Q&A: Cassie Crifase '17, Clinical Research Coordinator at Massachusetts General Hospital

Monday, Feb 25, 2019

Cassie is a Project 55 fellow serving as a clinical research coordinator and predoctoral research fellow at EMNet Coordinating Center in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. In this Q&A, she discusses what experiences led her to choosing this path. 

What do you like most about this position?

My current position is a powerful and enriching learning experience as I’m able to work clinically with pediatric patients and their parents and professionally alongside physicians-scientists. In our research on respiratory and allergy emergencies, one of my greatest responsibilities is completing phone interviews in English and Spanish to check in on our patients and collect information about biological, social and environmental factors that may be implicated in respiratory health.

What I like the most about this work is that it has granted me a unique window into the lives of our participants, offering me multiple perspectives into the storied history of each parent and child, enabling me to come to know them quite intimately. It has illuminated the precious moments of trust and connection, the relief and joy of successful treatments and good health, as well as gratitude for the art of medicine.

What are a few experiences that helped you realize this post-graduation plan was a good first-step for you?

As a pre-med student, my path is a bit less winding and a bit more stepwise than those of my peers. Nevertheless, taking two gap years was a big decision, and I couldn’t be more grateful for Princeton’s resources in helping me come to this decision as well as be successful in it. From workshopping my resume with [the Center for Career Development] to endless advising from the Health Professions Advising Office, this year wouldn’t have been possible without the help and support of Princeton.

Did any previous work experiences play a part in your decision to pursue this role?

Yes! I found striking parallels between the summer internship application process and the gap year fellowship process. Beyond the superficial similarities, my summer internships both informed my decision and prepared me professionally to pursue clinical research in a city I’d never visited and in which I knew no one. This year has been a wonderful adventure thanks to the comprehensive preparation I’ve been so lucky to have in my undergraduate research experiences.