SCI summer interns present research at Donor Appreciation Reception
Four young cancer researchers got to share the results of their summer internship studies on August 3 at Simmons Cancer Institute (SCI) in Springfield. The undergraduate students presented their findings to friends, family, faculty and staff of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, as well as to donors from the community who have generously supported the internship program and local cancer research through the annual Denim & Diamonds fundraiser.
The interns are:
Noah Ross, a sophomore physics major at Southern Illinois University; mentor: Poopalasingam Sivakumar, PhD
Chebem Ezenekwe, a sophomore majoring in molecular and cellular biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; mentor: Weijia Cai, PhD
Brock Sauer, a junior chemistry major at the University of Missouri; mentor: Daotai Nie, PhD
Clark Hofstrand, a junior majoring in computational biology and genomics at Washington University in St. Louis; mentor: Andrew Wilber, PhD
The paid SCI internship program was established in 2009 to provide hands-on experience for quality undergraduates. The four students were selected for the training program from a field of 22 candidates. They were able to work alongside veteran investigators, graduate students and lab technicians during an intensive two months, learning the processes and procedures used to track activities within the human body, often at the cellular level.
Dr. Don Torry, associate dean for research, introduced the students. He also thanked his faculty colleagues for sharing their time, expertise and laboratories with the interns, and he expressed gratitude to the donors for their generous support of "these budding young scientists.”
The quartet separately presented their data and then fielded questions from the audience.
Asked why they pursued such a challenging way to spend the summer, each responded that they were hoping to gain experience and insights into what could be a potential career.
Clark Hofstrand said, “I knew I was interested in research, but I wasn’t really sure of all it entailed. And I wanted to see if I enjoyed it, and lo and behold -- I do.”