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5 minutes with Jo Yi, our industrial trainee

Q: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Chow Jo Yi and I am currently 21 years old. I am a Malaysian student going into my final year of Biomedical Engineering and Molecular Biology & Biotechnology at the University of Hong Kong.

Q: What inspired you to become an industrial trainee?

I wanted to gain a hands-on experience with the scientific theories I learned in the classroom and be able to translate them into a potential treatment by observing the latest developments in the cancer research field. Additionally, I thought it would be exciting to learn from scientists ­­who have had years of experience in the scientific research industry while applying and refining my technical skills (e.g. programming, laboratory skills etc.). The time I spent here would help me decide if this is indeed the path I would like to continue pursuing in the future.

Q: Why did you choose to be an industrial trainee for Cancer Research Malaysia?

Simply because CRMY is a committed organisation to finding a cure for Asian-centric cancers with an interesting ongoing research project powered by some of the brightest minds in Malaysia. One of the things that intrigue me the most as a student is the idea of being able to assist in providing a solution while creating an impact on the community.

Q: Can you walk us through your first day of orientation at CRMY’s office in Subang Jaya?

I remember coming in quite early to the office on the first day of training. I was introduced to my supervisor, Dr. Ang Boon Hong, who then explained the project that I was going to work on during my time as an industrial trainee. Next, I was passed to the HR team who gave me a quick introduction to CRMY’s organisation (which included a video with elaborations on everything from the people in CRMY to working etiquette). After that, I was given a quiz to test my understanding (and memory!) of the video’s content before being brought on a tour around the office with other trainees/volunteers for a quick meet-and-greet session. Then I had another session with Dr. Ang about the project I was assigned to. We had a discussion to ensure that I understood what I was doing and began doing some literature reviews. Shortly after, I was passed to the Core Lab team where they collect, process and analyse data from clinical studies through a single platform by following standardized protocols. By the end of the day, I had 3 separate orientations by 3 departments, which was initially a lot of information to process but ultimately helped me understand CRMY better as a whole.

Q: What have you learned during those 2.5 months?

I was able to further develop my knowledge and skills in scientific research which includes more technical items like current advancements in cancer research among other things. On the non-technical side, I learned soft skills such as presenting scientific results in a way that’s easily understandable by common people, teamwork and time management. I also gained a better understanding of my work style, along with my personal strengths and items that I would need to improve on as I was given full accountability for my own project. Lastly, I was able to gain a wider perspective and more appreciation of how science and business must work in synergy to maximise the impacts of non-profit organisations.

Q: Did it change you in any way or do you look at things/life differently?

One of the first (and my favourite) things I noticed about CRMY was the open communication they had with one another. There were no feelings of fear or intimidation in asking any question and being able to humbly admit if you do not know certain things, regardless of title and position. This opened my eyes to the vastness of the cancer research field – to the point that it takes not just one, but a team of scientists and other experts to make sense of all the research being put out. CRMY showed me how truly collaborative scientific research is and I think I have learned to be bolder in asking questions, which in turn has made me more engaged with the research/content that I’m learning about.

Q: How would you encourage your friends to take up scientific research and why should they do their industrial training at CRMY?

For my friends studying the sciences, I would tell them that an internship allows them to learn more about the field that they’re studying and show them the real-world impacts that they could potentially make in the real world. I think CRMY would be a great platform for this as it has a thriving collaborative environment that prompts curiousity –essential for anyone who is thinking of continuing down the path of research. Additionally, CRMY gives you full ownership of your projects hence offering you some confidence to make your own choices and see your personal impact on the project.

Q: What are your plans for the near future?

Carrying on with the momentum and leveraging the skills I learned from CRMY. I am currently working on other research projects and pushing myself to experiment more with my academic interests while still in university. After graduation, I am hoping to pursue continue my education with a Master’s Degree in Public Health.

Q: What do you want to achieve and what are your life goals?

Ultimately, I hope to produce impactful research within the public health field and use these to drive policies that safeguard healthcare equity across all communities, regardless of their socio-economic background.

Q: Will you come back and work with us?

If CRMY would have me, yes, I would!

Jo Yi is one of many successful industrial trainees who have helped our cause in pursuit of making an impact on better healthcare quality for everyone without any regard for race, religion, and gender.

If you share our passion for nurturing local talent to develop the next generation of scientists, please support us. Every cent counts and there is no such thing as a small donation.

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