In summer 2009 I was offered an internship at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences through their Center for Diversity Affairs. I’d never been in a lab before, but was fortunate to be assigned to work with Dr. Alexei Basnakian, a professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Dr. Basnakian put me to work collecting data for a research project involving human vascular endothelial cells. My work produced direct evidence about the role played by a DNA-degrading enzyme, Endonuclease G, in cellular damage. I became a co-author on an abstract submitted to the Arkansas Biosciences Institute fall symposium, which led to publication of a full article in the American Journal of Physiology.
The next summer I was selected by the University of Alabama at Birmingham for International Health Research training in Jamaica. I worked with the Jamaican Ministry of Health, visiting various hospitals and interviewing patients and their families on their knowledge, attitudes, and practices concerning vector-borne diseases, notably malaria and dengue fever. In 2011, after a highly competitive application process, I was selected to participate in the Summer Internship Program at Johns Hopkins University in the Pulmonary and Critical Care Division where I was assigned to work with Dr. Emmanuelle Clerisme-Beaty. We found evidence that patients’ race and gender, underlying lung disease, and testing location impact our ability to interpret results of pulmonary function test quality. Being a member of the Honors College has enhanced my understanding of the importance of civic responsibility through research.
Did You Know?
The Schedler Honors College Campaign is raising funds to grow the endowment for TAG, URGE and ELF. This will ensure that Honors students have ongoing opportunities for global study, undergraduate research and creativity.