Introducing (and saying goodbye to) the 2022 summer interns

by Taylor Patskanick

At the AgeLab, there are few scenes more representative of people’s personal and professional triumphs and transitions than a group lunch. For us, the group lunch represents celebration, sunny hellos and bittersweet goodbyes – a moment to bring together all of our researchers, staff and students and an unabashed opportunity to try out a new food establishment in town. Group lunches come every season, often attached to cohorts of students and interns. I can remember who I worked with and when based on what we ate at certain group lunches.

In August, we marked the end of summer and the beginning of fall with a group lunch bidding farewell to our 2022 interns. This was our largest cohort of summer interns yet, and for the first time since 2019, we welcomed many of them to in-person work at the MIT AgeLab in Cambridge.

Six months ago, as we were preparing to onboard and welcome these students, I remember the frenzied energy in the room as we collected dates of birth and outlined extensive project plans ensuring every student would have a project, supervisor, and task get started with. We were excited, they were excited, and now here we are, many months later, wishing our best and brightest well over dumplings and sushi as they transition to the beginning of the academic year. With so many students joining us for the first time and several others returning to work with us in-person this summer, I was reminded of the spark, the creativity and the imagination that comes with convening people together around work that they are passionate about.

I think you will see that passion and vision reflected in our collection of blog entries from our 2022 MIT AgeLab summer internship program participants. As they learn and grow from us, we in turn learned and grew with them. Their contributions will linger far beyond a group lunch or a single summer, as they helped us to push the envelope on our existing research, from developing personas of caregiving to how we collect data in our autonomous vehicles.

So, I’d like to invite you to grab a lunch, do some reading and be prepared to meet a fantastic group of students. Enjoy!

Cameron Owens: Overcoming imposter syndrome and improving the sim room

Samantha Gitlin: Interviewing the Lifestyle Leaders

Grace Turner: Preparing for extreme weather

Talia Chait: Life lessons from the Lifestyle Leaders

Ritu Belani: Bringing AgeLab lessons back to California

Jach Birnbach: Anne Umansky and me

Ken Byrne: Building caregiving personas

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About the Author

Photo of Taylor Patskanick
Taylor Patskanick

Taylor Patskanick is a Technical Associate at the MIT AgeLab. Her current research explores preventive health and vaccination practices of older adults. Taylor co-coordinates the MIT AgeLab 85+ Lifestyle Leaders panel and contributes to the AgeLab’s AGNES program. She also manages OMEGA, an intergenerational summit and scholarship program. In addition to her work at the AgeLab, Taylor is the president of Boston Bridge, Inc., a Massachusetts-based professional development organization for leaders in the field of aging and is a licensed certified social worker (LCSW). Taylor is an adjunct faculty member at Simmons University in Boston, MA. Taylor earned her MPH and MSW from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis and received her BSW from the University of Georgia.

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