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Spotlight: Riley Suhar

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I completed my internship at the National Cardiovascular Center (NCVC) of Japan where I learned surgery techniques for a rat myocardial infarction model and trial tested an injectable hydrogel developed in the Heilshorn Lab.

I chose this internship because it merges two things I am very passionate about: Japanese language and translational research.

What I enjoyed most about this experience was being able to use Japanese language in my daily life and, even more so, being able to do so in a research setting where I was isolated from my traditional comforts of lab and expected to act completely independent in a way that a conventional internship may not require.

To do this, I had to rely not just on science to get by but linguistics both in and out of the lab. For me, challenges like this are thrilling and exciting as they give me the opportunity to practice conducting myself under  mentally, socially, and scientifically challenging environments that may otherwise not be approachable coming from one background alone: science or language study.

What I gained from doing this was a very strong sense of confidence in my ability to learn new surgical techniques at a rapid and intense pace as well as solidified that I want to be at the forefront of international research to continue walking line between science and culture.

The BTG program has helped me in that it provided a strong, goal-oriented impetus to pursue an internship like this as well as the financial freedom to take this kind of internship on.

My long-term plans are still not fully determined, but I am currently interested in pursuing post-doc positions abroad and am  looking into what opportunities are available that would let me to continue to develop this skill set that I have become some impassioned by.