June 23, 2014
College Students Begin Summer Internships at Simmons Cancer Institute Labs
Focusing on future careers in the field of medicine, three college students have started summer internships in the labs of cancer researchers at Simmons Cancer Institute at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield.
The students, who were chosen on a competitive basis, will learn basic laboratory techniques with supervision during the internship.
Emily Chesser, from Sherman, is a junior at Indiana University majoring in biology. Chesser wants to attend medical school and pursue a career in radiation oncology. “I am fascinated by how different systems work in order to ensure that the human body is functioning correctly. I also want to help people and give them hope of a cure,” she said, explaining her reasons for seeking the internship. She is assigned to Edward Gershburg, Ph.D., associate professor of medical microbiology, immunology and cell biology at SIU School of Medicine and a member of Simmons Cancer Institute, who studies Epstein-Barr Virus and explores its possible link to cancer development.
Jennifer Chou, a sophomore at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., is studying Biomedical Engineering. Chou, from Chatham, is pursuing a degree in medicine with the goal of a career as an oncologist or gynecologist. “I hope to learn some valuable hands-on research techniques and explore this exciting field beyond the classroom. Already, I feel immensely grateful for the novel experience and the people I have met,” Chou said. She is assigned to Daotai Nie, Ph.D., associate professor of medical microbiology, immunology and cell biology at SIU School of Medicine and a member of Simmons Cancer Institute, whose work is in the areas of breast and prostate cancers.
Reese Hofstrand, a junior at St. Louis University, who is majoring in Health Sciences with a minor in biology, is from Rochester. His goal is to work in emergency medicine or radiology. “I did not have a single ‘A-ha!’ moment, but a series of relatively small things have guided me in this direction,” Hofstrand said. He is working with Andrew Wilber, Ph.D., who is studying ways to reverse the cellular mutations that cause kidney cancer.
College undergraduates applied for the paid internships by submitting a current college transcript, a resume, two letters of reference from instructors and a personal statement letter describing current studies, activities and future goals.
The mission of Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU (www.siumed.edu/cancer) is to serve the people of central and southern Illinois by addressing their present and future cancer needs through education, research, patient care and community service.