Weekly Updates

List of 4 items.

  • Naomi Esrig, St. Barnabas Medical Center’s pathology department

    After weeks of waiting, I was finally able to start my “observation period” at St. Barnabas Medical Center’s pathology department in the second week of March. On my first day, my supervisor brought me from office to office, introducing me to other physicians. We seemed to catch every doctor at a busy time - one was rifling through a stack of papers, several were hunched over computers, and one was caught in what appeared to be a moment of meditation over the tall glass of water he held in one hand and a small red water pitcher he held in the other. In the age of sickness, I was confused as to how I was supposed to greet them, and often stood several feet away and smiled with a nod in lieu of a handshake. This did not alleviate the awkwardness, and no one seemed to understand why a highschooler with purple hair was standing in their office.
     
    Within two hours of my arrival, I found myself in the morgue with two residents and a technician, preparing for an autopsy. The technician, Chase, is a lively young man that always seems to be smiling, even when he is wrist deep in a cadaver. While we stood over a body, he told me about his childhood in Pennsylvania, his degree in philosophy, and the ex-girlfriend whose aunt got him his current job. One of the residents, Buket, has a strong Turkish accent and speaks with urgency, as if she believes the body will get up off the table and walk away if she makes it wait. After donning multiple layers, including three pairs of gloves, we opened the drawer to remove the body. It came out slowly, giving the removal of the body an ominous effect that made me almost expect smoke to come out with it. We moved the body, in its bag, onto the metal table, and the bag was unzipped to expose the cadaver it contained. The first thing that hit me was, of course, the smell; it resembled fermented fruit to me, though the technician described it in much more colorful language than I. The second thing I noticed was the lack of humanity. The body belonged to an obese woman, middle aged, with two missing legs and nails painted bright pink. The body was called she and its organs were called hers, but there was no dignity given to her with that speech. It was like calling a boat a she. It was a cadaver, and she had ceased to be a woman. Her name was never mentioned, and I still don’t know if that was a good or bad thing.
     
    As the autopsy progressed, I found myself more and more involved in the procedure. The technician had me hold flaps of fatty skin in certain places, at one point covering the cadaver’s face. I held a piece of metal above a flame and pressed it against the empty red lungs. I poked and prodded and squeezed various parts of the body, and when the skull was cut open with a saw, I held the brain in my own two hands. With the skull exposed and the face skin slid down, the body lost even more humanity. When I asked the technician about remembering that the body once belonged to a person, he told me he “never really thought about it.” 
     
    And yet, after I helped the technician sew her body up, from the groin to the shoulders, her humanity returned to me. When he was sewing up her scalp, I held her hair tenderly, and brushed it out of her face. When the technician squirted water in her face to clean her off, I expected her to sputter. When I held her lungs, I could not picture these organs coming from her chest, which was now filled with fat, fluid, and operating room materials. And while I didn’t feel nauseated or faint at any point in the procedure, I felt a twinge of sadness then. She was a person, a woman lying naked on a cold, metal table, surrounded by her own blood and tissue. I wanted to cover her up, tell the technician to look away. The smell of that autopsy stuck with me hours later. 
     
    I spent most of my second day shadowing an older Ukrainian pathology assistant in the gross anatomy lab. While we grossed various organs (for some reason, it was mostly uteri) and made slides of the frozen sections, he berated the American medical system while refusing to tell me anything about the Ukrainian medical system. He, as many doctors and medical professionals have, attempted to convince me to go into a different field. My favorite quote from one of his many lectures about my future career in medicine was “if you’re sane, you’ll cry the whole time.” He told me, over and over again, that physicians don’t save lives, they only “prolong suffering.” Elon called me sweetheart, got very concerned when I only brought a small sandwich for lunch, and seemed offended that I wouldn’t sit and get comfortable when viewing slides; I very quickly started following him around like a baby duckling, and this activity lasted for the most of the day, until Buket started grossing a uterus and a full human ear still attached to a chunk of neck (but not to the person to whom that neck previously belonged). 
     
    My third day was another autopsy, again with Chase and Buket. This body, unlike the last, did not at all seem dead. Rigor mortis had set in, and the body was able to hold its head up and keep its arms in place, crossing its torso. It was well kept and somewhat fit, as if just that morning he had woken up and shaved to get ready for work (unfortunately, he was young enough to still be part of the workforce). I had expected the body’s chest to rise like the lungs were expanding, or perhaps for the fingers to twitch and the eyelids to flicker a bit. But there was no movement, no signs of life. When I pushed my gloved finger into his arm, the surface acted like one of those stress balls filled with sand; it briefly retained the shape of my finger, an indent, and then slowly returned to its original shape. The smell was stronger this time, as he had died several days before, so I stayed several feet away for most of the autopsy, only getting involved when the skin had to be sewn back together and when the organs had to be measured, weighed, opened, and sliced to put in cartridges. I wrote the data on a white board, with the resident drawing the letters she was dictating in the air because I couldn’t hear her through two masks, a splash shield, and a thick accent. At this point in the autopsy, Chase had already put the body back in its drawer and was standing in the corner of the room, drinking chocolate milk from a small carton and eating peanut butter crackers. I was twenty hours into my internship at this point, and I had already held a human brain, found the center of the best gossip in the pathology department (hint: it’s histology, look for Kristin and Doreen), and gotten lectured by a massive Ukrainian man (whom they call “big guy” more than his actual name). 
     
  • Jake Kroll, working for Newspaper Media Group

    For my internship I am working for Newspaper Media Group which is located in Manalapan, NJ. Newspaper Media Group is a newspaper company that covers all of Central Jersey. Even on my first day I was put to work by writing press releases for events in the area. On just my second day, I went out with a reporter and we attended an event in which various people spoke about people who are on parole and probation being able to get voting rights. So, on just my second day I saw an ex-convict.

    From then until now I have been reporting on many other interesting things. For example, I reported and wrote an article on Governor Murphy coming to a school in North Brunswick. Additionally, I have also been reporting on many high school basketball games and have witnessed some amazing plays. Another wild experience that I had was going to a meeting about a school closing where various parents started to yell at the board. It almost felt like a sports game because every few moments there were loud cheers and boos along with people chanting phrases to persuade them to keep open the school.

    Being able to write about these unbelievable events has been great and I have learned so much and been improving on my writing skills. I am looking forward to covering more sports games and more fun and interesting events.
  • Kai Ronen, Internship under Joanna Radecki, Realtor Associate at Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International

    For the past two weeks since the internship program began on February 18, I have been shadowing my real estate agent, Joanna Radecki, at Sotheby's International Realty.

    To start my internship off, I began by learning a few important terms that would be helpful to understand for the upcoming open house. In addition to the terms, my real estate agent also taught me some common areas of the homes that realtors like to look for. For example, during our first open house, in each individual home, my realtor and I carefully scanned for any possible molding or even Asbestos growing on the exterior. Not only is looking for molding important, but also locating that the home has a hot water heater and a furnace is significant as well. The open houses are overall interesting to see because no two houses are perfectly alike; each home has a unique style to it. I have attended about four different open houses (18 different homes), with some being on the luxurious end and others being standard.

    At all the different open house events, I have been taking notes writing down the pros and cons of each of the homes. Using those notes, on my own time when I am not working, I have conducted a few comparative market analyses, which helps lay out the differences between homes. On Friday, February 28, Joanna was unable to visit any open houses as she had other business to attend to. However, I was lucky enough to shadow a colleague of hers, Pierce Conway. Pierce had a minor in architecture at the University of Minnesota, and it was interesting to hear his opinion on the design of the various luxurious homes. Pierce was able to give me more insight on the structure of the homes while Joanna focused mainly more on the mechanics.

    Furthermore, I am slowly learning the different styles of homes (colonial, Tudor, etc) to the point where I could almost look at the exterior of a home and tell what style it has. I feel that with only interning for two weeks with Joanna that I have learned a lot about the logistics of real estate. For example, Joanna believes that real estate is a service and, “We are not just selling homes to people, but we are selling ourselves to them”. In addition, with so much time left in my internship, there is still a lot of information to cover. In the upcoming week, I hope to visit a few more open houses and even potentially sit-in on a pre-inspection or inspection.

    With that in mind, we have barely touched on the topics of mortgages and many other important factors when buying a home. In the upcoming weeks of my internship, I hope to continue to learn more about real estate at the same fast pace and utilize this golden opportunity of working side by side with a realtor who has been working in the real estate field for decades. 
  • Noah Kamens, working in the Seton Hall University Ticket Office

    I’ve had an amazing time working for the Seton Hall University Ticket Office so far. I’ve been able to learn a lot about the process of selling tickets for a basketball game, from organizing and selling the tickets themselves to processing them after the game.

    My main jobs so far have been organizing different data points into spreadsheets. I’ve worked on analyzing attendance data for every home game since the 2015-2016 season, finding season ticket holders who pay a different price than they should for their section, made a master list of every entrant to the Big East Tournament Student Ticket Lottery, and compared every Big East Tournament ticket request with what each person actually received to ensure information was accurate for records and billing. 

    In addition to spreadsheets, I was also in charge of charging everyone who received Big East Tournament tickets. Every recipient was initially charged a flat rate equal to the lowest ticket price, and my job was to go through and charge ticket holders the difference so that everyone paid the correct amount according to their seats.

    One of the most interesting parts of my internship so far has been approving and processing donation requests. Seton Hall receives hundreds of donation requests yearly from across the country, and the ticket office responds with a voucher for four free tickets to a game of their choice. Even though the requests come from across the country, Seton Hall approves each one, and it’s been interesting to read about the different organizations Seton Hall has helped. At first, it seemed like they gave a lot of donations, but my supervisor told me that they probably give away about 1,500 free tickets a game out of anywhere between 12,000 and 16,000 total tickets, so they can be helpful to others without losing money.

    Because of my internship, I’ve been able to attend two Seton Hall games this year for free. My supervisor always told me and his other college interns that if we needed tickets to a game, we could just let him know and he would give them to us. I went to one game with my parents and another with fellow GOA senior Kai Ronen, and both games were electric. I loved watching the atmosphere of a packed crowd for a D-I game, and the fact that Seton Hall is ranked as one of the 15 best teams in the country made it even better. The game I went to with Kai was even better because it was also Senior Night, so we got to experience the team honoring the seniors on the team as well as the cheerleaders, dancers, members of the band, and others. 

    My favorite part of my internship so far has been the environment. I’ve been able to develop a very good relationship with my supervisor, the other college interns, and people in other departments in the building. Since people are constantly walking in and out of the office, it’s been a little complicated trying to remember everyone’s names, but I’ve been getting better. Not only has everyone been so welcoming, but they also gave me a few polos to wear while on the job, which really made me feel like a part of the team.
    Now that the regular season is over, they are working on the Big East and NCAA Tournaments, two very hectic periods for the ticket office, and then they will already start working to sell season tickets for next season. I don’t know exactly how involved in that I will be, but I’m very excited to observe the process and learn more about the process. My supervisor also said that he would eventually have me bounce around to different parts of the department, which is exciting because I’ll be able to learn about different parts of the job instead of just tickets, and since I want to go into a job in sports, hopefully this internship will help me get a better idea of what I specifically want to do.