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Now that I’ve tipped the halfway point of my internship, I’m quickly approaching what I expect to be one of the highlights of my time at the National Academies. My team, the National Cancer Policy Forum, is hosting a two-day public workshop next week. The workshop will explore the research, development, and usage of immune checkpoint inhibitors, a promising new form of cancer treatment. To explore these issues, the workshop will host a series of presentations and speaker panels by oncology experts. The intention is to facilitate communication between oncology experts and the public so we can better develop this technology. Following the workshop, we will release a ‘Workshop Proceedings’ report that summarizes the workshop conclusion and provides future direction.

I have only attended one workshop similar to this upcoming workshop, so I am basing my excitement in that experience. Last time, I noticed that there are lots of opportunities to meet and mingle with fellow attendees and panel speakers during q&a sessions, breaks, and receptions; however, I did not take full advantage of those opportunities. This time, I really want to take advantage of the chance to connect with similarly-interested people. Since I only have two weeks left, I’ve been thinking about how I can better meet and connect with professionals. I want to building lasting relationships with people who share my interests so I can build a network of mentors. With that focus on my mind, I’ve noticed the speaker/attendee lists include people in fields I want to learn about. For example, there are a few healthcare lawyers and patent lawyers dealing with intellectual property claims in the life sciences + biotech + pharmaceutical areas. These are the two areas of law that I have always appealed to me, but I feel like I need more advice before I can determine that they would be good fits for my interests. As such, I hope I will have the chance to introduce myself to some of these people or hear about their experiences.

I am also excited that I contributed to the planning and research that went into the workshop preparation. Previous events I attended were hosted by other teams within the NAM, so I have not been seeing the preparation. I am finally going to see my own preparation turn into something meaningful. I am curious to see how that will change my appreciation and overall perception of the experience.