|15-year Centre tradition: internships at the University of Arizona
RELEASED: Jan. 20, 2005
DANVILLE, KYJennie Lesshafft and Brittani Eiseman are the latest Centre College students to benefit from an internship established by one of their professors and a Centre graduate 15 years ago.
Biology professor Peggy Richey worked with Centre alumna Martha Hawes, professor of plant pathology at the University of Arizona, to set up the program in 1990. Centre has sent one or two students nearly every year since then for hands-on work in a major research lab.
Lesshafft, from Louisville, Ky., and Eiseman, from Lakeside Park, Ky., are spending their CentreTerm at the University of Arizona working with Dr. David Gang's lab, studying biosynthetic pathways that produce flavones in sweet basil.
"Working in the Gang lab has given me more confidence in my ability to do research," says Lesshafft who, like Eiseman, is a biochemistry and molecular biology major: "This is my first experience doing independent research and it's very challenging but very self-empowering. The lab courses I've taken at Centre have taught me the techniques and skills that I use daily in my internship."
Richey says, "I think this has been a wonderful program for our students. In several cases, this research internship has been critical in students' decisions to pursue careers in research, and their work at Arizona has been critical in helping them get into a good graduate program. Some students, after this internship, decided that research was not the path that they wanted to take, so this internship was valuable to them, too.
"Centre's Career Services office has always been very supportive of this internship," Richey adds, "by providing funding for transportation and/or housing. Lesshafft and Eiseman both received Internship Plus grants from Centre to pay for their housing."
Internships are an integral part of the Centre Commitment, which guarantees students an internship, study abroad, and graduation in four years. Internship Plus provides a stipend for certain internships.
While research is the focus of Eiseman's and Lesshafft's Arizona adventure, it's not all work and no play, according to Lesshafft. "Brittani and I are having a great time in Arizona,"she reports. "We bought cowboy hats on the first night we went out, so now we fit in perfectly."
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