Organizational Structure

I have finally started working remotely for Memorial Sloan Kettering, but the organization was definitely a tough transition. I am very grateful that MSK has been very patient and flexible. It has been tough on the scientists to figure out how we can do research at home, remotely, all while maintaining confidentiality for the patients. The interns will now be switching communication from email to Microsoft teams. We have weekly zoom meetings to discuss our progress on the data and to determine the next steps.

MSK has also tried very hard to have us interns have a moral “normal” residential experience by including us in on zoom meetings about the state of the COVID 19 pandemic in NYC. It is very interesting to have such intelligent, high up scientists in NYC zoom with us and answer questions regarding biostatistics. We have direct relations to the best of the best, which is super cool. Mitat Gonen, the Chief of Biostatistics, is our main supervisor. He is the one who holds weekly meetings with us. If we need to schedule anything with him, we must go through his assistant Samantha, who is very helpful. Thus far I have learned when to ask Dr. Gonen my questions, and when to ask assistants or my fellow peers. Dr. Gonen really wants to see how our brains recognize patterns in data and to learn how to use excel and R in data collection as opposed to completing minute tasks. He is very, very patient and had emphasized how meticulous you must be. He told us that part of our learning experience is knowing when to ask for help. He encourages us to figure things out on our own, but to never be nervous to ask for help. He does not want us to be stuck at a standstill or worry about bothering him because of how busy he is. Although he does want us to try to figure things out on our own. In the beginning we should not worry about the time it takes for us to complete a project, but more so figure out the thought process of what it takes to get there.

It has definitely been very interesting working in a remote environment. There is a lot of flexibility on my end of when and how I want to complete the project. MSK is a very large hospital with many, many people working in the sciences or as administration. I have already learned how vital it is to have a strong administrative team. Samantha, Dr. Gonen’s assistant, is on top of absolutely everything. She ensures everyone is on the same page, everyone has what they need to complete their work, and schedules every meeting. Without Samantha, the productivity and efficiency of this department would really struggle.

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