Opening Doors to Discovery

Springer Nature Group
By: Michelle He, Wed Nov 22 2023
Michelle He

Author: Michelle He

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is vital to our business mission: to publish research that is useful for all and usable by all, to improve and enrich our lives and the planet. To do so, we must fully represent the society we work in and with. Many groups and perspectives are currently underrepresented in the publishing industry, a challenge Springer Nature is actively trying to address through an internal DEI programme as well as external facing diversity initiatives like a brand new internship programme called Opening Doors. This blog features an insight into the Opening Doors programme from one of our inaugural interns, Michelle He, who worked across various workstreams, including our SDG publishing programme.

Nicola Jones, Director of the SDG publishing programme said of Michelle’s time with Springer Nature: Michelle’s impact in just 6 months has been really significant. From helping on the ground at our in-person Science Storytellers event in NYC at the UN Science Summit to undertaking and completing a comprehensive analysis of how and where Springer Nature content is cited in policy documentation relating to the SDGs, she has done work that will be used within our SDG programme over the next few years at least - and work which simply would not have been done otherwise.

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Over the last five months, I have had the pleasure of working as the Springer Journals and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) intern through Springer Nature’s pilot Opening Doors Internship Programme, a new initiative launched this year that offers recent graduates the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the research publishing industry and contribute actively to projects within Springer’s journals, books, and science news teams. 

My position is unique, as I split my time and efforts equally between three different teams. Within the Springer journals division, I have worked on both the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) and the Medicine and Life Sciences (MLS) teams, supporting the growth and development of a wide range of academic journals. My tasks can range from day-to-day editorial tasks to more long-term journal strategy projects such as conducting Editorial Board diversity analyses, recommending topics for future collections, and creating comprehensive journal impact reports based on data on a wide range of performance factors. It has been particularly special to have the opportunity to present my findings to external Editors-in-Chief, forge discussion on areas for growth, and see actionable recommendations come as a direct result of my work.

In addition to my work in Journals, I also support Springer Nature’s SDG Programme. Over the course of my internship, I have assessed the impact and reach of Springer Nature content cited in international policy relating to the SDGs. The results are very exciting as it is the first time we have gained insight into which SDGs Springer Nature content has a notable impact in policy citations, as well as which journals and articles are particularly influential. It has truly been an honor to have spearheaded a project I know will have the potential to spur numerous opportunities for editorial and community engagement, further establish Springer Nature as a thought leader in the SDG sphere, and serve as a meaningful analytical tool even after my internship has completed. Working on this project has even brought me back to own research roots, serving as an important reminder of the power of science to do good (a point I felt even more invigorated by after attending SN’s SDG Storytellers event this year!) and why it is important that we continue to be curious and seek out answers for the greater good.

As my internship experience draws to a close at the end of the month, I find it difficult to sum up just how much I have learned over the last few months. On a personal note, learning to navigate life in a new city after moving across the country alone with only a backpack and a suitcase, has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. As a scientist, it has encouraged me to think more critically about how to best serve the world through science, taking into account the broader issues affecting the research community and how to actively break down barriers that may stand in the way of a more inclusive and empowering scientific future. As I embark on the process of applying to Physician’s Assistant school this spring, the lessons I have learned from working at the intersection of the production, dissemination, and consumption of scientific research will undoubtedly guide me to be a well-informed and empathetic clinician and approach my work in healthcare with respect and mutual understanding. 

I’d like to thank Anna Lockhart, Nicola Jones, and Teresa Krauss for accepting me onto their teams with open arms, and for their steadfast mentorship, continual support, and genuine willingness to help me grow over these past few months. Special thank you to Bri Kane, for being the best employee network buddy, for the countless cups of coffee, and for always lending a listening ear, kind words, and thoughtful advice for an early career individual. 

Finally, a massive thank you to everyone involved in making the Opening Doors Internship Programme a reality and for giving young graduates a chance to break into the publishing industry. This has truly been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career thus far, and it has been an honor to be part of the pilot cohort. I can’t wait to see what the future holds! 

Michelle He

Author: Michelle He

I was born and raised in sunny, beautiful San Diego, CA and moved to New York City in June 2023 to start this internship. Prior to doing this, I graduated in June 2022 from the University of California, San Diego with a Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cell Biology and a minor in Marine Science. I also have a research background in reproductive neuroendocrinology from working as a research assistant during my four years in college. During that time, I learned a great deal about how to design, conduct, produce, and share quality research, and I was also lucky enough to co-author two manuscripts during my time with the lab. After graduating, I worked as a medical assistant in an internal medicine practice for one year, which allowed me to translate the scientific working knowledge I learned in the lab to the bedside and take on an active role in patient education. Having participated in the scientific process from both the research and clinical sides, I felt that this internship would provide me the opportunity to not only better contextualize my own understanding of the basic sciences, but also to round out my understanding in how science circulates to the real world.

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