Internship Company: Alzheimer's Association
Internship Title: Research Intern
Eric found his internship at the Alzheimer's Association through an Eastern faculty member. As a research intern, Eric is given independence to design a research study that is molded to fit not only the goals of the organization, but also his personal research interests. Eric explains that there has been a great need for Early Stage Alzheimer's research due to the high prevalence of persons waiting too long to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. He is designing, organizing, and implementing an educational program intended for caregivers and those diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease currently in its Early Stage. Scheduled to begin in March 2014, this is a four session program consisting of an educational component, followed by an hour of physical activity featuring Tai Chi. Eric's data analysis will feature before-and-after test methodology measuring factors such as life satisfaction, depressive symptoms, quality of life and knowledge of the disease, itself.
Eric has gained an extensive understanding of Alzheimer's disease, other dementias, and the ways in which the Alzheimer's Association works towards making a difference in the lives afflicted by the disease. Most importantly, Eric has learned how to apply his research interests to a real world problem. He has come to realize that developing a passion for one's line of work is among the strongest motivators in making a difference.
Eric's main research interest is successful aging in older adults. Specifically, he is interested in identifying cognitive, physical, and societal factors that contribute to a healthier lifestyle in elderly populations. With these interests, his career aspiration is to be a university professor, where he will have ample resources to continue his research. Working at the Alzheimer's Association has allowed Eric to gain the hands-on, real world experience needed to succeed in graduate school, and as a future educator/researcher in the field of successful aging.
Eric's advice to other students is to complete as many internships as possible. He believes internships are the greatest opportunities available to undergraduate students. Internships provide fundamental learning experience to see if a career path or interest is the right fit, and allow students to make a difference in the community at the same time. Eric says, "start early and make a habit of testing out anything you may be interested in. You never know what career could be waiting for you."
Story submitted by Francisco Bravo