Introducing the AgeLab's Summer 2021 Interns

by Taylor Patskanick

Each January and February at the MIT AgeLab, you will find us daydreaming about warm, long and sunny July and August days along the Charles River. Daydreaming to escape the bitter Boston winter? Partially, but also to plan and forecast our upcoming projects, activities and needs over the summer ahead of the excitement of the arrival of our interns.

Each year we invite a group of high school and college-aged students to participate in a summer-long internship experience. These students get swept up right away into the fast-paced, analytical and fun-loving whirlwind that is social science research at MIT. From career development-focused “coffee chats” with AgeLab staff to trying out facilitating a focus group or learning a new software for statistical analyses, our interns get a front row seat to all of the behind-the-scenes magic that makes the AgeLab tick.

The summers of 2020 and 2021 have been particularly unique in that all this activity has all occurred remotely, from the comfort of our homes, and perhaps more amusingly, less often in the greater Boston area. Some of our interns I’ve never met before in-person! The remote environment has introduced us to new ways of supervision and collaboration, of knowing and understanding and of creativity and focus.

As I’ve gotten to meet a few of our sponsors’ wonderful interns this summer (something that would have previously been less likely before the pandemic) and in thinking about the professional growth and development of our own internship cohort at the AgeLab, I am confident each of us has something we’ve learned and will take away from the past two years to make the future of work and of our world a better place.

It is a common myth or misconception that the MIT AgeLab only does work thinking about older people. In fact, as you’ll see represented in many of our projects like the Life Tomorrow COVID-19 survey series or our intergenerational outreach program OMEGA, we are concerned with the entire lifespan, from Generation Alpha to the Silent Generation. And I see our internship program at the AgeLab as an example of the good work that mentors, shapes and ushers an emerging generation of scholars and activists into work they are deeply passionate about.

I’m proud to introduce and share with our audiences a series of entries featuring the voices and insights of our resilient and contemplative interns from the summer of 2021. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did reading and editing them!

You can find the interns' posts on the AgeLab's Blog page, or you can navigate to them using the links below:

Talia Chait: My Summer at the AgeLab

Talia Belz: My Summer at the AgeLab

Anjali Reddy: My Summer at the AgeLab

Sophia Lee: My Summer at the AgeLab

Lila Goldstein: My Summer at the AgeLab

Jimmy Davey and Brianna Garrette: Our Summer at the AgeLab

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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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