From performing autopsies to preserving nature, students intern during CentreTerm
January 6, 2011 By Leigh Cocanougher
the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission. “I’d like to
become familiar with certain methods by which conservation
experts can promote healthy ecosystems,” he says.
Although Centre College’s three-week January term enables students to delve intensively into one subject, it also provides the opportunity for students to gain real-life work experience during month-long, full-time internships. Each CentreTerm, dozens of students spend eight hours a day interning in everything from marketing to scientific research to accounting.
(Internships are guaranteed under the terms of the Centre Commitment. To learn more, click here.)
While many internships take place in Danville or nearby cities in Kentucky, some allow students to travel across the country—or around the globe. This January, nearly 10 students will live and intern in a foreign country; destinations include Shanghai and Beijing, China; Merida, Mexico; and Malawi, Africa.
Other students will be traveling around the nation to complete their internships, living in cities such as Salt Lake City; Westminster, Md.; Lafayette, La.; Tuscan, Ariz.; and Birmingham, Ala.
But students don’t need to travel far to experience stimulating internships.
In her hometown of Louisville, Jasmin Kaeser ’11 will be spending the month interning in the State of Kentucky Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (who is also a Centre alum).
With plans to study forensic science in graduate school, Kaeser jumped at the chance to work in the field during CentreTerm. “It sounded like a great opportunity,” she says. “It's been really neat so far, especially when you see your case in the paper the next day and know you helped capture a criminal.”
Kaesar begins each morning assisting with autopsies.
“The number varies every day, and some take longer than others, but we’re usually done by lunch, at which point I help out with filing or histology work in the lab,” she says. “One of the medical examiners also does animal necropsies, so every once in a while we get pets or even zoo animals that we have to dissect, which is pretty cool.”
Taking a course in vertebrate morphology at Centre last term has helped Kaeser understand much of the technical terminology used to describe what has happened to the bodies being autopsied.
Dallas Selvy ’12 of Prospect, Ky., will also be completing an internship in Louisville during CentreTerm. Through an internship at the Legal Aid Society, she hopes to achieve her goal of helping others.
“I was inspired to apply for the internship because I’m considering law school after graduating from Centre and because I also have an interest in public policy,” she says. “I really want to be able to help people, and Legal Aid is the perfect place to see firsthand how law can help the most disadvantaged people in our community.”
Selvy will spend much of her time writing grants and assisting with fundraising efforts, though she will also have the opportunity to attend court hearings with a family law attorney a few times each week.
She says that she’s looking forward to these courtroom visits, as well as to seeing how on a day-to-day basis members of the community are positively impacted by Legal Aid.
“One day, for example, I was able to assist an elderly couple in finalizing their will by being a witness to the will’s being notarized, and although it wasn’t much, simply signing the witness line was an experience I appreciated,” she says. “I was able to connect on a personal level with people who without Legal Aid wouldn’t have the funds for legal services.”
Heading to Frankfort for his CentreTerm internship, Pavan Podapati ’11 of Lexington, Ky., will spend the month working with the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission.
“I’ve become interested in studying existing conservation efforts within and around Appalachia,” he says, “and decided to look for opportunities to help the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission. I’m curious about nature conservation efforts that focus largely on plant communities in barrens ecosystems, and I’d like to become familiar with certain methods by which conservation experts can promote healthy ecosystems—for example, using prescribed burns to allow certain fire-adapted plant species, which may be involved in various ecological interactions with other surrounding flora/fauna, to release their seeds.”
Podapati says that unlike most students he knows, he is looking forward to being outdoors during January.
“It’s a chance for me to actually participate directly in a career related to ecological restoration and learn a great deal about specific conservation efforts geared toward fire-adapted ecosystems,” he explains. “There’s also a lot of opportunities to look into research on some cool plant species, as well as being able to participate in a prescribed burn after my work is done.”
To learn more about CentreTerm, click here.