Vimbai Mawoneke ’21: MD Anderson Cancer Center

Name: Vimbai Mawoneke
Class Year: 2021
Major: Chemistry
Hometown: Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Internship Organization: MD Anderson Cancer Center
Job Title: Research Trainee
Location: Houston, Texas


What’s happening at your internship?

I am working with the Department of Cancer Systems Imaging to study the metabolomics of Glioblastoma (brain cancer) in treated, untreated and normal brain cells. My role is to analyze Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectra of the brain samples then quantitatively and qualitatively use observations to make deductions on the behavior of cancerous cells.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because of two reasons.

1. After taking organic chemistry at Bryn Mawr, one topic that stuck with me from the class was that of spectroscopy. I view spectroscopy as the bridge between theory and practice for a chemist. Theory tells us of the interaction of molecules and helps in the prediction of reactions, but spectroscopy is to me the confirmation of the existence of the molecules that theory tells me of. In this internship we use nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to analyze samples.

2. I wanted a research experience outside of Bryn Mawr. In my freshman year I shadowed in the lab of Dr. Malachowski and I enjoyed the experience very much. My mind pondered on whether this was something I could do for the rest of my life — a 9 to 5 in the lab. I saw this internship as a window of opportunity to test this.

Was this internship what you expected it to be?

My summer experience has been everything I expected it to be and more. My lab’s Principal Investigator/Mentor has gone the extra mile of setting up informational interviews with some of the faculty at MD Anderson and shadowing a neurosurgeon. Through these opportunities, I got to shadow in the operating room and clinic. I also learned more about the field of radio pharmaceuticals.

Vimbai Mawoneke

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of this internship has been rooming with Bryn Mawr women. It feels like I am still at Bryn Mawr and I couldn’t be happier. My roommates and I were fortunate enough to gain summer housing from Hannah Curry McDougald ‘10, who is part of the Bryn Mawr Club of Houston through connection with Sarah Sarnelli, who is the president of the club. We get invited to events with other alumni and this I feel has expanded my network.


Vimbai Mawoneke