ACME Biopharamaceutical Internship

I was super nervous the first day, I found out that the people I was assigned to work with did not speak English. My mentor was not there the first day, so I shadowed the head of our group, I just nodded my head and followed him around that day. The following day, I was introduced to my mentor and lab mates. I really like my lab group and our small research group as well. They are very fun to talk to and they are very casual. They do not wear business clothing.  They wear jeans and sweatpants, and they also wear t-shirts with funny English words that they do not know. They joke around and play on there phones when they are on break. For the first four weeks, I mainly observed my mentor and helped out with smaller tasks like, getting dry ice and ice, holding things, taking TLC plates out, and running errands for her. Every day I got to try a new skill that she would try her best to explain to me by repeating herself and motioning with her hands. I usually failed to completely understand her instructions, and I relied on observing her doing the same skill before to perform the skill myself.  I am understanding Mandarin a bit more here and there, and they help me with my speaking and tones when we have breaks. These past two weeks, I have started my own experiments. I set up the reaction, monitor the reaction, perform a work-up, and finally purify to the final product. Although I am doing my own reactions, my mentor usually does most of the set up and some other things during the experiment. This is because my Chinese language listening skills are rather slow, so whenever she asks me to do anything it would take me a few seconds to respond, and she would eventually get annoyed that I was not doing it fast enough and she would take over for me. My response time is slowly getting better and my mentor has been gradually letting me do more of the experimental set-up, but there is still a language gap that prevents me from fully understanding what she wants me to do. The internship experience, so far, has been incredible. I work Monday through Friday 8:30 AM to 5 PM (usually 5:30 PM because no one is ever done on time). I live within walking distance of my internship, so I walk back with my lab mates and have dinner and relax before heading to sleep. The weeks are long and the A/C in the lab does not really work that well (temperatures are high 80s and in the 90s), but I have learned a lot, and I have improved my Chinese listening skills. There have also been downs. Since I am a bit slow responding to commands and I have a difficult time understanding commands, I am often spoke down to and they like to make jokes, but after the day is done they still laugh with me and talk with me just the same. 

My mentor,  Lu Wei Li (鲁伟丽) (right) and I (left) in our lab

Jason Zhang, president of the company (left) and I (right) standing in front of the front desk at the company












Last Friday was the company’s anniversary in Shanghai, and we all stopped our work to decorate a cake and make cookies (top left). I also had dinner at one of my lab mate’s house with people from the company (top right). We ate dinner and chatted for 4 hours, and I talked about my life and family, which they were very curious about. At the company, we get lunch every day provide to us. We get to choose four dishes from the many that are available. I try to avoid the fish because I dislike spitting out the bones onto my tray in front of other people, and I am also very slow at eating the fish as well. Every Thursday we have a dessert. The dessert changes every week, but they are not that sweet to me, but to my co-workers they are very sweet (bottom). 

Birthday cake that people made. I helped put the marshmallows on the cake. It had Oreos and mangos on the inside. It was a vanilla cake with whipped cream topping.

The meal with my coworkers. There is stir fried tomates and egg (top right), leafy vegetable (top left), pork ribs (middle), okra (bottom left) and fresh fish that was caught that day (bottom right). Also a packet of milk, which I though was interesting












Dessert at my company’s lunch. This is a bun filled with egg custard and decorated to look like a pig.