Last month, Foundation Medicine’s 2022 summer interns gathered in their respective locations including Research Triangle Park, N.C., Cambridge, Mass., Boston’s Seaport, and San Diego, to create cards of support for cancer patients as part of the Interns Give Back event. Remote interns were also involved and received a packet of supplies so they could participate.
This was the first in-person intern event since the COVID-19 pandemic, and it was an amazing time. Not only were we able to support the mission of Foundation Medicine, but we were able to meet fellow interns from across the company. As a returning intern who worked remotely last year, I was excited to finally be able to interact with other interns in person. It was also a welcome chance to reflect on the work we are doing here this summer.
I spoke to some of my fellow interns from various departments about their experiences both at the event, and at Foundation Medicine. It was yet another chance to connect with them and to take a step back to realize that even though we may not be working on the same projects, we’re all passionate about making a difference.
Caitlin, Translational Oncology and Clinical Reporting Intern
Caitlin is based in our Cambridge location and works with the Translational Oncology and Clinical Reporting (TOCR) team, focusing on the information in our Foundation Medicine reports. With her passion for genomics, this internship aligns perfectly with her academic background and her desire to have a career that gives back.
While making cards, she loved getting to interact with other interns. In her previous experiences, interns weren’t always as integrated or involved in the company as they are at Foundation Medicine.
This summer has taught her that you don’t necessarily have to work in a patient-facing career to have an impact on them. What keeps her excited and motivated is seeing the advancements in genomics over the last 20 years, and how much more we could know 20 years from now.
Nikolay, Decision Sciences Intern
Nikolay is interning with Foundation Medicine for the third time this summer. His desire to help make the world a better place has led him to pursue a PhD in Applied Mathematics. He hopes that his education and experiences will allow him to offer all that he can to the world.
To him, if you can do something to make someone’s life better, even marginally, you should do it. Decorating these cards was a way for him to show support to people who are facing hardship. It may seem like a small thing, but there’s a ripple effect.
What keeps him coming back to Foundation Medicine is the chance to do something that could have an impact on patient lives. “Everyone is understanding of the fact that we’re all contributing to the common purpose of helping patients,” he said.
Victoria, Legal Associate Intern
Working with the Legal and Compliance department, Victoria supports the team with researching policies and laws that affect our work. Her role includes staying up to date with the impact of local and federal legislation on Foundation Medicine’s products and services.
The Interns Give Back event was a reminder for Victoria that the simplest and smallest actions make a huge impact. It was a chance to reflect on the unique opportunity she’s been given and how lucky she is. Making these cards was her way of paying that good fortune forward.
For Victoria, working alongside passionate people at a place that encourages new ideas and voices has been a privilege this summer. “I think it’s important to be a part of a company that not only wants to teach interns the ins and outs of their corporate structure, but also finds extreme value in exposing interns to the true purpose of the work – and that is to be a valuable resource for patients,” she said.
Jack, Lab Operations Intern
For Jack, being able to work in a lab and shadow the team that is at the center of what Foundation Medicine does is extremely gratifying. He enjoys working alongside his fellow interns, in what he describes as an engaging shared learning experience. He has gotten the chance to learn the basics of sample processing, reminding him of the importance of our work.
From Jack’s perspective, to give back means to take part in bolstering the community you’re trying to help, no matter how small or large the action may be. He finds it important to offer his support and recognize that no one is alone. In whatever role you play, it’s important to stay involved.
One thing he’s learned in the last few weeks is that though he’s at the center of Foundation Medicine’s work, every single aspect and department across the company is essential. Everyone brings their own strengths and works together to contribute toward our mission.
Owen, Financial Planning and Analysis Intern
The opportunity to align personal and professional goals with a company that is making an impact in cancer care is what attracted Owen to Foundation Medicine. Working on the corporate side of the organization, Owen has been able to learn and contribute to the business despite not having a traditional science background.
Something as simple as making cards is a powerful thing. It reminds him of what he’s working for every day. Even if his work doesn’t directly impact cancer patients, his knowledge and skills indirectly contribute positively to our mission. Making cards was another way of offering support in a different manner.
For Owen, it all comes back to having a common purpose. It was one of the main reasons he wanted to get involved with work at Foundation Medicine. Now in the midst of his internship, he feels the close-knit community among the employees every day. With the welcoming culture and his personal connection to cancer, he’s grateful to be here.
Having done a lot of writing in my life, both personally and professionally, my favorite part has always been writing about the experiences of others. Getting to connect with fellow interns from different and similar walks of life has been an immense joy. After my questions were answered, it was so natural to slip into conversation about life outside of work.
I think it’s important to step back and recalibrate from time to time. It’s grounding to get fresh perspectives from fellow interns, mixed with the expertise of my supervisors and colleagues. Talking to other interns and connecting over the underlying feeling that we all want to make a difference was powerful and left me hopeful for our generation as we enter the workforce.
If I’ve learned anything from my time as a returning intern at Foundation Medicine, it’s that no matter what job I have in the future, it has to be meaningful. I will miss a lot of things about my time here, but working alongside people who are kind, intelligent and passionate will be what I miss the most. As I enter my last year at Boston University this fall, I am grateful to have had such a positive experience at a company that took a chance on me and values the diverse ideas interns bring.