Authored by Kaylee Rome, Marketing & Communications Intern
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center offers students hands-on opportunities for students interested in a variety of healthcare-related career paths to learn from some of the most experienced professionals in the industry. This past summer, three students took advantage of the expertise and innovation available within the walls of the Cancer Center.
Landri Domingue is a senior at Dutchtown High School in Geismar, Louisiana. As part of her internship work, Landri was posted in the medical physics department under Sotirios Stathakis, PhD, Dr. Charles M. Smith chief of physics, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. Learning from Dr. Stathakis and other medical physicists, Landri explains that she enjoyed learning more about the technology involved in cancer care that one doesn’t see from the outside.
“In the future, I know I want to do something with AI (artificial intelligence), maybe medical robotics, so this experience has really has opened a new door for me in medical physics,” Landri said. “Every day is showing me what a day in the life with clinical is like as a career.”
During her time working under Dr. Stathakis and the medical physics team, Landri was given the responsibility of analyzing data from radiation treatments to determine if there were any delays in the process. She explained that by finding and noting these delays, their team can help enhance the overall treatment process, making it quicker and more comfortable for the patient.
“It is volunteers like Landri who epitomize the spirit of selfless service and dedication to the pursuit of knowledge,” Dr. Stathakis said. “Her unwavering commitment to our research endeavor is commendable and highly valued.”
Another student, Chai Dithipeng, a junior at Louisiana State University planning to go to medical school, used his time with Mary Bird Perkins to shadow various team members in the radiation oncology department and is continuing as a volunteer now that classes are back in session.
By continuing to volunteer at the Cancer Center, Chai has immersed himself in the medical environment, working with people across the cancer continuum and learning more medical terminology. One of his biggest takeaways from volunteering is just how many people it takes to deliver the highest-quality patient care and the technology and expertise needed to do so.
“I always wanted to work in the medical field, and with my dad having faced five different cancer diagnoses, cancer treatment is something I wanted to better understand,” Chai said.
Volunteering at the center is important to Chai because he is able to keep patients company while they are waiting for treatment. “When my dad was going through cancer treatment, it was my mom and I who took care of him. I understand the hardships,” Chai said. “I like to be available for patients to do puzzles, talk to or play games with while they wait to be seen or get treatment.”
Lastly, Kaylee Rome, a junior at Louisiana State University and the writer of this blog, is interning in the marketing and communications department at Mary Bird Perkins. Working at the Cancer Center has given her the opportunity to get on-the-job experience and use the skills that she’s being taught in the academic setting. By working in the marketing and communications department, interns are able to gain experience in daily tasks like internal communications, external communications, writing and marketing. The marketing and communications team is extremely helpful in making sure that the student is getting a well-rounded experience.
“Regarding interns, I believe Mary Bird Perkins supports an environment for students to learn in a ‘hands-on’ environment,” said Susan Dickerson, vice president, human resources, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. Additionally, students have the opportunity to learn about the overall operation of Mary Bird Perkins rather than just the area in which the student is assigned. Mary Bird Perkins benefits by gaining new and fresh perspectives from students.”
Students that are seeking volunteer hours are still encouraged to fill out a volunteer application if they want to receive hours by volunteering at events. For more information on volunteer opportunities visit, www.marybird.org/volunteer.