Every summer, interns flock to the NIH campus, eager for a chance to work side-by-side with professionals and experts in their fields. These enthusiastic college and high school students don’t come to take it easy, and they definitely don’t want only to make copies and fetch coffee. They want practical experience, exposure to real-world challenges, and the opportunity to make connections, both with other interns and with established professionals. In exchange, they bring fresh eyes and fresh perspectives on those challenges, and the energy and excitement to get things done.
It’s the classic win-win, and this past summer, the National Library of Medicine Specialized Information Services Division hit the winner’s jackpot with a handful of zealous interns ready to share their diverse skills and insights. NLM in Focus previously profiled those interns involved in developing animations and games. Now, we’re going to look briefly at a few more members of their internship cohort to see what they were up to this past summer.
Charles Herbert Flowers High School
Sam, now a freshman at the University of Maryland-College Park, handled a variety of projects this summer. He explored trends around the development of educational games and created both a video and a flyer to promote TOXinvaders, an iOS educational game app developed by the SIS K-12 team. He also promoted the K-12 program by writing engaging content for the program’s social media accounts. On the techy side, he developed a Java automatic program to read source data and convert it into a property list file (.plist) for later use as an iOS app data file.
Thomas Wootton High School
An avid computer programmer, Vivien helped develop the REST API to ChemSpell, a chemical name spellchecker. His work involved programming the JSON output of the API. He also wrote a program to convert XML files to UTF-8 encoding and wrote several programs to process chemical data. His internship at NLM helped fulfill the requirements for the Academy of Information Technology program he’s involved in through his school.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Carnegie Mellon University
John and Rachel spent their internship immersed in the virtual world of Second Life. They teamed up to develop a virtual-reality-based training focused on teaching hospital personnel how to manage patients with Ebola or other highly infectious diseases. The training included how to correctly put on and take off the Personal Protective Equipment so important to preventing the spread of disease to healthcare workers and staff. Given that these essential procedures are complex, a virtual-reality training gives hospital staff an easy but effective way to practice the process rigorously in advance of needing it.
Thomas Wootton High School
Brian applied his keen interest in cybersecurity to analyzing server logs that identify IP addresses blocked because of hostile behaviors. He wrote a program to visually capture and map that IP data, so that NLM staff could analyze it and take any necessary action. His programming skills also came in handy when he wrote a program to extract drug label data using the OpenFDA API. Like his classmate above, Brian’s internship helped fulfill the requirements for the Academy of Information Technology program he’s involved in at Wootton High.
Berman Hebrew Academy
Shayna’s summer days revolved around data visualization, digital communications and public engagement. She worked with the NLM Office of Communications and Public Liaison to clean up and organize data regarding the NLM tour program. She then created multiple tables and charts to help staff visualize that data in support of future decisions regarding the tour program. Within SIS, she worked with the NLM 4 Caregivers team, creating content for use in their Twitter and Pinterest accounts.
Internships and Fellowships at the National Library of Medicine
Play to Learn: NLM Interns Develop Animations, Games to Teach Science