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CBSelfie With Akila Pai

This CBS undergraduate used a medical internship to prepare for life in medical school.
Akila Pai

Name: Akila Pai
Year: Junior
Major: Microbiology and African American Studies

Briefly, what did your internship at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation entail?

As an intern at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, I was paired with Dr. Tim Sullivan, chief of vascular and endovascular surgery, to work on a variety of retrospective chart-review studies. The main project we worked on was focused on developing an algorithm to reduce cost of care, improve outcomes and standardize treatment for critical limb ischemia patients. I recently had the amazing experience of presenting my research at the VEITHSymposium in New York City. I also had the opportunity to shadow for more than 100 hours, watch various surgical and interventional procedures, accompany physician assistants and nurses, and tour various pathology labs, wound clinics and biomedical device industries.

Why did you want to intern at MHIF?

I actually happened to stumble upon MHIF by chance. I had been awarded a grant by the American Heart Association my senior year of high school, and they offered me a great opportunity to work at a research hospital and pursue cardiovascular related research.

You recently were accepted into Mt. Sinai's Medical School through an early-acceptance program. What was it like when you got your acceptance notification?

I really can't put into words what that feeling was like. It was relief, excitement, confusion (as to how I could possibly get in?!), happiness, and a mix of every other emotion possible.

How did CBS prepare you for your internship?

I actually started my internship the summer before my freshman year! However, I have continued to work at MHIF during the school years part time and use the skills I learned as a student in CBS, such as learning how to write technical lab reports, or even just learning how to communicate professionally has been incredibly helpful to my work at MHIF.

What advice would you give your first-year self in CBS?

I would tell my first-year self in CBS to take some time to relax and enjoy just being a Gopher. The pressure of college can be stressful at first, but taking care of your own personal health should always be a priority!