitted his major. His daily tasks included filling medications, drawing vaccines and blood, cleaning up messes, and helping to send in lab work and assisting with surgeries.

During his time there, he met many animals, including a three-legged Great Pyrenees dog named Fiona. His standout moment was more melancholy.

“When a dog came in and was on its last legs, I had to provide it oxygen while the family came in and said bye one by one. Since it was such an emergency, they weren’t all there. When I was holding the dog and giving him oxygen, I realized that he was such a staple in their family, and that was [the end of] it for them,” Turley said.

According to the Assistant Dean Dr. Andrea Lange and the Registrar’s office report, the number of students completing summer internships has been increasing since 2012. Of the 311 students graduating in fall 2012 and spring 2013, 112 students, or 36 percent of the class, completed internships during their time at Washington College. For the fall 2016 and spring 2017 graduating term, 125 of 292 graduates completed internships, or 43 percent of the class.

For summer 2017, internships at dozens of different locations were reported. Summer is the most popular time to intern, and it is also the time when most financial help is given. WC awarded approximately $252,000 in funding support for internships, research, and job shadowing this summer.

Dr. Lange hopes that more students will apply for job shadowing programs as well as summer internships. For application details, students can visit

Turley’s advice for students seeking internship opportunities is, “The saying ‘money is power’ is a lie, because power is connections. I would say when applying for internships don’t be afraid to put yourself out there as much as possible, and, of course have some sort of prior experience.”

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