Entering Eric’s Escapades

Hello dear reader! Did my title catch your attention?

My name is Eric Lee, I’m originally from New Jersey, and I’m a rising sophomore (’26) in the College of Arts and Sciences studying biochemistry and biophysics. I’m involved in research at CHOP and student government, and I enjoy playing the violin and running. Before my freshman year, I had actually written about the CASI internships in my college application’s Penn-specific essays because they seemed like such fantastic abroad opportunities. That said, I’m super excited to intern at Aravind Eye Care Systems with Achint, Ashna, and Sage this summer!

I applied to the internship at Aravind because I wanted to have my first exposure to global health through a hands-on environment. What intrigues me about India is that as a very populous country with incredible resilience despite issues like infectious diseases and water contamination, it’s one of the best environments to learn about solving global health challenges. Plus, Aravind’s hospital model has been praised all around the world as an effective public health practice for its ability to provide eye care services to the rural poor for free. I’m excited to meet the wonderful leaders behind Aravind and keep in touch with them long after the internship. I’m also excited to explore cool local organizations in my free time like Kynarou, which builds healthcare and drinking water infrastructure for Tamil Nadu’s poorest villages.

And then, there’s the amazing culture, food, and daily life of India that I’ll be fortunate enough to see for the first time! I can’t wait to visit landmarks like the Kutralam Waterfalls and Meenakshi Temple, and I’ll definitely make sure to make travel a priority during my time in India. I’m also really looking forward to observing the lives of everyone I’ll meet during my internship and how they differ from people’s lives in the United States. Because there’s so much to encounter, including multiple foreign languages, I’m a bit nervous about not fully absorbing my experiences in India or exploring everything that I want to explore. But even so, I’m confident that my co-interns and I will learn an incredible amount and make the most of our time in Tamil Nadu.

A beautiful journey starts in June. So long for now, and see you next in India!

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About elee22

Hi! My name is Eric Lee, and I'm a College student in the Class of '26 studying biochemistry and biophysics. I'm originally from New Jersey, and I've been to Asia before—but never India prior to the CASI internship! This summer (2023), I am an intern in Aravind Eye Care Systems, where I look forward to exploring the hospital's incredible Aravind Model and investigating how we can balance highly accessible community-based care (ex. cataract surgeries which anyone can receive) with highly personalized precision care (ex. treatment for patient-specific ocular cancers). In particular, I'm interested in seeing how elements of Aravind can be implemented in the United States, whose status as a rich country should promise its inhabitants greater healthcare access than what the status quo currently provides. At Penn, I'm involved in gene therapy research at CHOP, volunteer work around University City and Kensington, and student government. In my free time, I enjoy constantly meeting awesome new people in Penn's student body, going on runs, playing the violin, and staying up way too late reading. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me at elee22@sas.upenn.edu if you'd like to chat about anything!