Welcome to a day in my life as an intern at Alzheimer’s society. I have documented a whole day in images and you can watch it below.
But first, a bit of background. I am a 3rd year PhD student in Maddy Parsons lab working on ‘trafficking and internalisation of cell membrane receptors in response to antibody-drug conjugates in 3 dimensional matrices’. Basically, I’m looking at how a new type of lung cancer drug works in artificial tissue environments compared to the traditional cell models. I love the research, as frustrating as it can be at times. However, I’m considering my options for when I finish in just over a year – EEK! I am leaning towards a career in either research or communications for a charity. I wanted to get some experience of these roles which led me to consider an internship.
I chose to contact Alzheimer’s Society as I have a keen interest in ageing and age related diseases. Thanks to my mum who is an aged care worker, my part time job while at university in Melbourne, Australia, wasn’t working in a bar, restaurant or clothes shop, but working in dementia wards. It was hard, but I loved it! I loved working with the residents. I developed strong relationships with many people I cared for, sometimes for several years. We laughed a lot! We worked hard for the people we cared about and had to say the ultimate goodbye to friends who were many decades older than me. I saw the harsh reality of living with Alzheimer’s up close. The impact it can have on the person, their families and friends, their carers and the other residents. It became increasingly clear how important a good care environment is for the quality of life of people with Alzheimer’s and the need for organisations like Alzheimer’s Society to continue to push for better research, better quality of care, better policy decisions and more funding for the issues affecting my friends and the thousands like them.
I am working two days per week which is great because it allows me to fit it around lab work. I have learnt A LOT in the 6 weeks that I have been there so far. I have been able to do a lot of writing. I’ve written lay summaries of grants, blogs (including this one), understanding the evidence pieces, and even a piece for the magazine. I have also been able to be involved in events, attending the ‘Is dementia inherited?’ event. The R&D team have been really welcoming, despite working crazily hard! Overall it has been a great experience professionally in gaining skills and experience, as well as on a personal level getting to see some of the great work that the Alzheimer’s society does on a day to day basis. I’m really looking forward to my last few weeks ….