When I started in the forensic biology program at Embry-Riddle, I didn’t exactly know what direction I wanted to go in. Since the major is filled with many different paths including biology, chemistry and even law, I wanted to explore my options. To challenge myself, I looked for an internship involving chemistry because after taking 5 semesters of chemistry in the course of my undergraduate career, I felt like it would be beneficial for me to explore the field outside of the classroom.
After searching around, I was extremely lucky to have the opportunity to be an intern at Desert Tox LLC. This private drug testing laboratory was just what I was looking for.
My supervisor Mike was extremely open in allowing me to decide what I wanted to learn in this internship. With his help, we put together a list of objectives and before I knew it, my internship had started. I was able to observe drug sample collections, run validation studies and file reports, and see what it really took to run a successful lab.
I was very grateful for my chemistry background when coming into this internship. When I observed these tests and figured out how they worked, I was able to do further research on the exact mechanisms of detection that were being used and really understand not only what the machines were doing but what molecular mechanisms were at work. This was a really good feeling.
Student Madison Babione at her internship with Desert Tox, LLC.
This internship gave me a deeper understanding of not only chemistry but also one of the directions I could go in my career. It also helped me with my senior year biology classes because after learning what I did during my internship, it actually became extremely relevant in my senior year coursework. I am so grateful for the opportunity that I had to work there.
As an undergraduate student, finding internships in the medical field can be tough; most medical facilities are unable to grant undergraduate students an internship because they already have contracts with medical schools. Knowing this, I approached my biology professor, Dr. Eaton, to see if she had any creative ideas for an internship. I was pleased to hear that she had several and the one that popped out to me most was an internship at an animal hospital. Before I knew it, I was sitting in the office of the office manager at Prescott Animal Hospital discussing internship timelines and objectives.
My Embry-Riddle Forensic Biology internship at the Prescott Animal Hospital
The way we decided to design my internship experience was to start with simpler tasks and work my way up. This gave me ample opportunity to get to know the hospital and to really get the most out of my experience. I spent time in patient rooms, lab, radiology, dental, and finally worked my way up to the surgical suite.
Each area was exciting for me and I learned something new every day– whether it was something medical or about the equipment or myself or individual patients. Although I enjoyed each aspect of my internship, my favorite part was the surgical suite. Dr. Skinner was the surgeon I followed almost exclusively and he made the surgical experience exciting and loaded with information to learn. Dr. Skinner took the time to explain each task he performed whether it was which suture he used or the direction in which he cut the surgical site. I couldn’t be more thankful for the time I spent in surgery with Dr. Skinner; he was a wealth of information and experience. One of my favorite parts of surgery was that even when everything was planned and carefully thought out, if the body (after being opened up) showed that it required a different plan of action Dr. Skinner and his colleagues were able to assess the situation and revise any techniques. This took constant vigilance and it was amazing to see the gears in the doctors’ head turning in order to figure out a solution.
After the summer of working at the animal hospital and confirming my love for surgical medicine, I was thankful for all the experiences ERAU gave me to prepare me for my time at the hospital. Because of the classes I took at Riddle, I was able to be a part of the conversation and understand the terminology being used. I am so grateful for all I learned and hope other students are able to experience something so wonderful as my time spent at Prescott Animal Hospital!