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Scott Kull: The new Director of Athletics
Abigail Taylor, Contributing Writer • April 16, 2024

Wofford students gain valuable experience as summer interns

Senior+Emily+Bacher+worked+in+a+lab+at+Notre+Dame+University+that+tests+potential+antibiotics+for+diseases+such+as+tuberculosis%2C+malaria+and+breast+cancer.
Senior Emily Bacher worked in a lab at Notre Dame University that tests potential antibiotics for diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and breast cancer.

OVER 75 STUDENTS PARTICIPATED IN AN INTERNSHIP THIS PAST SUMMER —

Many consider summer internships critical for college students, whether they be pursuing corporate opportunities, medical or otherwise. Heather Huhman in a U.S. News and World Reports article explains that internships are valuable for the student because students develop specific skill sets which are not taught in the classroom. She also explains that the best way to decide whether or not the career path students are pursuing is the right fit is to engage in the work while in college. Perhaps more significantly, when trying to land a job, having an internship on your resume is oftentimes necessary. Career Coach and Director at the Space, Wofford’s Center for Professional Excellence, Jennifer Dillenger offers her perspective on internships.

“Internships are about exploration. Seeing and experiencing something new…something you see as being part of your life in the future. Be it sitting in a cubicle exploring the ends and outs of the corporate world, getting your first experience in a research setting, working with other people not your age (which is really different) and discovering whether or not that possibility you are going to check yes or check no,” says Dillenger.

According to information from the Space, upwards of 75 Wofford students and recent graduates participated in a summer internship this year in various sectors, industries, and locations. “I would guess that while 75 students are documented as having an internship, the total number is closer to 200 Wofford students with a summer internship this year,” says Dillenger.

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The Space sent three students to the Aspen Institute in Colorado and four students to the Manipal Group in India through relationships with the organizations. Other students worked with the Space or independently to coordinate opportunities across the nation and internationally. Four of those interns, Jonathan Franklin, Mariya Mohammed, Emily Bacher, and Flora Yazigi shared their summer internship experiences and how they left lasting impacts on each of them.

Junior Jonathan Franklin worked with the Bonner Foundation located in Princeton, NJ conducting research on how the Bonner Network, national organizations, and the federal government are playing a role in the issue of college access. He conducted interviews, created research documents, attended Bonner meetings (such as the High-Impact conference at Siena College), developed resources and planned how the work of the Bonner Foundation and Bonner programs across the nation can play a more intentional role.

On his experience he says, “I am thankful that I was able to intern at the Bonner Foundation because it taught me valuable skills that I am able to use in the workforce for my career after college. Additionally, I also learned how to effectively research on a particular issue and knowing how to properly conduct research can come in handy, both inside and outside of the classroom.”

For Jonathan, the internship affirmed his career plans. He hopes to pursue an opportunity at the Bonner Foundation or use the skills he learned to work in Higher Education Administration.

Senior Mariya Mohammed completed an internship in cancer biology research at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio. Her project was to test the effects of a novel anti-progestin (progesterone receptor antagonist) on the proliferation of breast cancer cells. She tested the drug on both therapy-sensitive and therapy-resistant cells, and preliminary results showed that the drug decreases cell viability of these cancerous cells and their stem cells compared to the negative control (no drug) and the positive control (a clinically used anti-progestin).

Mohammed commented, “This internship taught me a great deal about the world of biomedical research being conducted today and allowed me to participate in hands-on laboratory work – something I’ve wanted to do since coming to Wofford! In the future, I hope to utilize what I learned as a student of medicine and to continue participating in similar research.”

Senior Emily Bacher spent 10 weeks doing research in a graduate level chemistry lab at the University of Notre Dame. She researched under Dr. Marvin Miller, whose projects are focused on synthetic bioorganic chemistry. The lab synthesizes a lot of molecules that are tested as potential antibiotics for diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and breast cancer.

“My specific project focused on synthesizing novel compounds with a succinimide core and oxamazin side chain as potential antibiotics,” Bacher explains. “This experience was an exciting opportunity for me in many ways. Firstly, Notre Dame has always been my favorite school. Just having the opportunity to spend this amount of time on campus was a dream come true! Secondly, this experience really put me a step ahead on my preparations for graduate school. I plan to attend graduate school at Notre Dame after graduating from Wofford to earn my PhD in organic chemistry. Researching in this lab really gave me insight into what life as a graduate student will be like.”

Flora Yazigi
Flora Yazigi

Flora Yazigi shadowed pathologists and attended didactic lectures in research, surgery and medical ethics this summer. She assisted pathology fellows with presentations in Interdisciplinary Cancer Conferences. On her own time, her supervisor and she had the chance to work on a manuscript regarding morphological features viral infections in pediatrics. They found that viruses have distinct effects upon histologic and cellular features and when identified they can be utilized by pathologists to confirm diagnoses faster and to determine clinical management accordingly.

On her summer, she comments “This internship has been an educational experience. Most importantly, these activities introduced me to Medical Academia and its value to patient-centered care. It’s an intriguing field in which I hope to practice one day. I aspire to use the systematic diagnostic skills and medical information gained this summer in both my medical education and my practice in the future.”

These are just a few of Woffords’ students making a big impact during their summers through internships. For any Wofford students interested in learning more about opportunities like these, the Space welcomes anyone for a conference or just a casual conversation.

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