Franks '19 Reflects on Marine Biological Laboratory Internship
Franks '19 Reflects on Marine Biological Laboratory Internship

During the 2019 Senior Internship period, Isabel Franks '19 traveled to the University of Chicago's Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Mass. Franks was among the first high school students in the nation to work with MBL when the School's Intensive class took part in, and helped shape, the MBL secondary school program. Here Franks reflects on her experiences.

When I think about the purpose of our Senior Internships I think of three key things. First, to try new things. Secondly, to try and find something you enjoy doing. Lastly, it should be an opportunity for you to make your own connections. Of those three things I can confidently and happily say I did all three.

In December, I went to the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts with my Intensive where we got to do DNA sequencing, study the camouflage of cephalopods, learn about microbiology, Xenopus frogs, and so much more. Although I found all of the science incredibly fascinating, I also got interested in administration within the science world. With the help of Mrs. Beardsley, Dr. Jones, Mr. Q, the entire board of administration, my parents, and Alison Crawford, the chief of staff at MBL, I was given the opportunity to return to MBL.

I interned with Alison for one week. While at MBL I sat in on many meetings with people like Nipam Patel, the director of MBL, Gina Hebert, the director of communications, Sebastien Laye, the chief advancement officer, Paul Speer, the COO, and so many more incredible humans. Aside from being in meetings other things I got to do were learn about different roles within the administration and better see how MBL works.

One project I worked on throughout the entire week was the secondary school program. This is the same program that St. Anne's-Belfield School was not only a part of during Intensives, but also the first high school to actually take part in! Having to schedule dates, plan what to do while the schools are at MBL, and making sure all of the tools (ex. microscopes and labs) are ready and available during those times were just some of the jobs within planning the secondary school program.

What I love about administration in the science world is how I get to learn and do so many cool things every day. On Wednesday I went out on one of their boats to collect a type of seaweed that a scientist needed for research. On Friday I learned all about Axolotls, an amphibian capable of regenerating body parts like their, arms, brain, and heart.

Dana Mock Muñoz de Luna, senior administrator and Grass Fellowship coordinator, occasionally took me under her wing while I was at MBL. An example of a time I am incredibly thankful for her is when she let me join in on MBL's diversity meeting. She knows I am very big supporter in equality, so through this meeting I was able to see how a place like MBL implements and ensures equality and diversity.

All in all, this was a week I will always remember. I learned how to be a better leader, communicate more effectively, and that I am capable and ready for whatever is to come next in my life.


Photo courtesy of Isabel Franks '19, pictured with MBL Chief of Staff Alison Crawford.

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