What It’s Like to Do an Internship at the Mass General Research Institute and Why It’s Amazing

Alienor Rice, Science Communications Intern

I’m an 11th-grader at the International School of Boston and for the past 5 days, I have been working as a communications intern in the Office of the Scientific Director at the Mass General Research Institute.

Here’s an overview of what I worked on and what I learned!

Day 1

To be honest, I felt a little nervous on the first day. I mean, who wouldn’t be? I was told some general information about the Research Institute and the incredible work that it does, and then I was given my first tasks: draft a post on the WordPress-based Research Institute blog about interesting science articles for their Weekend Links series, write a tweet for their Twitter Account and schedule it via Hootsuite, and finally edit a couple “Snapshots of Science” images through Canva.

I had never worked with any of these websites before, but Gloria Rosado (MGRI Communications Specialist) helped me figure everything out. Phew, one day down, four to go!

Day 2

On the second day I attended my first meetings! I started off with a short public affairs meeting, and then a longer marketing meeting. These were not boring as I expected — in fact, at one point we even started talking about which FitBit model is the best!

The rest of the day I wrote a blog post about the 5 best science websites for students and proofread other posts from September and October. By now, I was already feeling comfortable with WordPress.

I also noticed how relaxed the atmosphere in the office is — and yet how much work they’re able to get done.

Day 3

On the third day, Alison Hoffnagle (Program Director for the MGRI) gave me an incredible tour of MGH’s different buildings, including the super-famous Ether Dome! I also got to visit the sub-basement (which isn’t as scary as it sounds) and a rooftop garden.

In the afternoon, I was busy finding articles to replace old ones on a previously-designed “Science of You” infographic.

I felt a pang of regret when I realized I was already half-way through the internship, but I was also aware of how far I had come since the first day.

Everybody was so welcoming and kind, but they also challenged me so I could experience what it’s really like to work in science communications. Thank you!

Alienor Rice
Science Communications Intern

Day 4

I started my fourth morning by drafting two tweets, which I noticed went a lot faster than the first time.

Then Brian Burns (Integrated Marketing Manager for the MGRI) gave me a big project: recreate the whole “Science of You” infographic and add the new articles I had found the previous day!

I thought it was ambitious at first, but I realized that I could do anything if I really loved what I was working on.

Creating this infographic was one of my favorite activities, because I could play around with shapes and colors to see which would be more eye-catching.

Now I know that this is something I’d like to focus on professionally.

Day 5

Brian gave me a second very cool project to do on the 5th day: create another infographic to represent how the Research Institute works and its outcomes.

I basically started from scratch — I had all the information I needed, but it was up to me to do the designing!

This was challenging, but I was really happy with the way it turned out.

Closing Thoughts

Being an intern here at MGH has taught me so many things. Not only how to use a few websites and how to create blogs and infographics, but also what I’d like to do when I’m older.

Everybody was so welcoming and kind, but they also challenged me so I could experience what it’s really like to work in science communications. Thank you!

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