Bachelors in Biotechnology, Final year, Alagappa College of Technology
Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM)
Interviewer: Rohit Murali (GT)
Interviewee: Rakshitha Ramkumar
GT: Most people would consider a visit to the esteemed Indian Institute of Technology – Madras (IIT-M) as a dream come true. What is the procedure to secure an internship there?
Rakshitha: Generally, students apply through various portals and academies such as the Indian Academy of Sciences (IAS). This was the route I took as well. In addition to this, I also managed to get in touch with the professor whom I wished to work with. I did some research on his line of work by going through the institute’s website, before speaking with him. Once we had a conversation about my interests and the work I wished to do, he seemed to be convinced and gave me the internship.
GT: How was the experience of your internship at this premier institute?
Rakshitha: It was a great experience; I felt very comfortable working at the institute! My knowledge has increased ten-fold after spending hours in the lab during the course of this internship. I worked primarily on cervical cancer research to test anti-cancer drugs, and also learnt many assays and techniques regarding tissue culture.
GT: Did you encounter any practical difficulties during your internship?
Rakshitha: I don’t think so. The mentors I worked under were very helpful. They always made sure I understood the concepts by explaining it to me themselves, and urging me to read and do my research before performing any experiment. At every stage, I was made aware of what we were doing and why we were doing it, so I didn't face any difficulties there.
GT: How will your internship be useful for your future endeavors and further studies?
Rakshitha: As I might do my postgraduate in this field, this internship will be of immense help to gain a hands-on experience. I took cancer biology as my professional elective during the 5th semester of my B.Tech. Industrial Biotechnology course, and started gaining interest in this field; I was fascinated by the various techniques. I also really wish to contribute in the field of cancer.
GT: When do you recommend other aspirants out there to do their internship?
Rakshitha: In my opinion, it's better to do as many internships as they can. But it's advisable to apply as early as possible if they want to do their internship at reputed institutes like IITs, IISc etc. They should research about the professors and send SOPs (Statement of Purpose) so that there are high chances of the concerned professor considering their profiles and getting back to them. However, during 2nd year of college, interns aren't usually allowed to handle much equipment because many labs do not provide access to all high-tech instruments for the amateurs. I would say the summer after 3rd year is ideal to work as interns.
GT: Finally, what do you think about Intern Diaries?
Rakshitha: I think it’s a really good initiative. It will be of great use, especially to the juniors who may be really interested and passionate about interning but don't know how to go about it, or where to apply. It is valuable input from the seniors who can share their experiences!
The Guindy Times thanks Rakshitha for her time and wishes her all the best for her future endeavours.