Research co-op student life at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) is anything but a "typical" research co-op or internship experience. CIRP's co-op students become important participants in their research activities and see projects through from beginning to end as often as possible. As part of CIRP research co-op student life, they are also encouraged to attend meetings, training, and presentations to become fully immersed in CIRP and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
Lindsey Zajac, spent the summer of at CIRP working with the Post-injury Care and Recovery (PICAR) research team. Here is what she has to say CIRP research co-op student life: "My time at CIRP@CHOP was an invaluable learning experience, as it exposed me to the rewards of conducting behavioral research for a pediatric population.Unlike other internship experiences of my fellow students at Buckness University, my CIRP@CHOP training was unique because I was introduced to clinical, innovative, and multidisciplinary research and given the opportunity to make significant contributions to multiple projects."
Todd Hullfish, a Mechanical Engineering and Biomechanics student from Drexel University, participated in CIRP's Finite Element Modeling (FEM) project. Here is what he has to say about CIRP research co-op student life: "The CIRP experience has helped me want to focus on the human component of engineering more than the product development side and that I want to continue to explore the infinite possibilities of FEM."
Read students' blog posts to learn more about their CIRP@CHOP training experience:
- Learning to Cure Chronic Tunnel Vision - Megan E. Fitzgerald, Penn State University
- Leaving College with a Career Plan - Lindsay Zajac, Bucknell University
- Contributing to the Digital Health Revolution - Darshan Donthi, Drexel University
- Use of Analytics Essential to Web-based Outreach - Tyler Chance, Drexel University
- The Infinite Possibilites of Finite Element Modeling - Todd Hullfish, Drexel University
CIRP Student Spotlight
I came to CIRP as a part of Drexel University’s Co-op Program to work with Dr. Helen Loeb in the Simulated Driving Assessment (SDA) group. My co-op at CIRP was my first opportunity to work in a professional setting, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the members of CIRP were not only very experienced and dedicated to their work, but also very welcoming and helpful to students such as myself. The members of the SDA group in particular are passionate about helping people drive safer, namely teenagers and young adults, and they accomplish this through the use of the CIRP driving simulator and projects associated with it.
The primary focus of my co-op was to work toward creating a new version of the LiveMetrics project. The goal of this project was to use the data gathered from the CIRP driving simulator to identify instances of errors over the course of the simulation. This was formatted into a report which the driver can then review and use to improve their safe driving practices or bring to a driving instructor to seek aid with any issues. This project was largely worked on in Matlab, a programming language that I had limited knowledge on when starting my co-op.
Through working with Dr. Loeb, investigating the functionality of the previous version of Livemetrics, and working with previous co-op students and other group members, I have learned a great deal about many things. I worked in Matlab on many tasks, varying from video generation and report formatting to managing large datasets and displaying results of analyses graphically. The nature of my work also had an unexpected impact on me. Having started driving within the past five years, I felt my work and the work of the SDA group was relevant to myself and those my age, and because of this I learned a great deal about safe driving practices from my co-op. Another area which I was able to improve upon was presentation design and public speaking. Since I have struggled with public speaking in the past, it was very constructive to be able to present to members of the SDA group and to CIRP as a whole about my co-op.
Unfortunately my co-op at CIRP was short since I left the United States in July for a study abroad in Australia. Despite the short duration of my time at CIRP, I have learned more than I ever thought possible. The most unique thing about CIRP that I found is that they allow students to play integral roles in meaningful projects. This is something that many students are not lucky enough to experience on their co-ops or internships. I am also glad to say that I will be continuing to work on the LiveMetrics project even though my co-op is finished. Even now I can continue to learn and make contributions to something meaningful because of this opportunity. Overall, my co-op at CIRP has allowed me to make professional connections with great people, while also developing a set of skills which I can apply to a huge range of tasks, whether in school or the workplace. For that and more I am truly grateful.