The Impact of a Summer Internship


Dana Keagy, Contributing Writer

Since my grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s last December, I have taken her to several doctor visits to help treat her condition. I got to experience first-hand how doctors diagnose and evaluate options to help improve my grandmother’s memory condition. This newfound life experience inspired me to apply for a summer internship where I could understand the pharmaceutical industry, specifically the clinical trial and drug development process, and learn about the work behind the scenes impacting so many lives. I spent 12 weeks this summer in the Global Pharmacovigilance (PV) Case Management department under my manager, Joanna Wilczyńska, at the pharmaceutical company Merck.


During my time at Merck, I had the unique opportunity to understand the advantages and quickly adapted to the complexities of a global business market while working with people from all over the world including China, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Poland. Collaborating with the global PV team, I was able to convert the current software application from R-Shiny to Python as my intern project. Gaining this experience has been a great insight into what a global market entails. To further express, acquiring this new knowledge from this experience can be transferrable to any area I plan to pursue.


This internship was an amazing experience where I was able to learn about the pharmaceutical development process. To illustrate, I worked with high-level programming languages and software platforms where I learned how to program in Python, Visual studio, and Microsoft Tools.  Networking across different departments has been valuable and another benefit of my internship. I learned about both the clinical and business process.


Upon my return to Bloomsburg this fall, I look forward to integrating what I have learned from my internship into the classroom setting, such as breaking the problem into smaller portions, collaborating effectively, and the importance of clear communication. I have gained a new interest in regulatory safety, cyber security, market access, and project management giving me a deeper understanding as I prepare myself to enter the corporate world.

I know my internship experience at Merck has allowed me to learn about the pharmaceutical industry, how global teams operate, and the various career opportunities I did not realize existed. My vision is clear, from my first day, I was inspired by Merck’s ‘patient first’ motto since I also share that value as well. Although it is unclear what the future holds for me and my career, I am excited to start and make my mark on the world just like Merck and this internship has done for me.