Many students are thrilled to simply obtain an internship in their chosen field. Caitlin Clarkin not only achieved that goal, but interned at the first institution in the world to focus exclusively on cancer research—Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“Gregg Shutts, our physician assistant program director, coordinated an information session with Dr. Adam Kisailus, the internship program director at Roswell,” said Clarkin. “Dr. Kisailus spoke about the work being conducted at Roswell, internship opportunities, and the online application process. The idea of working at Roswell intrigued me and I applied.”
Clarkin noted that the entire hiring process was fairly difficult but prepared for the interview and hiring process by utilizing Daemen's Career Services Office.
“It was a pretty competitive application process that included essays and professional references,” said Clarkin. “I believe that my extracurricular experiences, including membership in both the Damen’s Honors Program and the Biology Honor Society, helped me get the position.”
Clarkin said that she hit the ground running while interning in the Neuro-Oncology Department.
“Early in my internship, I scrubbed in on brain and spinal cord surgeries, practiced my clinical skills, and made a lot of great friends in the summer program,” said Clarkin. “It amazes me how much I learned from my peers about genomics, pharmacology, and bioinformatics within the first two weeks.”
Working at Roswell, which conducts clinical cancer research, develops new cancer-fighting drugs, and provides advanced treatment for all forms of cancer, proved valuable for Clarkin.
“I gained laboratory and clinical experience that will absolutely aid me in future scientific and medical pursuits,” said Clarkin. “Spending time in the operating room and familiarizing myself with general hospital policies prepared me for my clinical rotations next year.”
In addition to hands-on experience, her internship included extensive research.
"I presented an overview of von-Hippel Lindau disease to the neuro-oncology department and received remarkably great feedback," said Clarkin.
She noted that the research included a lot of work outside of the clinic, but it was amazing to receive significant guidance from knowledgeable mentors.
Clarkin will graduate in 2018 and hopes to work in neurology or neurosurgery.
For information regarding internships and other career-related topics, call Career Services at 716-839-8334.