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Internship Program Gives Students Valuable Research Experience

Photos of Josell Davis, C'13, and NgocHieu Tran, C' 13 - the first students in the Mount's Summer Research Internship Program - working in the Mount's lab. The students gained valuable experience participating in a project with Dr. Jen Staiger and Dr. Christine McCauslin.

Josell Davis, C’ 13, calls Salisbury, Maryland home, while NgocHieu Tran, C ’13, is originally from Vietnam. Although they grew up a world apart, they share a unique distinction. Josell and NgocHieu are the first two participants in the Mount’s Summer Research Internship program — which provides students with the opportunity to work one-on-one with faculty members on publication-quality research.

The pair spent the month of June seeding cells, extracting DNA and performing other experiments alongside Jen Staiger, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, and Christine McCauslin, Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology, on a project examining the mechanisms of inflammatory responses in tissue repair in the body.

“The summer gives us the opportunity to train students so they can work independently during the year when we are busy in the classroom. Having someone you trust because you trained them moves our research forward when you have less time,” Staiger says.

When she graduates from the Mount, Josell’s goal is to attend graduate program in molecular biology. “If I am to pursue a career in research, I need to have these types of experiences when I apply to grad schools.”

NgocHieu says that working in the lab gave her many opportunities to have an in-depth understanding about molecular cell biology under the guidance of her professors. The experience had another benefit — it is one more avenue to help her get into medical school someday so she can eventually go back to Vietnam and help others.

“I could perform many bio-techniques that I have learned in lectures and books,” NgocHieu says. “This internship gave me more motivation and responsibility to produce stellar work.”

“This program benefits students, faculty, and the Mount,” says David Bushman, dean of the Mount’s School of Natural Science and Mathematics. “Our students benefit from the lab experience, and the Mount is recognized for publication of quality research. It’s making a difference.”

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