From Neuroscience to Tumblr

Eric Serres at CROET Poster Session with OHSU's Diane Elliott.

This summer I decided to put on hold my adventures and take an internship at OHSU. My name is Eric Serres, I attend Western Oregon University and I am working to get a major in psychology and a minor in biology. My main area of focus is neuroscience. So, when I applied for a summer research internship at CROET I was expecting traditional laboratory work. Instead I got chosen to help in Diane Rohlman’s lab working on the young worker project.

When I first started it wasn’t much of what I expected. It was an applied science project that was more community outreach then labwork.  The goal of this project was to help lower the incidences of young worker injuries by creating an online based training focusing on health safety and communication. I took this internship hoping to get a feel of what it is like to be a scientist; little did I know that this internship was going to force me to take upon multiple different roles and skill sets.

My first job was to create 10-minute training activities. These were particularly difficult for me. My schooling at WOU requires me to write complex papers about topics like the fusiform gyrus and how it relates to facial recognition. So writing instructions that are simple enough for a 14-year old to understand took a while to get used to.  Eventually I created a total of nine 10-minute training activities for young workers, and got pretty proficient at making them.  We then took these activities to all of the public pools in Portland where young workers completed the health and safety activities.

My second job was graphic designer. We decided on a brand to help give the young worker project growth and development – PUSH: Promoting U through Safety and Health. I quickly came up with a logo design but had to get my idea into a computer graphic. Not knowing much about graphic design, I eventually made the PUSH logo on the computer program paint.

PUSH Team: Diane Rohlman, Megan Parish, Hannah White and Eric Serres.

My third job was webpage design. I created a PUSH Tumblr, Facebook, and pintrest profile. These social networking sites became a multiplatform tool that we used to disseminate health and safety tips to young workers.

Another job I had was director, interviewer, videographer, writer and actor. The other interns and I were given the task of creating original social Media. I interviewed young workers at different interesting jobs including; organic farming, wildlife rehabilitation volunteer, and Italian chef.  Along with video interviews I created instructional videos, and public service announcements.  You can see the social media I created and more on the PUSH tumblr page.

I was also a statistician.  A survey was sent out during the beginning of the summer. When the results came in I was the first to crack open the results and begin a preliminary analysis.

All of these different jobs finally came to a peak when another CROET intern, Hannah, and I were asked to present our project for O[YES].  The next day I presented a poster about the project at the CROET summer intern poster session. At the poster session I received first place in the category of applied science.

Although this summer wasn’t exactly what I imagined, I got to challenge myself by doing jobs that were very different than what I am used to. I didn’t do a lot of lab work but it’s probably for the better; because the one thing I enjoyed most, about creating PUSH, was that every day was a new challenge. This summer was the experience of a lifetime. Working on this project taught me a lot about myself, mainly that I could do anything that I set my mind to, with a lot of hard work and with the right people around to help.  Thanks OHSU, CROET, and Dr. Rohlman for this opportunity that I will never forget.

Submitted by: Eric Serres