Chaira Garbellotto’s Internship Experience

During the summer of the last year of my PhD (in computational imaging and microscopy development), I did a 3-week internship with Mizar Imaging, an American company which develops and sells advanced fluorescence microscopes.

During the summer, Mizar Imaging made some of its microscopes available to all the biologists participating to the summer courses offered by the MBL (Marine Biological Laboratory) in Woods Hole, a small village on the east coast south of Boston. The company advertised the need for interns, who would take care of the microscopes and help the students who wanted to use them during the courses.

Arranging the internship was quite easy, I applied via the company’s website towards the end of March, and they contacted me right after, we talked at the phone and defined the details of when I could go and for how long. The type of microscope they develop (a light-sheet microscope) is the same type of microscope I am working on for my PhD, so my skills and area of expertise matched well with what they were looking for in a summer intern.

My experience as an interns was amazing, I got to image and work with all sorts of different biological samples, learning a lot of cool things about marine creatures and how to handle and image them, and witnessed how biologists never stop asking and trying to answer new and exciting biological questions.

Working with biologist also helped me see more clearly the bigger picture around what we do in the field of microscope development, making me appreciate how much good science can be done thanks to the devices that people working in this field constantly try to improve.

Spending some time outside my lab and research group also worked for me as an energizer and source of motivation, which is helping me go through the last thesis-writing months of my PhD.

Grad school students are supposed to learn as much as possible during their PhD, and from my perspective doing an internship can enrich one’s knowledge, skills, and mind-set in a unique way, giving something completely different from what one can get from any training course or other experience, so I definitely recommend doing it! Last but not least: it looks good on your CV 😉

Chiara Garbellotto.