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Kara Feeley

Public Relations & Strategic Communication 

Susan G. Komen Tissue Bank

What was the most exciting thing about your role? 

The Komen Tissue Bank (KTB) is the world’s first collector of healthy breast tissue. Through tissue drives, the bank collects tissue from women of all ages (18+), ethnicities, and backgrounds. They store this tissue for use in research. The reasoning behind the KTB is that if we study healthy breast tissue and the structure/DNA of it, we could better understand what causes breast cancer and tissue abnormalities. The ultimate mission of the KTB is to find a cure for breast cancer. Working for this cause every day was the most exciting thing about my role as an intern. Knowing that somehow what I am doing has an impact on finding a cure for breast cancer really helped me find a deep satisfaction and passion for my work.

What surprised you most about your internship?

Honestly, I was very surprised by the environment of my internship. The Komen Tissue Bank, while named for Susan G. Komen, is really a part of Indiana University. The research they do and funding they receive is all through Indiana University. It is located in a small office on the 6th floor of University Hospital downtown Indianapolis. Because they were a part of medical research, there were so many different regulatory committees the Tissue Bank had to go through in order to get anything done. If one sentence on a consent form changed, they had to restart the entire process of getting the form approved. 

How did you apply your Liberal Arts-skills to your internship position?

I have learned extensively about interpersonal communication and the importance of building relationships through my liberal arts education. This is something I could apply to my internship because I worked with donors to build and maintain relationships. I also needed to utilize my strong communication skills in order to discuss the topic of breast cancer and tissue donation, something that is a sensitive area for many women.

How has your internship prepared you for your career? 

My internship has prepared me for my future career by providing me the opportunity to communicate with a variety of people from many different backgrounds. I enjoyed working in a hospital communications role, which is something I had not had previous experience in. I really loved the small, non-profit environment of the Tissue Bank. For my future career, I am passionate about working in non-profits, especially those benefitting women and women’s health. I learned a lot about how non-profit organizations function, and many of the regulatory rules that apply in a hospital environment. Because the office was very small, I was able to learn about a variety of roles and how these roles work together to accomplish a task.