Name James Moran
Major Psychology, Evolution and Behavior (Individualized Major)
Year Senior (Class of 2015)
Where did you do your internship? My internship took place in Barro Colorado Island, Panama at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
Time period for the internship / Number of hours? I left the United States on June 1st, 2014 and did not arrive back until August 4th 2014. I worked seven days a week, which was about 60 hours a week.
Responsibilities/Duties as an intern I interned for the Experimental Ecology Lab of Ulm University. We studied the variation of diseases in different bat habitats. As an intern my responsibilities were to manage the capture nets and bags we used to catch the bats, enter data, fill vials with different solutions we used to preserve the bat viruses, organization of bat viruses, and properly handle the bats.
Positives/Negatives The entire trip was a positive. Living in the rainforest you get bit, and stung by almost everything. Although I would be in pain it made me a stronger person. I loved learning new languages and customs from people all over the world, I loved how green the area was and how happy the Panamanians were. My only con would be that there was not enough washers or dryers to do your laundry, and on days I would get to sleep in, the howler monkeys would wake you up at five in the morning.
Skills you have developed. I learned more about ecology and evolution than I would in any classroom. I developed better interpersonal skills, because the island that we lived on housed people from all over the world from the USA, Germany, Croatia, Thailand, and Brazil, to name a few. I understand and respect different cultures. I developed new skills in laborites and dealing with living mammals.
Describe the environment. The environment on the island consisted of 80 individuals, all with their own lab from all around the world. We ate together and lived in dorms together. It was humid and rained constantly because we were in the rainforest, it was amazing.
How has your internship changed you? I now appreciate all living things and our environment so much more. I understand that studying organisms like bees, bats, and flies are truly important because studying the little things in our world allows us to understand how the world functions as a whole.
What steps did you take in seeking out this internship? I began researching the program, then I moved onto researching the multiple individuals who I could eventually work with. I read as much as possible on the country of Panama, and the numerous publications done on the species I wanted to study. I then made a pros and cons list. As silly as it sounds making this list puts your options right in front of you, and visually looking at this list allows you to put your life into perspective. I then contacted Career Services, to get started with the application process.
Did Career Services help you search for or secure your internship? So much. Betty Rozelle, helped me write my personal statement, my cover letter, my CV and gave me the confidence to apply. Although I am not a biology major, I decided to apply and at sometimes I felt discouraged and thought I would not get this internship however, Betty pushed me to do this and really got me to believe in myself!
Any recommendations for students looking to start the internship process. Go directly to Career Services! The counselors are more than helpful. I would also advise students who are interested in interning to research the position and the individuals you will be interning for, so much you get bored of it. The more you read about the environment, the individuals, and the past interns the more likely you are to be chosen. Truly understanding your desired position and allowing other people to know of your knowledge will make you one step ahead of the game.