|Interesting class leads student to 'incredible' internship
RELEASED: Aug. 12, 2004
DANVILLE, KYAbby Winterberg has had the best of both worlds this summer. She's spent a lot of her free time on the coast of Maine hiking, biking, swimming and relaxing on beautiful beaches and lakes.
But the rising Centre senior from Ryland, Ky., is also having fun indoors. Winterberg is taking part in the 2004 Summer Student Program at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. Students learn how to conduct research working on an independent, original project under the mentorship of a research scientist. The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, not-for-profit research institution dedicated to the betterment of human health.
Winterberg, a psychobiology major, is conducting research on the genetic component of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, known as NAFLD. She works closely with a cardiologist from Japan.
"The research experience has been excellent," she says. "There has been a good combination of lab work, work with animals, computer work, and writing and presenting my work. I have learned a lot from my sponsor and have gained a sense of what it's like to be a researcher."
A typical week for Winterberg is to conduct research at the lab from 9 to 5 on weekdays. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings the students gather to discuss their projects. Research scientists also speak to the students during lunch seminars. Winterberg adds that it's a diverse environment. At one point, there were people from seven different countries working in her area.
On the final day of the program, students present their results at the annual Summer Student Symposium, attended by their mentors, peers and parents.
Winterberg became interested in genetic research after taking a Centre course taught by Christine Barton, associate professor of biology. Introductory to Evolutionary Genetics (Biology 210) is a course in which students learn the basic mechanism of inheritance in individuals, the molecular basis for this genetic expression, and the mechanisms of evolution that account for genetic changes within populations.
"Dr. Barton was very enthusiastic about everything she taught and made the class so interesting for me," Winterberg says. "This led me to want to learn more about genetics."
Winterberg's advisor, Brent White, Matton Professor of Psychology, and Danny Henderson, visiting assistant professor of biology, encouraged her to apply for the program. She applied for five summer programs, with Jackson Laboratory being her first choice. White and Henderson helped with the application process and wrote letters of recommendation for her.
"They were very encouraging and helpful," she says. "Their willingness is a reflection of what I've experienced everyday with our faculty at Centre."
Winterberg plans to apply for medical school following her graduation from Centre next spring. But she'll keep busy in the year to come. Winterberg will serve as vice president of Delta Omicron, Centre's music organization. She will be a fourth-year runner and co-captain on the cross-country team and plans to run track for the third year. Winterberg is an officer in her sorority and is a member of Centre's Panhellenic Council. She'll also serve as a member of Rho Gamma, which gives leadership to incoming sorority members. She volunteers weekly at Danville's Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center and at Woodlawn Elementary School in the reading buddy program. And during CentreTerm, she'll study abroad in Russia.
For more on The Jackson Laboratory, go to http://www.jax.org/education/ssp.html.
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