Intern Profiles: Averi Barrett and Beth Warren

Intern Profiles: Averi Barrett and Beth Warren
Parvathy Hariharan

Nested Knowledge takes great pride in its dynamic team. Our growth is driven by a dedicated team of researchers at various levels of expertise coordinating seamlessly across different states on multiple projects. A key part of this effort, from gathering data to advising on tool building, comes from our internship program. Two of our interns share more about their journeys here.

Beth Warren is a biochemistry major at the University of Minnesota, graduating in May 2020. After starting work with Nested Knowledge as a data gathering expert, she is now the team lead overseeing our aneurysm research team. Her current project involves gathering all published data on flow diverters, which are medical devices that help “divert” the flow of blood away from the aneurysm, allowing it to heal. Averi Barrett is doing her Master’s degree in Neuroimaging and Informatics at the University of Southern California and works on compiling clinical data on projects involving acute ischemic stroke, aneurysms and coronary artery disease.

What brings these students to a medical data analytics company?  Warren says that she is focused on a career in clinical research. “I am very interested in research, just not in the typical lab setting,” she says. “Working for Nested Knowledge has made me appreciate the data and analytical side of research more than I previously have.” Barrett aims to get her doctoral degree and become a neuroscientist. “This internship has helped me learn skills that are critical to the field of research such as scientific literacy and data organization,” she says.

Both interns agree that the internship has been a great opportunity to see a project come to life in the real world. Just watching her project evolve from the its earliest stages to its completion has been immensely rewarding, Warren says. “I have learned so much along the way about time management, overseeing projects, and even how a business functions and grows,” she says. Barrett states that she enjoys the opportunity to learn about different diseases and health conditions. “I especially have appreciated the journal club meetings we have, because I always get to learn something new.”

While working remotely has its convenience, it comes with its fair share of challenges. “My biggest learning experience in the internship so far has been communicating effectively in a remote office environment,” Barrett says. Warren agrees that this aspect can be challenging. “Sometimes it is difficult not having a traditional workplace to go to and not have your co-workers right down the hall,” she says. “On the other hand, it allows for a very flexible schedule and has enhanced my ability to communicate effectively with others since we are not all working in the same building.”

With support and encouragement from mentors, anything is possible. Warren and Barrett mention how Natalie Reierson, the Director of Research at Nested Knowledge and Nick Mikoff, project manager, have been crucial to the success of the intern program. “From the time I started, both have been more than willing to invest time into me and help me learn the ropes,” Warren says. “The mentors have helped me learn how to approach the big projects that we work on in a team-oriented manner,” Barrett agrees.

And sometimes, the most learning can come from unexpected places. Even the detailed categorization of studies necessary to collect meaningful clinical data used in the nests gave insights on the complexities of medical research, Barrett says. However, much of the program gives general experience applicable outside of meta-analytical data gathering. “I came into the team lead position knowing a lot about how to gather data but not as much about how to oversee a project or a team. This position has drastically enhanced my ability to manage a project, ensure we are making adequate progress, and distribute work across a team to achieve a common goal,” Warren states.