Learning the Lab Life

Dia Dobbs

My internship at the LabCorp Austell Patient Service Center was amazing! I got to dive into completely new experiences that will definitely be useful in my future career pursuit as a Physicians Assistant. I was grateful for the opportunity to be so hands on with the patients, specimen and understanding all aspects of what it takes to work in one of these offices. Furthermore I hope sharing my experience can help future students on deciding what internship is best for them.

One of the most valuable tools that I took away from LabCorp is understanding how to work with patients of all different backgrounds and cultures. I didn’t realize how important and necessary it would be for me to help patients with simple task, such as providing necessary identification, or informing them about the testing they were having done. Sometimes patients would come in frustrated at their employer or doctor for the test they had requested, so it was imperative that we remained calm and assured them that this would be a quick and easy process.

 Another thing that I learned to do from this internship was conduct different lab test. Of course, I wasn’t allowed to conducting them on my own but it was very cool being able to participate in the process. A few that I did quite frequently were drug screens, urinalysis, genetic molecular testing, and paternity testing. One of the coolest things that I did was the hair drug screen test where I was taught on a practice doll how to collect 200 hair strands from the patients head. I also had the pleasure of working with newborns to perform heel sticks test, which was quite exciting.

One of the most challenging parts of this internship was learning how to work the Touch system which is how all the specimen are tracked. This was something that I frequently needed assistance with, and it wasn’t uncommon for Patient Service Technicians to mess up on. Of course, I always double checked if I had questions because if specimen got lost or mixed up, then that could result in retesting, which is a hassle for the patients.

In addition to working in the lab, I also got the opportunity to ride around with the courier who picks up the labs at each office. This was interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes once your lab work leaves the lab. I was able to visit the Birmingham headquarters where the specimen are organized and tested. This facility had many departments with chemist and biologist who studied specimen in detail.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take photos in the lab due to it being a HIPPA violation; however, I did include pictures of what the office looked like and the rooms that the patients were serviced in. This internship was an incredible experience and I would most definitely recommend students to apply for this internship. I was very active at this facility and staff were extremely helpful in teaching me the in’s and out’s of the lab.

Spring Semester Presentations!

This May our senior Internship and Research Practicum students presented their amazing work to a panel of faculty and peers. From private companies to non-profits, our interns developed a range of skills in contemporary work places and put their anthropological knowledge to good use. Congratulations to those who scored a paying job as a result of their internship!

Our research students explored biological and cultural variation while testing basic and applied scientific questions. Congratulations to our seniors who have been accepted to graduate school programs in the fall! Check out our department Facebook page for all the updates: https://www.facebook.com/KSUGeoAnth

International Rescue Committee, Atlanta, GA

Sami Andreas

For my internship, I worked at the International Rescue Committee in the Northlake Parkway location. I worked as an Immigration Caseworker Intern; my roles varied, they ranged from dealing with administrative work, to processing LPR (Legal Permanent Residents) I-485 applications for refugees and N400 applications for LPR for Naturalizations. The job was challenging and it required me to learn immigration processes. I was tasked with learning all the different forms and how to use the organization’s database. Along with processing and interviewing clients, I was also tasked with interviewing clients, and translating documents. The most interesting part of doing this type of work is interviewing clients and helping them develop the most accurate application for citizenship status and LPR status. This part of the job was very personal to me because I also went through the process, except now I was on the other side of the desk, providing assistance to those hopeful applicants. Although the job required a lot of time, the satisfaction it brought me was unmatched. Because I know personally how hard and trying the process can be for a refugee, I was more than honored to be part of a team that allowed me to take part in the process.

The Immigration Department at IRC is mainly composed of interns, who are students from Emory, GATech, UGA, and GSA. The Department also has a handful of caseworkers and

legal representatives such as paralegals and lawyers. My typical day consisted of processing Biometric Notices, Receipt Notices, RFE (Request for Evidence) sent by USCIS, Approval Notices, and Oath Ceremonies. On some occasions, I was tasked with creating brochures for citizen workshops and also correspondence with the USCIS and DHS (Department of Homeland Security). The IRC works to provide services to clients and is tasked with vetting for clearance and eligibility. From my observations, most of the workers are immigrants who felt a great desire and sense of duty to clients. This is reflected by the amount of client transfers that the organization gets from other organizations. The employees, within their right, operate at full capacity at times working after hours to process late applicants, and fix problems. It was a real pleasure to work with the IRC, and I hope to continue working with them in the future.

Project Chimps, Morgantown, GA

Taylor Dockery

My internship at Project Chimps changed my entire perspective on what I could pursue with a career in anthropology. I am highly interested in biological anthropology and fully intend to obtain my Masters in biological anthropology, but when it came to choosing an internship, I wanted to step outside of my comfort zone and try something new. Fortunately for me, working as a chimpanzee caregiver at Project Chimps was the once in a lifetime internship that I was lucky enough to experience. As an intern, I was assigned to an experienced chimpanzee caregiver, who was my mentor and taught me everything I needed to know in terms of chimp behavior and safety. Each day, I would arrive at the sanctuary at 8 a.m. and the chimps would be waiting in the ‘villa’ (housing area for the chimps) for us to begin our daily routine of feeding them and cleaning their bedroom area and porches, which required extensive scrubbing daily.

Spending time with the chimps in the afternoon after the day’s final rush truly kept me on my toes because their interactions, from an anthropological perspective, are very similar to our human interactions. Meal time, in particular, allowed my interpretive mind to see the complex social interactions at play and understand chimpanzee social hierarchy. I began to see that some chimps never had their food stolen but other chimps, always had their food stolen because they were little.

Apart from beginning to understand the complexity of chimp social relationships and actions, I found myself beginning to see the characters of each chimp come through the more time I spent with them. Within three days of working at the sanctuary, I knew the names and faces of all 11 chimps that were housed in my ‘villa’. A couple of weeks in, I began to fall in love and truly know each chimp on a personal level. Before I knew it, I found myself remembering that this one absolutely loves peaches or that another one would soon steal my heart and always want me to blow bubbles for him (as can be seen in the photo). Ultimately, the internship required hard work, lots of sweat and dedication, but mostly it required love and the desire to make a change. Helping better the lives of these retired medical research chimpanzees was the first and foremost reason I chose the sanctuary as my internship, but the chimps ultimately ended up giving me so much more than I ever could have offered them. I truly do not believe I could have picked a more wonderful facility and group of people to intern with because they gave me more than I had ever expected. It took no time at all for me to realize that anthropology has so many more doors to open than I knew that it could, and I am excited for a lifetime of being able to pursue so many wonderful career paths thanks to anthropology. Who knows… the next time you see me I might just be the next Jane Goodall.

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, PA

Elizabeth Massucci

Interning at the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology taught me a skill set that will help me be successful in the future. The Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is primarily a research facility which means that they emphasize conserving and studying objects. I worked in the Archaeological Ceramic Digitization Program which aims to create a database of ceramic sherds found during excavation. We processed images of ceramic sherds found in archaeological books or scholarly articles using GIMP, GNU Image Manipulation Program. First, I cut the images of the sherds to scale, and then I made them greyscale instead of color, to reduce the file size. After manipulating the images, I looked through the articles and copied the text pertaining to the ceramic. In Microsoft Access I entered a code so that the text and the image appear in the main form of the database. Then, I typed the information about the ceramic into the actual database itself. I also worked on a side project from my internship coordinator to create maps of archaeological sites in Turkey using Google Earth Pro. I copied maps from a journal, overlaid the images onto the satellite image of the region, and then marked the location of archaeological sites.

Every Tuesday and Wednesday the internship program provided a tour and a class at the Museum. We toured the various Museum departments and usually went into the collection storage area. The collection storage area has many objects that have not been displayed for the general public; some like the Oceanic Section, don’t even have a public exhibit at all. The classes were led by the various keepers and curators of the Museum. They discuss various topics relating to museum work to how they got into their field. The tours and classes were very informative and gave me an idea what I may need to do to get a career in the museum field.

Funk Heritage Center, Waleska, GA

Lydia Wood

For my summer internship, I worked at the Funk Heritage Center in Waleska, Georgia. The Center is associated with and located on the campus of Reinhardt University. It showcases the early history of Northern Georgia, including southeast Native Americans and early Native American settlers.

Currently, the staff of the Funk Heritage Center are creating a new exhibit about the transformation of Cherokee culture during the 1800s before the Trail of Tears. For my internship, I researched content for this new exhibit using a combination of the internet, books, and old census records. It was an interesting experience. As a student, I had gotten used to using the internet, online databases, and online journals to find information. However, in my internship, some of the information I needed was too specific to Cherokee County to be easily found through these resources. Fortunately, a new director joined the Funk Heritage Center in July, and he had many useful books. I also used genealogy sites to find information of the descendants of early Cherokee County settlers.

My other duties beyond research included clerical work such as copying and shredding papers. I also shadowed a few tours for children and adults and conducted surveys on visitor experiences because my supervisor was interested in what people, especially children, thought of the Museum and how they had heard of the Museum. I learned quite a lot about how museums are run and how new exhibits are planned at the Funk Heritage Center. I hope that I will be able to use the skills I’ve learned there in the future.