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Practicum Experience Essay

Practicum Reflection Essay

Andrew Miller

During my time at the National Institutes of Health, my experience revolved around shadowing and learning from the biologists and research fellows of the Laboratory of Transplantation Immunotherapy. A family friend, Dr. Richard Childs allowed for me to shadow at the lab in which he is in charge of. He connected me with the lab manager, Robert Reger, and allowed for me to shadow despite him being in Africa die to the Ebola outbreak. The main focus of this lab is to look at the potential natural killer (NK) cells have in killing cancer cells. Most of my time was spent watching and learning from the lab manager, Robert Reger. Mr. Reger took his time to teach and help me familiarize myself with the lab instruments. While I could not handle most lab instruments because of lack of qualifications, Mr. Reger showed me how he used them in his lab work. This included understanding how to use a pipette, various microscopes, flow cytometry, and other lab processes. His research revolved around culturing and looking at how natural killer cells reproduce and grow in different environments.

Another one of his duties is blood sample processing for NK cell expansion and research. In this process, the blood is diluted with phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) and ficoll beforehand. This allows for the blood to be layered when put through a centrifuge for 25 minutes. When the sample has finished going through the centrifuge, it comes out layered, as shown below. Once this is done, the ficoll, which is toxic to the NK cells, is suctioned out along with the waste at the bottom of the tube. The sample is then put through the centrifuge for 8 more minutes and washed again. Once washed again, dimethyl sulfoxide is added to prevent contraction and expansion of the cells once frozen. Once this is done, the sample is frozen and saved. These samples are used for research purpose. They provide a source of NK cells for research and also keep the blood on record.

The research laboratory works in conjunction with the hematology clinic. At the clinic, patients with a blood disorder, commonly associated with cancer, are treated. After each visit to the clinic, a sample of the blood from the patient is sent to the Laboratory of Transplantation Immunotherapy. Here the blood is processed and sampled. This allows for the lab to extract natural killers cells from the blood and culture the cells, which are used for research.

Beyond the lab, I also visited the clinic department. Here, I shadowed Dr. Enkhtsetseg Purev, a clinical fellow. In the clinic, I was able to see how Dr. Purev interacts and works with the patients. While I mainly shadowed her, I also spoke with and learned from the other doctors, fellows, nurses, and pharmacists. A central component to the clinical work was collaboration. Each person was vital to assisting the patient and provided valuable information. While I was merely watching, every person in the room was working with the patient to make him or her feel safe and healthier.

The research laboratory works in conjunction with the hematology clinic. At the clinic, patients with a blood disorder, commonly associated with cancer, are treated. After each visit to the clinic, a sample of the blood from the patient is sent to the Laboratory of Transplantation Immunotherapy. Here the blood is processed and sampled. This allows for the lab to extract natural killers cells from the blood and culture the cells, which are used for research. Within the lab, graduate students, scientists, and doctors collaborated their individual work and research.

The biggest issue I faced during my time at the NIH was my lack of qualification. Beyond biology class, I had little to no knowledge in hematology. Every person in the lab and clinic, however, had numerous years of studying and experience. At first, this intimidated me. The last thing I wanted to do was to be a burden. This fear, however, was ill founded and soon vanished. Every person in the lab was understanding and took as much time as was needed for me to fully understand what was going on. The fellows from the clinic also took care to make sure I understood the circumstance of each patient and how they plan on treating them. Beyond the ample support and care from the doctors and scientists, I also did my own research. During the down time, I was given various scientific papers and textbooks to read and study. While this was time consuming, it did help me gain a lot better idea of what exactly I was seeing and how important it is to the scientific community.

This practicum is something I would never give up. While it does not pertain to my major specifically, it has given me an experience that I most likely will never get to have again. Not only was able to see state of the art research in action but I also had a personal connection. My grandmother is currently using medicine that came from the same lab I shadowed to treat her cancer. To be able to experience where this medicine originated and how its effects are positively impacting the world is beautiful. I also learned more about the immune system and how it is studied in real life. While the practicum has not changed my career path it has changed my perspective on the amount of dedication and work doctors put in to help others. It has humbled me and taught me life lessons, such as to take every challenge, that I will never forget.

Last modified: 12 May 2015

University of the Philippines in the Visayas

Tacloban College

Into the Shoes of a CPA

A 150-hour practicum experience as a requirement in

BA 123 course Ð'- Public Accounting Office


What I expect to get from the Practicum

When Professor Bernadette Lorenzo, our BA 123 (Public Accounting Office) adviser told us to look for accounting firms for our practicum, I got excited because I never had the experience to work in an office or company before. Practicum is defined as a school or college course, especially one in a specialized field of study that is designed to give students supervised practical application of previously studied theory.

The first firm that popped into my mind was SGV. Maybe I could work in Cebu or Manila. Yet I thought I was being ambisyosa. There are many accounting firms here in Tacloban anyway, but I fear I won't learn something worthwhile. I asked some of the Management students who have undergone practicum and some of them told me that all they did was file documents, encode or even make coffees for employees! Although they have a different degree program, I feared that their experiences would be the same with what I was about to face.

But somehow, I was hoping for optimistic things in this undertaking. I was looking forward to experiencing what a CPA really does or at least a part and parcel of what they really do. According to Valix in his Financial Accounting book, Certified Public Accountants generally practice their profession in three main areas, namely Public Accounting, Private Accounting and Government Accounting.

Public Accountants usually offer three kinds of services Ð'- Auditing, Taxation, and Management Advisory Services. Ricchiute defines Auditing as a systematic process of objectively obtaining and evaluating evidence regarding assertions about economic actions and events to ascertain the degree of correspondence between those assertions and established criteria and communicating the results to interested users. Taxation services involves the preparation of tax returns and determination of tax consequences of certain proposed business endeavors, while Management Advisory Services, as defined by Roque, is the function of providing professional advisory services, the primary of which is to improve the client's use of capabilities and resources to achieve the objectives of the organization.

A CPA is practicing Private Accounting when s/he is employed in a business enterprise as an accounting staff, chief accountant, internal auditor, or controller.

Government Accounting encompasses the process of accounting transactions involving the receipt and disposition of government funds and property and interpreting the results the results thereof.

From among these three major areas of the Accountancy Profession, I was looking forward to doing public accounting, specifically auditing and taxation services. I also wanted to do bookkeeping because it is the "how" of accounting, so to speak. It is concerned with the development and maintenance of accounting records.

I was also thinking of dressing up in executive attire walking from one institution to another doing transactions for our clients. I was imagining sitting down in my office desk doing paper works and all that stuff. But the most important of all the things I was anticipating was that this experience would enhance my sense of responsibility and dedication towards work, build relationships with the people that I will work with, and boost my morale as an individual. This total package, I believe, would aid me in my endeavors as a Certified Public Accountant.


What I experienced and learned

About FSF Accounting FirmÐ'...

My experience in the training was far beyond from my pessimisms. I learned a lot, most especially in the field of taxation and bookkeeping where I was assigned. Thanks to FSF & company accounting firm.

FSF stands for Fua, Sales, Fabila. These are the surnames of the founders of the said firm. Its office is located in Melecio Tan Bldg, Salazar Street in the downtown area of Tacloban. It was the youngest among the accounting firms in the city. The managing partner is Sir Telesforo Sales. Most of its clients are cooperatives.

Eleven of us in our class chose FSF because one of our classmates was a friend of Mr. Sales. We started working in the last week of December and we have to complete a total of a hundred and fifty hours for the whole course of the training.

Sir Sales assigned each one of us a particular client to work on. He gave us all the necessary files and documents and gave us instructions on what to do. XMB Great foods was assigned to me together with another classmate, Kristine Pelingon. Hand In hand, we did the bookkeeping stuff and Taxation.

Working with XMB Great FoodsÐ'...

XMB Great foods is a merchandising company Ð'- both a wholesaler and a retailer of well-renowned products of processed foods. It is a single proprietorship owned and managed by Mr. Alex Belleza, located at Apitong, Tacloban. The business started in the mid 2006. Since it was just starting, it kept no books. It just filed official and delivery receipts, invoices, cash remittance reports and other source documents. With this kind of system, we needed to organize books for the firm. We had to record everything from July 2006 to January 2007. Not only that, we also needed to file income tax return for the third quarter and file percentage tax returns from July. Also, XMB had not yet applied for the renewal of business permit for the year 2007.


The first thing I did was to make a chart of accounts. A Chart of Accounts is the listing of all the accounts and their account numbers in the ledger. I followed the format of another company and an illustration in an intermediate accounting textbook. In the following days, Kristine and I worked on journalizing. Journalizing is a chronological recording of the entity's transactions. Before we did that, we first looked at discrepancies between source documents and remittance reports to ascertain accurate recording. The books that we created for the firm were the sales journal, purchases, cash receipts, cash disbursements, and the general journal.


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