December 2022

Name: Ashlynn Cobb

Major and University: Russian & International Studies at Juniata College; Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Studies at Goucher College

Internship Title: Research Intern @CurieDx

Career Goal: I’m making a career change into medicine and plan to become a physician. Through this internship, I’ve been able to gain skills in patient interaction and learn more about medical research. This will be instrumental to my future career as a physician so that I can provide excellent patient care and engage in my own research!

1. What is the culture like at your internship site? 

We’re a small team consisting of the study’s principal investigator, the engineering team that’s developing our AI, and a few other interns. Pace varies day-to-day, since it depends on how many patients come to the clinical site that qualify for our project. Most days, I recruit a few patients over the course of a shift. But there are also days when things are much quieter, as well as days where I’m constantly on my feet speaking with patients, nurses, and healthcare providers. Because most of my work is done at a clinical site, you can usually catch me in scrubs!

2. Who are the clients that you work with?

We’re working to develop an app that patients can use to screen themselves for strep throat from their own home. Since we’re currently training our algorithm, we’re mostly working with patients who suspect they may have strep. Once the project is finished, we hope to work with telehealth providers so that they have another diagnostic tool to better serve their patients, as well as patients who prefer to use telehealth and may not have access to an in-person clinic, either due to geographic restrictions, financial barriers, or even a preference to stay at home.

3. Are you working on any exciting projects that you want to share? Have you learned any exciting new skills that were unexpected?

Working with patients has been amazing, and I’ve really grown to appreciate how much of a difference “customer service” can make for patients. Especially when they’ve been in the emergency room for many hours, offering to fetch them a blanket or cup of coffee can make a massive difference in improving their day. This year, I’m working with our startup CurieDx through MTIP, as well as directly with Johns Hopkins, which is where our startup originated, although my projects are different at each place. On the CurieDx side, I’m really excited that we’re looking to collaborate with more clinical sites, which means I’ll be able to work and engage with an even broader patient population. On the Hopkins side, I’m excited to be joining a new project using similar AI technology to predict when a patient might go into cardiac arrest (aka. “flatline,” or when their heart stops). Both projects are so fascinating and innovative, and I’m thrilled to be contributing to them.

4. How did you prepare for the interview? Can you share any tips for your fellow students?

In addition to my internship, I’m also applying to medical school this year, so I’ve gotten so much practice in interviewing. My biggest piece of advice is to relax and approach it as a conversation! It’s easier said than done, but it makes an enormous difference. Your interviewer is looking to learn more about you, and there’s no better expert on you than yourself! Take time to review your application beforehand, and do some research on the company. Also write out a few questions, especially about things that aren’t easily Google’d or found on their site. I really like to frame my questions too: it’s usually the last part of your interview, so it can be a great opportunity to show exactly why you’re interested in knowing more about something, tie in how your skills/experiences relate to what the company is doing, and end things with a really great take-home message about yourself!

5. How did you find your internship position? Did you use a career center for help with your resume?

I came onto the startup side of our project after volunteering for it at Johns Hopkins last year. I found the volunteer opportunity through an advisor at my premed program at Goucher. Career centers and advisors have been amazingly helpful for me over the years, and I really recommend taking advantage of their expertise. Some of the great tips I’ve gotten include: Use a great template for your resume (studies show you only have a few seconds to make an impression!), take advantage of great “power words” when writing about your experiences, and keep things consistent throughout (ie. if you say Dec 2019 in one place, avoid writing Dec ’19 in another). I also use the exact same header for both my resume and cover letters, which helps give my entire application a very polished and professional look.

6. Please share any other tips or advice. 

Especially because our team is so small, there are so many opportunities to collaborate with our principal investigator, Dr. Therese Canares, and make contributions to the project. Dr. Canares is always so interested in hearing our ideas and approaches on new initiatives and challenges. It’s a really great feeling to know that my perspective is being incorporated into such an amazing project. We also get the opportunity to shadow her when she has shifts in Hopkins’ emergency room, which is so cool because she’s always very excited to show us interesting medical cases that come in and takes the time to explain exactly why a patient isn’t feeling well.