Just like most millennials, I have always wanted to do something that benefits the community, both locally and internationally. This summer I was given the opportunity to work at Baxter International, Inc. in Round Lake, Illinois in the Drug Development department. I have had an avid interest in Chemistry, and was happy to be able to gain more hands-on experience and see the chemical side of the healthcare industry.
To summarize, my team’s job was to test the stability of several drugs over different time lengths and in a variety of storage conditions. We ran various chemical tests which included measuring the pH to learn the acidity of the drug, conducting a high-performance liquid chromatography to identify the different components and impurities in the drug, and performing a karl fischer test to measure the amount of water in the drug. Not only did I get to conduct some of these tests on my own, but I was able to shadow various other scientists to learn more about the range of tests they run and their day-to-day schedule. One of my most memorable times was visiting the pilot plant at the facility to assist in the packaging of a drug in numerous IV bags.
I had a good balance of desk work as well as being in the lab to conduct tests. I was glad to be able to apply some of the information that I had learned in my classes during my sophomore and junior years to the work I was doing this summer, and actually contribute to my team. My boss put me in charge of my own study, where I was responsible for conducting the tests, analyzing the data, and writing the final report. It was eye-opening to see all the steps and hard work that goes into the drug development process.
Apart from the working aspect, the summer internship program at Baxter does a great job of building a welcoming community. They truly strive to develop their interns both professionally and as global citizens. We had numerous social events, including attending a Cubs game and a Brewers game. We also were divided into teams and given a non-profit organization to work with, and performed a day of service at that establishment. Overall, it was an amazing experience and I am excited to return again in the Fall of 2015.
My name is Taylor Riley and I am a rising Senior, majoring in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Global Health. I hope to work in a healthcare or pharmaceutical company in the future where I can have an impact on people at a global level, specifically those in developing countries.