Over the week-long externship at Merck, I was able to hear from numerous employees on the company’s mission, their individual job descriptions, how they came to work at the company, and other information related to clinical research, production of drugs, and important steps in manufacturing. Additionally, externs were able to connect with Ursinus alumni and discuss the journey from undergraduate education to the corporate workforce. I was able to learn so much about potential careers waiting for me after graduation and got to experience what a ‘day in the life’ may look like. This was truly valuable in preparing for future studies and gave incredible insight into Merck’s ‘people first’ mentality.
Through this program I’ve discovered that I’m quite interested in virology, clinical research, and clinical trials! Although I am still very up-in-the-air on what career avenue I will eventually take, learning more about the options available was enlightening and has inspired me to explore more with my coursework here at Ursinus.
I was pleased to learn more about the way a large corporation like Merck runs—there is a clear interpersonal bond between employees which was lovely to see. Just because you are working in a large company does not mean you aren’t seen as a person with individuality and goals.
This externship gave me many new avenues to research and helped me narrow down potential career interests. In particular, I am quite interested in working in the clinical realm! Meeting so many Ursinus alumnus and hearing their stories was so rewarding—knowing that in some years I will be in the same position is inspiring and uplifting.
Take advantage of the opportunity—really use the time to learn and take in what you are hearing. Even if the experience doesn’t show you the exact job you want, all information is useful. Ask as many questions as you can! The many employees I met throughout the experience have been lovely, sending emails and staying connected through LinkedIn. I now have resources and people to reach out to for advice, and they’ve all shown true interest and hope for my future.
Written by Alexa Alessandrini ’24