Emma Dempewolf got a rare, two-for-one experience during her internship at the Noble Foundation in Ardmore, Oklahoma, this summer. “I was originally hired as a lab intern, doing the grunt work and getting hands on experience working with plants,” she said. Dempewolf said she found this part of the work interesting and enjoyed the collaboration between herself and the other members of the lab team. “I thought lab work would be more solitary,” she said. “But we worked together and shared feedback.”
Her work took an unexpected turn when her supervisor, a post-doc with only 4 or 5 years of experience in English, needed assistance editing a research paper for publication: “I had never really considered editing as a job, but I really learned a lot doing it.” Dempewolf realized that she would have to not only explain things like word usage and structure, she would also have to persuade him to accept her suggestions: “I’m a Classics and Education major,” she said. “And I realized that I was really educating my supervisor about accepted English usage. And I also learned the most effective way to structure a scientific paper.” Dempewolf ended up editing previously shelved papers for her supervisor as well.
Dempewolf said that perhaps the most valuable part of her internship was learning that she enjoyed a type of work (editing) that she had never considered. “Everyone always says to do what you love, but how do you know what you love until you’ve tried different things?” she said. “An internship gives you practical, real-life experience and that allows you to learn what you do love.”
Dempewolf also said that the internship gave her concrete experience that she couldn’t have gotten in the classroom. “Learning information is different that having to act on it,” she said.
For more information about internships or to make an appointment with an OPCD adviser, click here.