Six NMSU students intern at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

New Mexico State University and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have had a long-standing relationship researching cancer. Last year, this effort was backed by a $9 million grant from the National Cancer Institute, which includes the training of future cancer researchers. This summer, six NMSU students are interning at the FHCRC in Seattle. Here is what they expect to learn and contribute:

 

Connor W. Wagner, Genetics

Name: Connor W. Wagner, Genetics.

Why did you decide to apply for this internship?
My sister is a cancer survivor and her life was saved due to the type of research conducted by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Since her diagnosis, I have had an interest in cancer research and this internship provides an amazing opportunity to explore this interest.

What do you expect to learn?
I see this internship strengthening me in many different ways. I will certainly learn new techniques and skills, but more importantly I will learn how to conduct medical research. The entire experience will allow me to determine if I have the passion needed to pursue a career in medical research.

What are your future plans?
One of my career goals is to pursue master’s and doctorate degree in molecular biology/genetics and then specialize in a field related to human disease. I would like to attend medical school at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

How will this internship help you achieve your goals?
This internship provides an opportunity to gain valuable research experience and to gain insight into what makes a great medical researcher. The most important thing that I will gain from this internship is the relationships that I build with the Hutchinson Center’s faculty and other FHCRC interns.

Meghan Gerry, Kinesiology

Name: Meghan Gerry, Kinesiology

How will this internship help you achieve your goals?
This internship will help me build my professional skills and allow me to better myself for future research.

What do you expect to learn?
I hope to learn new ways to reduce the incidence and mortality of cancer by focusing on interventions with physical activity and dieting. I also hope to gain new interpersonal relationships with the other summer interns, and all other people at the Fred Hutchinson Center. I am so excited to soak up as much information as I can during the internship.

What will you be working on in your internship?
During my internship I will be working with Kerryn Reding’s research group to focus on interventions for improving dietary and exercise habits among women at a high risk of breast cancer.

What are you looking forward to?
I am really looking forward to expanding my knowledge of exercise and diet through data analysis. I love learning about the human body and how it reacts to changes in exercise and diet and I am interested in applying these concepts toward real-life situations.

Lauren Mercer, Kinesiology

Name: Lauren Mercer, Kinesiology

Why did you decide to apply for this internship?
A friend who was a past intern spoke very highly of the program. After doing some research, I was very interested in applying.

How will this internship help you achieve your goals?
This internship will give me the tools to develop critical thinking skills and learn to apply the scientific process to problems relevant to public health.

What advice do you have for future applicants?
Put a lot of thought into the personal statement and to revise it several times. It is important to turn all the paper work in at a timely fashion and to stay connected with both entities.

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Name: Mayra Lovas, graduate student, Public Health

What are your future plans?
I want to get a job in public health when I return from Seattle to gain experience before applying for a doctorate degree.

How will this internship help you achieve your goals?
This internship will make me a stronger public health professional, allowing me to gain experience I would otherwise not have the opportunity to get. I will learn ways to analyze data that is obtained in the field and also to present it professionally in a competitive poster session.

What will you be working on in your internship?
I will be working on conceptualization and analysis of qualitative data regarding obesity in adolescents from a community in the Yakima Valley.

What are you looking forward to?
I am looking forward to meeting new friends, the networking opportunities, professional development and living in the Pacific Northwest for the summer.

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Name: Swati Somuri, graduate student, Public Health

What are your future plans?
I have always wanted to become a primary care physician and now more than ever with a public health and nutrition background. My personal and professional interests in preventive care and health (i.e. nutrition, physical activity and public health) will guide me as a physician. I hope to make a difference in people’s lives through prevention and building healthier lifestyles.

How will this internship help you achieve your goals?
This internship will help fine tune my public health research skills particularly in program development, implementation and evaluation. I think developing a stronger background in public health will provide me with a unique perspective on health as I pursue my future career goals.

What do you expect to learn?
This is an opportunity that doesn’t come along often and I will take full advantage of it to become a more skilled public health researcher and specialist. My mentor at the Fred Hutchinson Center, Rachel Ceballos, focuses on the role of psychosocial factors on biobehavioral outcomes of chronic diseases. I believe my interests in behavioral factors on chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer were matched perfectly with Dr. Ceballos’ research focus! Based on what I know about my mentor, I know I will expand my knowledge and public health skills

What will you be working on during your internship?
I will be working under Rachel Ceballos on her research, which is focused on coping with the emotional stressors among Latino or African-American breast cancer survivors. I have a brief idea of what I will be doing, but I am excited to work on a new project that I am unfamiliar with. I have previously been focused on nutrition and physical activity and I think this will be a great opportunity to broaden my horizons within public health.

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Name: Monica Salazar, graduate student, Animal Science

What do you expect to learn?
I expect to learn a variety of protocols used at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center including immunohistochemistry procedures. I also anticipate being exposed to many different aspects of research to further expand my knowledge of science as a whole. I will be working with breast cancer tissue, using immunohistochemistry to probe for membrane progesterone receptors during the internship.

What are you looking forward to?
I am looking forward to exploring new research and a new city. I decided to apply to this internship because my current research at New Mexico State University focuses on elucidating the role that membrane progesterone receptors play in breast cancer. As a result, this internship will provide me great insight into breast cancer biology.

What are your future plans?
My plan is to attend veterinary school and study small animal medicine. Working in the laboratory of a pathologist will greatly enhance my understanding of methodologies to study normal and diseased tissues in concert with strengthening my application for veterinary school.

 


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