Yes, that is indeed a pile of piglets in that picture! This blog post will be dedicated to describing my work and everything that comes with it.
Firstly, and obviously, I do work with pigs! Unfortunately, I don’t get to work with them when they are that young like in the picture, but I work with pigs that are a few weeks older. I am involved in a research project through the Swiss governmental agency Agroscope, an agricultural research unit in Switzerland. We are focusing on the immune system, and how we can harness the innate power that lies within it! (I wish I could go into more detail, but I don’t think I can say much more until something is published!).
As a part of that work, I will be honest that it is pretty grueling. Part of the study and data depends on us going to the piggery every day. The air in there stinks so bad and we have to wear these…wonderful…coveralls that just trap the heat against our bodies. We also have to basically wrestle with these 20 pound piglets so that we can take all the samples necessary. In the end, however, it is so worth it because I am truly experiencing a once in a lifetime opportunity. I mean, how many people can say that they worked abroad under a research project that will eventually be published in a journal with their name in it!
I also have to give thanks to the absolutely wonderful people who have helped me get along so well in such a foreign environment. My supervisor, Catherine, is someone who seems like she wrote the book on being a great boss. She is so keen to help me understand topics that I don’t necessarily pick up easily and she always makes sure to correct my French when I make a mistake (yes, I am surrounded by the French, so luckily my French minor is coming in handy!). I am also lucky to have another intern in my same position, so I have a friend who understands the trials and tribulations. Pauline is a vet student who is also completing a summer internship, and she has been so helpful in letting me know about everything vet school has to offer. Then, there are the PhD students who have taken me under their wing and are just so cool. I feel so lucky that I have such wonderful people around me to support me at all times 🙂