Intern Diaries – Canice Ahearn ’13
Name: Canice Ahearn
Major: Biological Chemistry
Hometown: Marshfield, MA
This summer, Canice worked as a research and development intern at Ophthalmic Research Associates, Inc., located in Andover, MA. Ora, Inc. is a Clinical Research Organization focusing on ophthalmic diseases and conditions. They work for pharmaceutical companies to obtain FDA approval for ophthalmic therapies. Ora also works to create new and innovative ways to obtain information about ocular diseases through engineering imagining technology and designing new ways to test ocular discomfort.
Canice’s internship was paid and housing was provided by Ora, Inc. She lived in an apartment with the other intern working at Ora for the summer close to the office.
Most days, Canice was in the office working with bio-medical engineers in her department designing new ways to obtain information about the eye by creating imaging technology and designing ways to use electrodes to measure blink rates. She also worked to prepare for clinical trials by collaborating with the IRB to approve protocols, preparing documents for the clinics, and writing literature reviews for the research and development department.
Canice was also assigned to calculate the protein concentration of Der p 1, the allergen that creates an allergic response to dust mites. She did this by first reviewing the literature and then spending a few weeks in a laboratory running ELISA assays. Canice explains that she was trained as both a clinical technician, focusing on visual acuity exams and tear collection, and as a doctor’s technician during clinical trials.
Overall, Canice felt important to the company because she was responsible for obtaining valuable information for Ora through the laboratory research and findings. Ora hired the senior because of her background in biochemistry. Her supervisor even came to her with questions about biological activities in the eye.
Looking back, Canice reflects that she really enjoyed her summer at Ora, Inc., and she could see herself coming back to work there after graduation. The majority of Ora employees are recent college graduates and she explained that “the office atmosphere was great.” Canice was even a member on the office volleyball team which played other company teams in the area.
Canice found her internship through the Ladd Program with the BCDC. The job gave her a better idea of what she wants to do after graduation. Canice is confident that she wants to work in the clinical research field for a few years before applying to nurse practitioner school.
Her recommendations for anyone looking for a 2013 internship is “to be open to any and all opportunities. I thought that I wanted to be strictly in a laboratory when I first started my internship search and I am extremely glad that I came across the internship at Ora.”