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Where are they now? Science World’s Barbara Brink Interns: Paige Zhang

Imagine this: your workday consists of handling corn snakes, popping balloons in front of an audience on stage and developing a crazy science obstacle course for summer camp. This was the summer of 2009 and this was a typical day in my exciting time as a Barbara Brink Intern. I have fond memories of working on exhibits, developing programming and working with a creative team to bring science to communities. The experience was immensely inspiring for me—sparking my interest in education, science and community engagement. I am so thankful for my internship experience and how it became a stepping stone (or more like a well-designed catapult!) into my future career in science.

After my summer at Science World, I began studies at UBC, while still working as a part-time science facilitator, under the dome on weekends. I had a great four years at UBC. I started off pursuing my interests in math and physics, but then transferred to microbiology. I fell in love with computer science for a bit, but eventually found that I belonged in the Honours Physiology program (all the while, taking courses in creative writing!). During school, I had great experiences as a computer science TA, teaching after-school science classes through the Community Learning Initiative, while completing an honours thesis in multiple sclerosis (MS) research.

However, what really made my undergraduate life special was my involvement in the community. I was part of the Wellness Peer Program at UBC for 3 years, where I got to foster my love for education and health promotion. I also worked on a rapid HIV testing pilot project and lived in Uganda for 4 months, working on an international development project. In addition, I still tried to visit Science World as much as possible! I was involved with Super Science Club, BC Green Games and then got to be a part of the exciting Future Science Leaders project.

Throughout all of these experiences, I made great friends, learned a lot of new skills and discovered that my interests in community, health and equality intersected with a passion for medicine.

I am currently in my first year of MD studies at the University of Toronto. I definitely miss living in a city with a giant geodesic dome, but I am enjoying the many opportunities I have in Toronto. From clinical experience in world-class hospitals to cutting edge research, I’m finding medicine to be a really fulfilling and exciting field to be in. As a LEAD scholar, I’m also merging my interest in clinical medicine with the leadership role that physicians can take in their communities to improve health for everyone. In addition, I’m trying to incorporate my love of creative writing and the arts into my medical studies and future practice.

It certainly has been a busy 4 years since I was a Barbara Brink intern and the sparks that Science World and the Community Engagement department inspired in me continue to ignite new flames. Being an intern was filled with many days of working on exciting projects around the dome and in the community. My time as a Barbara Brink Intern was one of the best summers of my life.

Do you know a high school student that might be the perfect fit as our Barbara Brink Intern?