Florida Tech Scholar-Athlete Spotlight Recognizes Softball Player Alex Hendrian
By Christina Hardman, Florida Tech News Bureau // August 17, 2023
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BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – In this Scholar-Athlete Spotlight, we are featuring Florida Tech softball player, Alex Hendrian. This summer, the Aurora, Colo. native is gaining meaningful experience at an internship in her desired field. We caught up with Hendrian to learn more about the incredible opportunity.
■ What company are you interning for this summer? What was your title and role with the company?
This summer I had the opportunity to work at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado. My position was as an Animal Care Technician in the animal research facility, where I got to assist in keeping the animals healthy and observe different procedures that took place with them.
■ What drew you to this internship?
My goal is to attend veterinarian school after I finish my undergraduate degree, so a big part of what drew me to this internship was the experience.
I was also drawn to this internship because it’s a great way to see how science is applied to veterinary medicine with different experiments that researchers are doing.
Another factor that drew me to this internship is that National Jewish Health is a leading respiratory hospital where people all over the world come to get the best care for more resistant respiratory diseases.
■ What are some exciting tasks that you have been able to be a part of?
A typical day consists of changing cages for the mice to stay clean and healthy, doing treatments on any mice to heal injuries they might have formed, and taking care of the rabbits to make sure they have enough food and water.
I was also in charge of taking glucose readings for researchers on diabetic mice to evaluate how their glucose levels fluctuate. I was also able to practice injections with my supervisor as well as observe multiple surgical procedures.
■ How is your internship preparing you for a career you would like to do after graduation?
I’m super grateful for this internship because it’s given me the opportunity to learn about a whole other side of animal medicine that I could potentially see myself in.
As an animal care technician, I loved being able to improve the lives of the animals in the facility, but I also think the science behind what we do at National Jewish Health is amazing.
Coming up with new treatments to help people with diseases that are rare or have limited treatment options is so amazing. Lastly, getting to watch real scientists and researchers explore different strategies is inspiring.
■ What is your major at Florida Tech? Why did you choose this direction for your education and is this something you always wanted to pursue?
My major is Biomedical Science (Pre-med). I chose this major to get all the appropriate prerequisites required for veterinary school. Becoming a veterinarian is something that I’ve always wanted to do since I was little.
This internship, along with past volunteer work I’ve done, will help me to gain the experience I need and helps reinforce that this is the career I want to go into.
■ How has being a collegiate athlete prepared you for the work you are currently doing? What traits did you take away from the playing field that are helping you throughout your internship?
Being a collegiate athlete has given me multiple skills that I can apply to my everyday life and my internship. Through my experience at college, time management has been a key skill I have picked up.
Applying this to my job, I can see what tasks I’m assigned and come up with a plan to get everything done efficiently and in a timely manner.
The game of softball is about failure, so having the experience of constantly having to get up and try again has helped me not get frustrated with myself if I make a mistake at work.
Making sacrifices to help others or being able to take criticism of your work from a supervisor in order to be better is something a collegiate athlete is accustomed to and something that I believe gives us a leg up in the career world and even in everyday life.
■ What skills did you acquire at the internship that you plan to bring back to help lead the softball team?
At my internship, everyone was assigned different tasks in different areas of the facility, so there was often a lot of time alone. However, when you step back and see the whole picture, we are all working together like gears in a machine.
This same idea can be applied to the softball field. For the team to be successful, each individual needs to do their best to perform well and focus on their own skills to contribute to the team.
■ What advice would you give another athlete/prospective athlete who is looking to pursue the path you’ve taken?
If you’re looking into veterinary medicine, it’s super important to build a network of people that you can talk to about future career opportunities.
That might be my favorite takeaway from doing internships and volunteer work because not only are they important for your veterinary school application, but you get to meet so many different people and veterinarians who can talk to you about their experiences and their journey through their education.
You always feel a bit better when you have more people in your corner to cheer you on throughout an intensive career path like veterinary medicine!
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