You are here

Boston to San Francisco

March 9, 2016

About Me

Dana Farkas, from Morris Plains, NJ, is a third year Chemical Engineering student with passions in biotechnology and medical devices. She hopes to pursue a combined BSMS degree program in her five years at Northeastern. Outside of class, Dana enjoys spending time in nature by hiking and participating in outdoor activities. She is an avid animal lover and loves DIY crafts and staying active. 

Boston to San Francisco

If someone had asked me in the beginning of my first co-op what I expected my experience to be like, I would never have guessed the outcome. I completed my first 6 month co-op at a company called Radiation Monitoring Devices in Watertown, MA. It is a medium sized research and development company, and I had the pleasure of working on the Optics and Photonics team during my time there. Over the course of six months, I created a skin patch that provides a non-invasive approach to detecting hemorrhagic shock in an earlier time phase. While I thought this was a pretty cool accomplishment, the most exciting part about my research was being given the opportunity to present the work at SPIE Photonics West, the largest optics conference in the U.S. in San Francisco, CA.

With the help from Northeastern to fund my trip, I was able to travel to California for about four days to attend this conference and present my work. It was a thrilling trip in all senses, from the shocking weather change (I came from -10 degree Boston) to the incredible learning experiences. I was immediately immersed in the research and academia world, and I really had no grasp on the industry until I was able to listen to leaders of the field give presentations on innovative and ground-breaking research they were conducting. While this did not help to alleviate my nerves of presenting a poster showcasing my work, I definitely absorbed a lot from attending many other presentations. 

I had a few hours of downtime in between conference events, and I chose to spend this time exploring the city, which is a truly beautiful place. Pictures can show a lot, but physically being in San Francisco was so much better than a photo, allowing me to see the steep hills, trolley cars and the Golden Gate Bridge with my own eyes. The image to the left was taken from the top of the Coit Tower, which gave breathtaking 360 degree views of the city. I could have stayed up there all day! I was also able to head into the oldest Chinatown in the United States and ate some of the best Chinese food I’ve ever had.

I am so grateful to have been given an opportunity to become a published author as an undergrad, and definitely could not have done any of the work without the help from my team at RMD. I am now seriously considering moving to California because of how much I loved the city there, and definitely owe everything to an amazing first co-op experience.