Biology students at Caldwell University are given the opportunity to take part in summer enrichment programs and internships at prestigious hospitals.
Student Veronica Guirguis spent the summer interning at the world-renowned teaching and biomedical hospital, Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.
Students Shanice Edwards and Roksana Korbi were selected for the Premedical Urban Leaders Summer Enrichment Program at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University.
Guirguis, a sophomore, was grateful to have the chance to work with “brilliant people” including Dr. Christopher Heaney, associate professor in the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins, and Dr. Barbara Detrick, a professor of pathology at the JH University School of Medicine, and a Caldwell University alumna. Guirguis also appreciated the introduction to virology provided by John Hooks, Ph.D. of the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health.
Guirguis was on a team that researched “Detection of IL-6 in Hepatitis E Virus Infection.” “We found that IL-6 is upregulated in HEV infection which participates in inflammation,” she said.
Caldwell University’s Natural and Physical Sciences Department prepared her well for the internship. When she started working with petri dishes at JH she said, “I”ve got this. I’ve been prepared for this,” recalling how she had learned about plate pouring techniques in Caldwell Science Professor Agnes Berki’s labs. The internship gave her a “confidence boost” and she appreciated being able to network with professionals.
It was the third year that Caldwell students were selected to participate in the JH Bloomberg School of Public Health Diversity Summer Internship Program. Dr. Detrick formed the partnership between Caldwell and Johns Hopkins.
Edwards and Korbi spent six weeks at the PULSE program, which gives undergraduate students interested in healthcare exposure to the medical professions. The forum focused on urban health and provided academic, clinical, research and service learning opportunities. “I was honored and privileged to be accepted into such a rigorous and prestigious program,” said Edwards. “My favorite workshop was the suturing workshop and the simulation labs where we pretended to be doctors,” said Korbi.
Edwards said it was especially rewarding to learn about Camden and help the city through volunteering at the non-profit organization Ronald McDonald House where she did activities with children ages 16 and under.
Korbi volunteered at The Neighborhood Center, a non-profit organization aimed at helping families get out of poverty. She and her group did research on the urban farm located at the back of the center. “Our goal was to increase awareness so people could go and get free fresh food from the farm and live healthier lives,” said Korbi. The program culminated with a symposium where students highlighted their research for family, friends and guests.
The students said they now have a clearer vision of the steps they will need to plan for advanced studies or medical school.
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