CHOC’s MI3 Internship Program: A Life-Changing Experience for a Teen Innovator

Experience gained during a CHOC innovation internship is already paying off for one high school student.


Karishma Muthukumar, 17, has applied the skills and knowledge cultivated during her participation in CHOC’s Sharon Disney Lund Medical Intelligence and Innovation Institute (MI3) internship program to develop a medical innovation of her own.

She created OutLoud, an emoji-based communication board for paralyzed patients who cannot move or communicate except through eye movements. OutLoud relies on brain-computer interface technology and artificial intelligence to enable users to select emojis that express their language and feelings.

Karishma conceived the idea while volunteering in a brain injury center after her first year as an MI3 intern.

The internship program allows high school and college students to explore the field of innovative health care specific to pediatrics. Interns get the chance to meet weekly with mentors to explore new innovations and updates occurring within the medical field. They can shadow physicians on clinical rounds and participate in field trips to medically evolving research labs and museums.

“Before attending CHOC’s MI3 internship program, I didn’t even know the definition of artificial intelligence,” Karishma says. “It gave me an opportunity to expand my ideas and learn about new medical innovations.”

An environment so conducive to learning, innovating and creating set the stage for Karishma to develop her own innovation.  And next, the internship program provided her with a platform to present the concept to other innovators at Pediatrics 2040, an annual conference founded by CHOC that explores innovations and trends in medicine.

The experience led Karishma to be named a 2018 Young Innovators to Watch through a national scholarship program sponsored by Living in Digital Times and Lenovo. As a winner, she earned a trip to the world’s largest trade show—the Consumer Electronics Show—in Vegas, where she presented OutLoud .

And not only did CHOC propel Karishma as an innovator, but it’s also influenced her future career plans: She hopes one day to become a pediatric neurologist.

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