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Bioscience internships reviewed

By April 7, 2018 No Comments

April 7, 2018
Temple Daily Telegram | Janice Gibbs

Catherine Vincent and Duyen Nguyen, seniors at Holy Trinity Catholic High School, have been serving as interns at the Temple Health and Bioscience District incubator this semester.

Vincent and Nguyen come to the incubator for one hour, two days a week.

Vincent, who attended the district’s board meeting on Wednesday, will be attending the University of Texas in the Dean’s Scholar’s Honors Program. She plans to have a double major in computer science and neuroscience.

“I’d like to join the Air Force as a research scientist,” she said.

Nguyen, who was at a tennis tournament Wednesday and couldn’t attend the board meeting, has plans to attend Texas A&M University and major in chemistry with the goal of a career in forensic pathology.

Vincent was drawn to the district’s incubator when she heard about NeuroFront Technology, a business headed by Dr. Jason Huang, chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Scott & White Medical Center.

“I’m interested in his development of neuroprosthetic devices for individuals with neurological diseases, such as epilepsy,” Vincent said.

Vincent said she and Nguyen were very eager to be exposed to the research-based environment of the incubator.

“We were not expecting the amount of time the staff was willing to spend with us,” she said. “They went out of their way to teach us about the district and tenants.”

The students learned how to use the 3D printer, the nanostring equipment and the Leica Microscope in the common lab.

“Your enthusiasm is infectious,” Thomas Baird, president of the Bioscience District board, told Vincent. “We’re really glad we were able to offer the internship and you were able to take advantage of it. I hope it helps jumpstart your career as you go forward.”

Tami Annable, executive director of the district, told Vincent she needed to keep the district updated as she attends college and beyond.

The district is continuing to sponsor a scholars program in the summer for college students.

This year, the Bioscience District will sponsor five students in four labs at the Olin E. Teague Veterans’ Medical Center.

Natalie Parks is a biology major at Texas Tech University and will work in Rebecca DeMorrow’s lab; Jenee Farrell is a biology and health education major at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She will be working in Heather Francis’ lab; Paul Baker of Texas State University has a biology major and will work with Gianfranco Alpini; Charley Edgar, a biology major at Texas Christian University, will work in David Dostal’s lab; and Alison Thomas, a biology major at Emory University, will work in DeMorrow’s lab.

Jennifer Graham, executive director of the Temple College Foundation, met with the board to discuss summer internship scholarships for Texas Bioscience Institute students, which the district has helped fund in the past.

In 2017, 30 students applied for the summer internship program and 20 were selected, four dropped out, Graham said.

She used the additional $4,000 to fund scholarships for dual-credit students.

Dual-credit students — high school students taking college level classes where hours from the class goes toward both high school and college credits — don’t qualify for federal or state financial aid, she said.

“That keeps a bunch of kids out dual-credit classes,” she said.

There were four students who weren’t going to be able to continue at TBI because of the expense.

“We went ahead and used the money to fund those students’ fall 2017 TBI classes,” Graham said.

The TBI interns in 2017 did internships in science and technology. The research partners include the city of Killeen, Texas A&M Health Science Center, Texas A&M University-Central Texas, Texas A&M University AgriLife, the VA, Baylor Scott & White, Center of Applied Health Research and University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

The intern research topics ranged from Breaking Dormancy of Johnson Grass Seeds and The Efficacy of TCIC on Human Glioblastoma Cells.
There is a student now pursuing upper-level degrees based on the topic of their high school internships, Graham said.

Graham is seeking $15,000 from the district, the same amount as last year, and she’s asking for funding to help pay the tuition for dual-credit students.

She was asked to come back and report to the board the final amount she’ll need for internships and reimbursement for tuition required of dual-credit students.

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