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Claire started at OrACORe in July 2020 after graduating from Northeastern University with a BS in Biology and a minor in Political Science. In her time at OrACORe, Claire led her co-RAs in the operation of the ORBIT registry and MeTeOR study. Outside of the office, Claire joined her colleagues in volunteering for the Youth Enrichment Services (YES) as a ski instructor. In this departing interview, Claire reflects on her growth as a research assistant and looks to a future in medicine with insight and excitement from her RA experience.

1. In what ways have you grown from being first-year RAs to second-year RAs?

One of my favorite things about being an OrACORe research assistant is the transition from the first to the second year. In your first year, you are assigned to several projects and focus on learning as much as you can and getting acquainted with working in clinical research. As second years, we become the lead coordinators on the projects that we have been working on and take on more responsibility. We also train the incoming RAs and help to guide them through their first year at OrACORe. That experience pushed me to grow immensely as a leader, teacher, and problem solver.

2. How has working at OrACORe impacted your views on medicine and/or research?

Medicine and research are like team sports and working at OrACORe has only reinforced that for me. Everything we do requires the hard work of so many talented individuals, and I think that the culture of our group really emphasizes the importance of teamwork. We collaborate with so many kinds of providers and professionals, all of whom have a unique perspective to offer that ultimately benefits our research and patient care in general.

3. What will you miss most about OrACORe?

As cliché as it sounds, I will definitely miss the people. Getting to work with fabulous mentors like Jeff, Elena, and Faith and my bright co-RAs has been an honor and a privilege. I will absolutely miss coming into the office and collaborating with such wonderful people.

From left to right: research assistants Claire McHugh, Zoe Zimmerman, and Aleksandra Kostic. Photo courtesy of Claire McHugh.

4. What are your career goals and how have they been affected by your experience at OrACORe?

I will be attending medical school this fall, and my time at OrACORe has only reinforced that academic medicine is where I want my career to take me. Being able to navigate within the Brigham system and with so many of our wonderful collaborators has been an invaluable experience. Our research is often focused on helping patients and clinicians make the most informed treatment decisions possible and I hope to carry that mission with me throughout my career. I’ve also learned how much I love teaching by training and working with new RAs and I hope to make that part of my career in academic medicine.

5. Any advice for future research assistants?                      

Be a sponge! Time goes by much more quickly than you think. Before you know it, you’ll be doing this interview, too. Learn as much as you can, work hard, ask questions, spend time with your colleagues, and get to know your mentors. Everyone is happy to help you and only wants to see you succeed!

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