Bailey Heinzen '15 is an intern this summer for the Stark Neuroscience Institute in Indianapolis.
Students linked to exclusive research, valuable career preparation as part of new internship program
July 24, 2014
Bailey Heinzen ’15 is gaining valuable career preparation at a leading biochemistry research lab that most undergraduates will never experience.
“We don’t traditionally work with interns, especially not undergraduate students,” says Dr. Quyen Hoang, a principal investigator in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. “The work we do on degenerative diseases requires a significant amount of experience and expertise, and the equipment is expensive and fragile.
“Bailey had great credentials, and I recognized her passion for the research we do,” he says.
Heinzen, a Biochemistry major, is one of nearly 30 Earlham students selected for competitive, high-impact paid internships this summer as part of the new Indiana Pathways program, which is supported by a five-year, $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc. “Pathways” is the latest program to increase the number of internships the College already supports nationally and internationally.
“I’m doing real research,” says Heinzen of her internship that is organized by the Stark Neuroscience Research Institute. “I also get to say that I’ve been an intern at the IU School of Medicine, one of the best medical schools in the country. That’s going to be huge in helping me find a job after graduation.”
Chance to participate in exclusive research
Sydney McBride’s ’15 internship is contributing to research on Bohring-Opitz Syndrome that is exclusive to the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research, also on IU Medical Center’s campus.
“We’re inducing mice with this disease and learning what genes and proteins are active in the mice,” says McBride. “The main goal is to find information to move this research to clinical trials and come up with a treatment for the skeletal disease in children.
“We’re the only lab in the world working on this,” she says. “I feel very lucky as an undergraduate to be a part of such a big important project as well.”
McBride is one of two Earlhamites at the Wells Center’s internship program. Ekaterina Korobkina ’16 is working at a microbiology and immunology lab.
“It’s research in a real lab setting,” Korobkina says. “It’s not the same as doing research in college for three hours. It’s every day from 9-5, sometimes longer.
“I get to see things I’ve never seen before and perform new lab techniques,” she says. “I was able to do them first under supervision and now I’m able to do them myself.”
Unlike other interns at the Wells Center, McBride and Korobkina didn’t need to learn the western blot, a scientific technique used to measure proteins.
“My post-doc mentor was surprised that I already knew how to do it because most incoming graduate school students have never seen one of these before,” McBride says. “I didn’t think it was that odd because Earlham has you do it your first semester of your sophomore year.”
Internships that fit personal passions, goals
Apart from medical research sites, Earlhamites had the opportunity to gain valuable experience working at museums, environmental centers, nonprofits and government offices in cities across the state.
Soren Rasmussen ’16, a Chemistry and History double major, is interning at the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s conservation science lab, one of the few museum-based labs across the Midwest.
For the aspiring scientist who has an interest in living in the Midwest after graduation, the internship has been an invaluable experience.
“Without Earlham’s help it would have been hard to get into this program,” Rasmussen says. “I’m not sure this internship would even exist if not for the collaboration between the museum and Earlham.”
Rasmussen is studying preservation techniques related to African artist El Anatsui’s metal wall sculpture, “Duvor.”
“Most of what I’m working on this summer is understanding this piece and making sure that we can display it in a way that isn’t going to cause it to change noticeably over time,” he says.
At the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Francesca Ducanes ’16 is investigating ways to enhance the family experience at exhibits across the picturesque museum located in Indianapolis’ White River State Park.
“This ties in perfectly to my interests,” the Human Development and Social Relations major says. I’m very interested in seeing other avenues or ways we can teach children beyond the traditional classroom in schools.
“That’s my overall goal with this internship,” she says. “I’m taking away a lot of human relation experiences with visitors, staff members and the community to help not only the museum but also myself.”
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Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success. Earlham is one of only 40 national liberal arts colleges ranked among U.S. News and World Reports' "Great Schools at a Great Price."
Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at (765) 983-1256 and email@example.com.