A Postcard From: Connie Lam ’18

Name: Connie Lam
Class Year: 2018
Major: Biochemistry
Hometown: Malden, Mass.

Internship Placement: Boston University Medical Campus Ophthalmology Department
Job Title: Undergraduate Researcher
Location: Boston, Mass.

What’s happening at your internship? 

I currently intern at BU Medical in the ophthalmology department under a professor whose focus area is in glaucoma. The project that I am working on is a 3D reconstruction project, meaning that thousands of pictures are taken of each section of the eye and in each of the slides, I trace cells and giant vacuoles and mark pores in order to better understand how glaucoma exists through piecing together each of the slides together to create a 3D image.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because optometry was something that I was thinking about going into for a couple years now and this would be a way for me to learn more about the eyes and see if this is something that I could see myself doing in the future. I chose this specific professor because I knew that glaucoma was a specific eye disease that I wanted to focus on as my grandmother has glaucoma, and that was what had initially got me interested in optometry.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced at your internship?

The biggest challenge that I’ve faced in this internship is that coming in, I wanted to do something involving wet lab research but was told that I would not be able to due to the fact that 10 weeks would not be enough time to master the skill and have a meaningful project that I could start and finish. After talking to the PI of the lab, I was given a project that although does not have a wet lab component, is something that I understand the meaning of and see the big picture of, which in the end was what caught my attention and got me interested and invested in the project.

Was this internship what you expected it to be?

So far, this isn’t the internship that I expected it to be since I had come into this thinking that I would be learning more on the wet lab research aspect of ophthalmology, but I actually really like where I am now. Even though I’m not doing wet lab, the things that I’m doing, even if it may get repetitive and boring at times, I understand why I need to do it and being able to see the big picture keeps me going. I feel like not doing wet lab has made me read more papers about what it is that I’m doing and allows me to learn more about the structure and problems of the eye more.