Each year, a core of highly motivated Hamilton students can be found taking steps toward a career in healthcare. What are our pre-health students doing this summer? How did they land their internships, and what have they learned? And how does it all fit into what they envision for their futures?


Read on to learn about the impressive work of just a few of Hamilton’s pre-health students.

Internship Reflections

David Kim ’26
The New England Center for Children
Southborough, Mass.

At first glance, a nonprofit that supports children with autism might not seem to fall along the path toward dental school. But for David Kim ’26, the opportunity to intern at The New England Center for Children (NECC) has provided a meaningful experience that will advance his goals in healthcare. 

As a summer intern, Kim works with neurodivergent students, supporting them in a range of daily activities. The days begin in the morning, as Kim visits NECC students to help them get ready. At 10 a.m. they go to school, where Kim collects data on student progress through the afternoon. Other tasks include supporting students in after-school jobs and on the weekends. 

Kim is part of Hamilton’s Joan Hinde Stewart Career Development Program (JHS), which supports students with career counseling and guidance. He found out about the NECC position through JHS after expressing his desire to find an internship “that involved helping others,” he said. 

Not only has the NECC internship allowed Kim to fulfill that wish, but also has given him the opportunity to develop interpersonal skills imperative to his desired career as a dentist. “In the future, as a dentist, I will have many different types of patients,” he said. “I want to get more experience, so I can better help patients in the future.”

Currently, NECC is in the process of putting a dentist’s office in part of the school. While Kim will miss the completion of the office, he nonetheless reflected positively on his internship. “I think I’ve grown in terms of my responsibility,” he said. “The experience is definitely going to be worthwhile.”

Miriam Lerner ’24
Boston Children’s Hospital
Boston, Mass.
Art History and Environmental Studies major

As someone considering a career in pediatrics, Miriam Lerner ’24 is in just the right place. The rising senior is working as a research assistant at Boston Children’s Hospital, a renowned center of pediatric medicine.

At BCH, Lerner supports an endocrinologist with bariatric (obesity-related) surgeries. Her main responsibilities involve conducting experiments in the lab and checking in with her PI’s (principal investigator’s) patients. Overall, she said, her workdays entail “mostly shadowing, a little bit of talking to patients, and a lot of listening and watching.”

After reaching out to her PI directly and expressing interest in the position, Lerner interviewed and was offered the summer intern role. Bolstering her résumé, she said, was prior research experience. Last summer, she interned at the National Institute of Health’s Eye Institute, and at Hamilton, she has conducted research in the Biology Department. 

Though these experiences were not in pediatrics, they were helpful in developing common laboratory procedures and research methods, Lerner said. Among the most useful skills were techniques such as PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and electron microscopy, “where you learn how to look at super small things,” Lerner explained. 

While Lerner remains unsure about the exact direction her medical career will take, she trusts that her time at BCH will prove valuable across the board. “Learning how to interact with younger patients has been really interesting,” she said. “Seeing how to deal with big issues for people who are still growing up has been really insightful.”

Sarah John ’24
Yale Medical School
New Haven, Conn.
Neuroscience major

An internship at Yale Medical School has reinforced the path Sarah John ’24 hopes to take post-graduation. This summer, John is a research intern in a psychiatry lab, assisting a study that aims to identify “a diagnostic marker for borderline personality disorder,” she said. 

One marker the research has tested is electroencephalograms (EEGs), or recordings of electrical brain signals. John’s position entails recruiting participants for the study, analyzing data from previous related research, and assisting with the procedures of MRI scans. The process of screening patients can be lengthy, she said, as they must ensure that participants suffer from the mental afflictions being studied.

John found out about this internship through Associate Professor of Psychology Siobhan Robinson, after which she reached out to the doctor in charge of the lab. “I spoke with Dr. Fineberg directly, interviewed with her, and sent her my cover letter and résumé,” John said. “From there, she accepted me.”

Aside from her coursework and lab research, John also gained relevant experience as an EMT on campus. “There are times when you get called to certain patients who are in a lot of distress in that moment,” she said. “What’s hard is trying to be helpful to them without making their stress even worse.”

After leaving Hamilton, John hopes to do clinical research in either psychiatry or neurology. Her role at Yale has exposed her to more patient-centered research, in contrast to some of the lab work she has done in the past. “I’ve never really had the opportunity to speak to patients,” she said. “Gaining interpersonal and communications skills is the best part of this job.”

Drea Hacker ’26
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital
Buffalo, N.Y. and Williamsville, N.Y.

Most students take up only one job for the summer. Drea Hacker ’26 found a way to do two after adding a hospital volunteer position to her intern duties at Buffalo’s Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. 

On Mondays and Thursdays, Hacker is on the research side of things at Roswell, helping with a study about the effects of exercise on recovery for breast cancer survivors. “That includes going through relevant articles, creating data tables, and meeting weekly to discuss the status of everything,” she said. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, she shadows a breast cancer oncologist in Roswell’s clinic, where she learns about patient interactions. “The internship is really cool, because it combines the research side of oncology with the more clinical, patient-focused side,” she said. 

But that’s not all — Hacker also volunteers at nearby Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital. “That’s where I can actually interact with patients and use the skills I learned while shadowing,” she said. Though she is not involved with medical procedures, Hacker can “get patients water or blankets, or grab something out of reach, those little things,” she said. “So, I can still get some patient interaction without having any sort of technical license or certification.”

Though she has certainly gained meaningful scientific knowledge this summer, Hacker has also developed an improved understanding of medicine’s human aspects. “Being in the room when people are talking about such serious things … I guess I underestimated how it can emotionally impact patients and doctors,” she said. 

Going into her second year at Hamilton, Hacker plans to continue exploring different areas of medicine. “Interning and shadowing are how I’ll figure out what I want to do,” she said. “But medical school is definitely the plan.”

Alexi Vaillancourt ’24
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston, Mass.
Public Policy major

One would probably expect to see STEM majors doing clinical research internships. But for public policy student Alexi Vaillancourt ’24, one such role — at Brigham and Women’s Hospital — is only reinforcing her pre-med trajectory. 

This summer, Vaillancourt is assisting a researcher studying the social determinants of health in the hospital clinic, she said. “We are assessing the main areas of social need, so we can implement some sort of programming to address them.”

Though the position is primarily research-oriented, Vaillancourt has done some shadowing in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit and follow-up clinic, where healthcare workers monitor the progress of children with developmental issues. Aside from this, the internship includes weekly lectures from doctors, researchers, physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, and other providers who speak about their careers and responsibilities. 

Vaillancourt attributes landing her internship to networking, in addition to experiences shadowing and working as an EMT. Once she identified her desired program, she reached out to a director to set up an informational interview prior to submitting an application. “I think that really helped, because it showed my interest,” she reflected.

Spending the summer learning more about the practice of medicine has provided Vaillancourt with a better understanding of the field she hopes to enter. “The overall experience of being in a hospital is really helpful because it gives me a better idea of if I’d want to do it in the future,” she said. “I’ve been able to practice research skills, developing literature reviews, and organizing information — so that’s all been good.”

John Jing ’25
Ruijin Hospital
Shanghai, China

John Jing ’25 is advancing his medical aspirations at one of China’s most prestigious hospitals. Shanghai’s Ruijin Hospital is classified as a grade 3, class ” hospital, placing it in the uppermost echelon of the country’s medical system. 

Jing is spending the summer working under the director of the hospital’s orthopedic department. Alongside other interns, he observes surgeries, primarily on patients’ shoulders and arms. While Jing is able to assist with the steps before and after an operation, he is not yet allowed to help out during the process. “But sitting there and watching the surgery going on half a meter away is incredible,” he said. 

Since surgeries can be scheduled at several different points of the day, Jing said the internship occasionally requires late hours. Operation days typically begin at 7:30 a.m. and finish around 5 p.m.; sometimes they run into the evening, and “we have our dinner … and continue working until 8 or 9,” Jing said.

Though he is interested in orthopedics, Jing has not yet decided which specialty to pursue after graduating from Hamilton. He listed dermatology as another area to explore in the coming months and plans to stay busy at school between classwork and extracurriculars. “At Hamilton, I am probably going to find some volunteering jobs next year,” Jing said. “On weekends, I’d like to tutor at local high schools.”

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