My Year in Boston

S. Lockhart Photo IE 2-1-16

Published in the Irish Emigrant on February 1, 2016


I come from County Down and am a final year medical student in Queen’s University Belfast. I have a longstanding interest in diabetes and its complications. When I had the chance to undertake research training at the world renowned Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston I jumped at the opportunity. I came across the Irish International Immigrant Center as a potential J-1 Intern Work & Travel Visa sponsor and got in touch online. They were extremely helpful with the application process and were always at hand to answer any questions or concerns I had.

My internship offered me an opportunity to study how a hormone that is deficient in diabetes contributes to cardiovascular disease. I learnt a range of new techniques, how to formulate, and answer scientific questions and have been fortunate enough to present my work at international meetings. I also have benefited from the host of exceptional medical talent concentrated in Boston and have had the opportunity to attend a number of presentations by world leaders in the field. In addition, I have made contacts and established mentorships with senior investigators. I am hopeful that these relationships will evolve to establish collaborative study later in my career.

Nearing the completion of my internship, I began to apply for jobs that I could start following the completion of my medical degree in June. I applied to an academic foundation post and was invited to interview in December. There were greater than fifteen shortlisted candidates from the UK and Ireland all with strong academic credentials and competition was extremely tough. This month, I got the good news that I had secured my first choice post and will begin in March. I have no doubt that the training and experience I received during my internship here played a key role in ensuring my success. It has provided me with the basic skills and contacts that I need for a successful research career. I cannot thank the IIIC enough for their support and help in preparing my application and for the continuous guidance they provided during my time in Boston.

Boston is awash with Irish talent. The internship program run by IIIC has helped me as a student to draw on the talent in this city. I hope I can take back what I have learned, put it to use in Ireland and help us continue to lead the way in biomedical research.