Sarah Ling ’24

National University of Ireland, CÚRAM, Ireland

CÚRAM is a part of the National University of Ireland, Galway, and focuses on developing innovative devices for biomedical purposes. Ireland is an up-and-coming center for biomedical technologies, and the University plays a pivotal role in Ireland’s growing reputation as a biotech hub.

The first couple of weeks, my internship was based on getting a feel around the lab and the projects each Ph.D. candidate was working on. I had mini interviews with each one, which I found helpful because I have no biology background and I struggled to understand the projects. This was a humbling experience but pivotal for developing my workplace confidence to ask questions when I do not understand what is being said.

Sarah Ling poses with a snake.In attending board meetings, I realized that communications/easy visuals are essential for explaining devices to the public and to business professionals. I went to a film festival that showed a short film produced by CÚRAM that detailed their hopes for redefining cancer treatment. CÚRAM invests money into scientific animation in hopes of conveying their work to the community. Once I learned this, I decided that I would like to create a short animation for my art project. This was a learning experience, for I have never done a lengthy animation before, and I had no prior experience or support in this process. My animation focused on Rahul Bhatti’s research, which uses a hydrogel and other components to promote tissue regeneration after a heart attack. The heart and the procedure’s nature lends itself to a striking animation.

In addition to my main project, I helped out the communications team, making slide decks, invitations, a kids’ science activity book and other graphics when needed. I shadowed Maciek Doczyk, who is a professional graphic designer for scientists, and created a couple cover pages for science journals. I also followed Claire Riordan, my supervisor, through her role of communications director and accompanied her to the film festival at which her CÚRAM film was nominated to be shown. I also went to the Galway Atlantaquaria in hopes of providing feedback and ideas for CÚRAM’s marine meets medtech exhibit.

Most importantly, I helped organize and run a children’s weeklong program that encourages inquisitive minds and learning about science. The 30 children participating in this program were from Ireland and from Direct Provision—Ireland’s temporary housing for immigrants waiting on legal papers. We visited a zoology museum, a geology museum, did kitchen chemistry, extracted DNA from bananas, and more. I was glad to spread curiosity and joy to Ireland’s next generation.

Thank you to Dr. Jimmy Shern and Ms. Florence Lee for making this monumental experience possible. Thank you to the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for managing the whole ASIP process smoothly and making the Williams dream a reality.