Friday, December 23, 2011

Biology major heading off to physician assistant school

We are entering an exciting time of year as our students start hearing about acceptances into health professional schools and graduate schools.  Our earliest news is about Biology senior Charlie Davis ('12), who recently heard that he has been accepted into the physician assistant program at the University of Mount Union.  Charlie says that:

I feel that the biology and chemistry professors were instrumental in my academic preparation and admission into graduate school. I am grateful for my time here at AU and I look forward to continuing my education in Mount Union's Physician Assistant graduate program. 
Charlie is now our second student in two years to head off to PA school.  Check back over the next few months to read more news about our upcoming graduates.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Forensic biology major receives award to travel to national science conference

Lynette Vana, a Junior majoring in Biology with a concentration in Forensic Biology, has received an Undergraduate Travel Award from the Society of Toxicology to attend their 2012 national meeting in San Francisco.  Lynette was one of 36 recipients in the nation, and the second Ashland University student in the past three years to gain this recognition.  This award will cover all of her expenses to attend one of the most significant meetings in the field of toxicology, along with special programming to help undergraduate students develop careers in this diverse science field.

Lynette spent last summer in a research internship at WIL Research Laboratories in Ashland, Ohio, and is currently conducting independent research with biology professor Mason Posner.  She is planning a career in federal law enforcement as a forensic scientist.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Q & A with Savannah Frank, AU Biology Alumna and Quality Engineer at MillerCoors

Biology graduate Savannah Frank recently answered some of our questions about her career path since graduating in 2009. We plan to post similar stories about other science alumni in the future, so keep checking back.

Describe your experiences while a student of the science program here at Ashland University.

My experience while in the science program was extremely intriguing and hands-on. I credit this to the small class size and passionate professors and faculty that placed a great deal of emphasis on interaction with their students. The wide variety of course options only increased my love for the sciences and really helped me gain a broad yet in depth knowledge of the scientific world. While at Ashland, I developed longstanding relationships with my fellow classmates as well as professors that I still keep in touch with.

What is your present occupation? What types of things do you do in your work? What interesting projects or significant achievements have you been part of?

I work for MillerCoors as a Quality Engineer in the Trenton, Ohio brewery. Our laboratory is split up into two different work groups, Product Release and Fermentation. Both work groups utilize analytical as well as microbiological skill sets and knowledge. We test from the beginning of the process as the raw materials come into the plant, all the way through the finished product in the bottle or can. While working in the Quality Department, we support a brewing projects as far as new recipes, new malt, new hops and so on. By far, the most interesting part of my position is being a Certified Taste Tester. The beer is tasted at four points throughout the brewing process and each individual tank is tasted before we release it to consumers. I also just completed a certification course and am now a Certified Brewer, and represented our department at the industry-wide conference in Minneapolis.

What role did your education at AU play in your seeking out your current occupation?

My education at AU was extremely diversified in terms of the subjects studied. During the interview process at MillerCoors, my interviewers were impressed at how well our Biology and Chemistry Departments worked together and utilized one another.

What advice do you have for current AU science majors?

Take advantage of classes that provide exposure to analytical instrumentation such as HPLCs, Gas Chromatography, pH meters, spectrophotometry, etc. Along with an arsenal of microbiological knowledge, having these combined skill sets is a definite crowd pleaser with hiring departments. Also take advantage of research opportunities with the great faculty at AU. These types of projects really help to hone in on your independent work skills that will benefit you in the long run.

What career advice can you give to future graduates of the AU science program?

Firstly, NETWORK! I got my first laboratory position before graduation because I was simply talking about my education while sitting in a restaurant. It really helps to talk to people about what your career and life goals are. Secondly, prepare for interviews. My advice is to sit down and actually write out your responses to the most common interview questions. Know your weaknesses and strengths, be able to explain some difficult situations you have been and how you've handled it. I felt that when I would go over my interview questions the night before, I would communicate more freely and not be stumbling for words because I already knew what I wanted to say. The interviewer has your resume in front of them (most likely), you don't want to just repeat what they already know. Have stories fresh in your brain so that you keep their attention, making it more of a conversation rather than an interrogation.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Summer Medical Dental Education Program

Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) is a FREE (full tuition, housing, and meals) six-week summer academic enrichment program that offers freshman and sophomore college students intensive and personalized medical and dental school preparation. SMDEP is implemented at 12 program sites across the nation. Program sites vary on how they deliver each of these required components and when the programs begin. Applicants are encouraged to review program site information before completing application.
Program offerings include Academic enrichment in the basic sciences (organic chemistry, physics, biology) and pre-calculus/calculus, Career development, Learning-skills seminar, Limited clinical exposure and a Financial-planning workshop.
Please see program website for more information including eligibility requirements and application.
Deadline to submit application is March 1, 2012.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The holidays are for finding summer research internships

AU research students in summer of 2010, many of whom are in research jobs,  graduate school, or pursuing health careers.
With finals around the corner it may be hard to think about plans for the holidays, but the next month will be a great time to find summer research internships.  These positions will pay you and provide room and board to conduct research at locations all around the country, offering important experiences for future job searching, or admission to graduate school and professional schools like medical and physical therapy school.  Last summer five AU students conducted research off-campus, with another thirteen working in Kettering Science Center labs.

We are adding information on various summer research positions to this blog all the time.  You can find them by clicking on the Summer Research Internships topics link to the right.  This link will also bring up stories on students that have done summer research in the past, like Lynette Vana and Brandon Barnes, who both worked at WIL Research Laboratories last summer.  Or Lindsey Knapp, who performed research in brain development in Washington DC, or Gina Laginya, who not only did research in neonatal medicine at Metro Health in Cleveland in the Chester Scholars Program, but got to shadow doctors and help care for babies in the neonatal intensive care unit.  And Marie Southerland spent a second summer at Marshall University doing research into cystic fibrosis.

Most summer research programs have application deadlines in February.  That makes the holiday break a good time to complete and submit applications before the spring semester begins.  You will typically need one or two letters of recommendation, so talk with professors to line those up before the holiday break.  Check back with this blog for updates and check out the listing of National Science Foundation funded programs across the country.

And as always, talk to your faculty advisor if you need help or have questions.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

2012 Summer Internships for Undergraduate Students

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sponsors a 10-week summer internship program (May -August 2012) for rising juniors and seniors majoring in homeland security related science, technology, engineering and mathematics (HS-STEM) disciplines. The DHS HS-STEM Summer Internship Program provides students with the opportunity to conduct research in DHS mission-relevant research areas at federal research facilities located across the country.

The goal of this program is to engage a diverse, educated, and skilled pool of scientists and engineers in HS-STEM issues and to promote long-term relationships between student researchers, the DHS Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate, and federal research facilities to enhance the HS-STEM workforce.

Please see program website for additional details including Stipend, Application & Selection Process, Participation, Logistics and Eligibility. Application deadline is January 5, 2012.