Sydney Kim ’20: Biology Research Intern, Merrimack College

Name: Sydney Kim
Class Year: 2020
Major: Biology
Hometown: Westford, Mass.

Internship Organization: Merrimack College
Job Title: Summer Research Intern
Location: North Andover, Mass.

What’s happening at your internship?

This summer I am a summer research intern at Merrimack College. I am working directly with Professor Michael Piatelli in the Biology department. Along with another student, we are working on research projects focused on bacterial growth and the effects antibiotics have on growth. More specifically, I will focus this summer on three projects. One will use microbiology lab techniques to identify the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and the minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) of four different bacterial strains: E. coli, S. marcescens, S. saprophyticus, and S. aureus) using the following antibiotics: ampicillin, tetracycline, and carbenicillin. The second project will focus on studying t-cell inflammatory responses to mitochondrial damage to elucidate potential correlations between damaged mitochondrial cells and diabetes. A third project that will be worked on throughout the summer is conducting smaller lab projects to help Professor Piatelli prepare his fall course syllabus.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I had the chance to work with Professor Piatelli last summer, as an unpaid intern. Professor Piatelli was a great teacher and I learned a lot of lab techniques that I had not yet been introduced to in classes at Bryn Mawr. When Professor Piatelli asked me back this summer, I agreed and this time received funding from The Center for Career & Civic Engagement. This summer, I wanted to continue adding to my repertoire of laboratory techniques. I was also really excited to work on projects involving bacteria and cell growth because I believed it would be beneficial for my future career pursuits in the medical field.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

My favorite part of this internship specifically is that the working environment is very relaxed and focused on learning. We are able to accomplish tons of work in one day without the stress of deadlines and grades. I have also really enjoyed learning from Professor Piatelli. He thoroughly explains techniques, describing not just how to complete the steps of an experiment, but why we go through each step and where scientific error might occur. At the end of almost every experiment, when looking over results, Professor Piatelli asks us to critically analyze our results and identify potential sources of error which helps me gain a better understanding of the material.

Can you talk about the skills you are learning and why they are important to you?

I am learning a lot of new, valuable lab techniques in depth which I believe will help me in my future career endeavors and with my senior thesis research. Many of the experiments we are conducting and biological concepts Professor Piatelli explains parallel the outside studying I am doing for the MCAT. I also feel myself becoming more confident in a lab setting and I am excited to see what I have learned in my internship translate to my courses at Bryn Mawr and my future career.

Michelle Scuzzarella ’21: Magee-Womens Research Institute and Foundation

Name: Michelle Scuzzarella
Class Year: Rising Junior
Major: Biology
Hometown: Lynn, Mass.

Internship Organization: Magee-Womens Research Institute and Foundation
Job Title: Research Intern
Location: Pittsburgh

What’s happening at your internship?

The Yanowitz lab focuses on the field of reproductive biology and uses Caenorhabditis elegans as a model organism to conduct this work. I’m currently working on two projects relating to the process of meiosis. One project has to do with a mutation in a protein that normally creates double-strand breaks in chromosomes that are needed for cross-over events. Without a cross-over event, the chromosomes are not able to segregate properly into their sperm or egg cells, which means that these cells are unable to create viable offspring. However there sometimes appear to be cross-over events in these mutants, so I’m testing to see what may be causing these apparent cross-over events to occur. In another smaller project, I’m trying to determine when a protein, which is important in the process of meiosis, is produced during the life cycle of C. elegans.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because I have a love for biology. After taking biology courses throughout my academic career, I was beyond ready to be in a position where I would be doing real biology. Working in a lab setting would be the perfect thing to do to exercise some of the skills I’ve already learned in lab courses, while also gaining so many new skills and a ton of invaluable experience. On top of all of this, I would be working on a project that could possibly have real world applications one day. I think most STEM majors dream of the day that the things they learn and put work into actually have real world applications — I know I do.

Living in a new city? What has that experience been like for you?

This experience has definitely had its ups and downs, but so far, it’s been a great experience. It’s been difficult to be away from my friends and some of my favorite places at home for the summer, but I think this experience will be worth it. It has also been very difficult living in a completely new city, but I’ve had a lot of help getting to know the city from a fellow Bryn Mawr student and her family. This experience has also led to me becoming much more independent and it has helped me learn how to navigate a big city. I’ve really enjoyed this experience so far because it has helped me see what I’m capable of.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced at your internship?

I think that the biggest challenge I’ve faced so far has been working with the C. elegans. C. elegans are microscopic nematodes that can just barely be seen at their largest without a microscope. In order to move the worms to their desired destination, we have to look through a microscope and use an instrument called a pick to pick them up and leave them where they’re needed. When I first started out, the worms more often than not did not safely make it to their destination. I’ve also had to learn how to dissect the worms, and believe me, that’s just as hard as it sounds. While looking under a microscope, I have to use a small and very sharp needle to cut the worms in a specific spot so that we can expose and examine their germline under a special type of microscope. Thanks to my clumsy nature and shaky hands, working with C. elegans has been incredibly tedious and exhausting, but also a fantastic exercise in patience.

Viktoriia Borodina ’21: Deutsche Bank

Name: Viktoriia Borodina
Class Year: 2021
Major: Biology and Economics
Hometown: Novosibirsk, Russia

Internship Organization: Deutsche Bank
Job Title: Global Markets Summer Analyst
Location: New York City

What’s happening at your internship?

The Global Markets division is also known as Sales & Trading. Along with other sophomore interns, I have been assigned to two rotations across S&T — specifically, Asset-Backed Securities (Lender Finance) and Emerging Markets Trading & Structuring.

I was able to get involved with multiple projects for both of my rotations, getting to participate in all stages of credit structuring. For the Lender Finance group, for example, I was involved in deals with credit funds with up to U.S. $50 billion Assets Under Management. I worked with various credit models, composed internal credit memos and prepared marketing material for potential buyers of Deutsche Bank’s loans/facilities. For the Emerging Markets Trading & Structuring, I have sat on the trading floor for two weeks, learning about the various products offered by the trading desk — such as Latin American FX, Rates, and Credit.


Why did you apply for this internship?

This summer I was fortunate to be selected for the dbAchieve internship designed specifically for sophomores of diverse backgrounds. I have applied because I am interested in pursuing a career in finance and was looking for an opportunity to define and narrow down my interests. I was further fascinated by the global nature of Deutsche Bank (DB) and wanted to experience what it’s like being a part of a multinational bank.


What has been your favorite part of this internship?

Being able to meet and get to know inspiring people throughout DB. I made sure that I networked extensively during my time here, both with people in my rotations and outside. Shadowing traders/salespeople was very insightful — I got to see what goes into their everyday trade decisions, and how exactly the markets work.

Talking to people has also helped me define my own interests, as I learned that I am more interested in project-based work compared to short day-to-day transactions.

I have greatly enjoyed working with my teams as well. Everyone was willing to help me learn and succeed at the internship. I was able to eventually comprehend some of the nuances of working on credit structuring and live deals, adding value to my team by working on some parts of their projects.

Living in a new city?

New York City is a fascinating place to spend a summer. There is just so much to do and explore. Although I have lived in big cities my entire life, I was impressed by how much is going on in NYC daily. Despite being busy during the week, I took full advantage of living in the city on the weekends – from exploring museums to local coffee shops, I was able to get a taste of what it’s like to live in New York (and I loved it!).

Kass Wojcik ’22: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Name: Kass Wojcik
Class Year: 2022
Major: Biology
Hometown: Green Township, N.J.

Internship Organization: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Job Title: Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Intern
Location: Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, N.J./N.Y.


Most days, I leave for my summer job at the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge in northwest New Jersey at around 7 a.m. A few weeks into my internship, though, I found myself stumbling out of the door at 3:15 a.m. and sleepily driving to the Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge a couple of hours away in upstate New York with Wallkill Refuge Specialist Chelsea Utter and Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge Wildlife Biologist Marilyn Kitchell. As we arrived, the sun was just breaking over the top of the Shawangunk Mountains and illuminating the dew-covered fields. We didn’t waste any time marveling at the view, however.  We tucked our pants into knee boots, strapped on bags and binoculars, and waded out into the dew-soaked, waist-high grass to begin a four-hour trek around the Refuge.

Why was I doing this again?

The simple answer was because of the birds. Grassland bird species are most active in the early morning — which is why we too were up so early. Our task was to conduct a grassland bird survey for the Lenape Complex U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Every year, the Lenape Complex (which includes the Wallkill, Great Swamp, and Shawangunk Refuges among others) collects data on breeding bird species to ensure that the area’s populations are thriving. My job was to monitor and record the wind speed and temperature while Chelsea and Marilyn counted birds by visually spotting and listening for them over a five-minute period at 20 different sites throughout the refuge.

Sunrise over the SGNWR.

Sunrise over the SGNWR.

If you want the deeper answer as to why I was up at the crack of dawn tramping through soggy grass, it’s because I love doing things like this. There’s few things that I enjoy more than adventuring outdoors and learning about what’s around me, which is how I realized that interning with the USFWS (whose mission is to conserve our natural resources) would be the ideal experience for me. The USFWS focuses on what I’m passionate about while connecting to my career goal of going into biology and ecological science. My interests coupled with my prior interactions with the Wallkill USFWS during high school is what allowed me to connect with the refuge staff and set up my internship with them.

Besides the bird survey, I’ve tracked turtles, monitored bald eagle and sandhill crane nests, learned the basics of GIS, developed interpretive signs and fliers, worked at public outreach events, and helped various staff members around the refuge. I’ve learned so much about being a biologist not just from the field work that I’ve done, but also from just talking to refuge staff. As a young woman considering a career in biology, it’s been especially useful to have the opportunity to talk to Chelsea and Marilyn — two accomplished female conservation and wildlife biologists working in a field still mostly dominated by men.

My experiences at the Wallkill Refuge have been invaluable, and I’m so grateful to the USFWS and Bryn Mawr for allowing me the opportunity to explore both my interests in the natural world and a career in biology with this valuable and rewarding internship.

Samantha Forestier ’20: Breakthrough Atlanta

Name: Samantha Forestier
Class Year: 2020
Major: Biology
Hometown: Malden, Mass.

Internship Organization: Breakthrough Atlanta
Job Title: Teaching Fellow
Location: Atlanta

It has been an exciting summer teaching! Breakthrough Atlanta goes above and beyond in preparing students for college. The mission of Breakthrough Atlanta is to close the opportunity gap in education and make college a goal for all of its participants. In order to achieve this goal, they host summer classes and enrichment activities for middle- and high-school students to prevent summer learning loss and to prepare them for the upcoming school year.

I have been working with a group of 30 8th grade students. I teach them physical science for two periods in the morning. Later in the afternoon we teach public speaking, an elective, STEM clinic and other enrichment activities. My self-designed elective is called “Lab Rats,” where the students get to participate in experiments and have a hands-on approach to science. During my downtime I collaborate with the other science teachers to create lesson plans that align with Georgia’s learning standards and I meet with my instructional coach to review observation notes. Building relationships between students and families has been essential through the program as there are parent conferences and student-led meetings throughout the summer. Relationship building is also essential in creating a positive classroom culture and mutual respect. I have learned so much through this experience and I’m grateful to be working towards an important mission.


I applied for this internship because I love working with children. I’m a pre-med, biology student and I plan on entering a career in pediatric medicine. I have gotten some experience working with toddlers and I was interested in working with some different age groups. I wanted to try something different this summer and teaching has always interested me. The internship was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I have had an amazing experience so far.

My favorite part of the internship has been the relationships I have been able to form with the students and with the other teaching fellows. I was originally nervous about being able to get to know my students while teaching them physics. It took a little while for my class to get used to my personality and my teaching style, but after a week I could really see a shift in attitude. I love being able to eat lunch with the students and get to learn more about their life and interests outside of the classroom. I look forward to seeing my students as they walk up the bridge in the morning and I enjoy the conversations we get to share.

The other teaching fellows have been an amazing support through this entire process. Many of them have had prior teaching experience and they are always quick to share tips and advice. They are always there to give me a pep-talk after a bad lesson or to offer support in lesson planning. It’s an amazing experience that all of these different college students are able to come together to help close the opportunity gap.

Three Adjectives: Collaborative, motivated, empowered
Three Nouns: Relationships, opportunity, potential

Houda Bouchouari ’22: Massachusetts General Hospital

Name: Houda Bouchouari
Class Year: 2022
Major: Biology
Hometown: Boston

Internship Organization: Massachusetts General Hospital
Job Title: Research Intern
Location: Boston

What’s happening at your internship?

When I first started, I spent the first 2-3 weeks shadowing an oncologic orthopedic surgeon in his clinic and surgeries, and it was so eye opening. With a bunch of shows on TV like Grey’s Anatomy and House it’s very easy to come up with an idea about doctors. These shows often depict doctors as mean or straightforward and if I’m being completely honest. I thought the same. However, when I first started, I couldn’t have been more wrong, I have met so many kind surgeons, fellows, and residents. Since I started, I have gone from being really nervous to excited about coming into the office every day. On the fourth week I officially began research and that has been really cool. I had to do a bunch of training that will be beneficial for future internships.

Right now I am doing a little bit of everything before I officially start a project with the other research interns. I worked on a chemotherapy, Paget’s disease and a sarcoma project where I basically had to fill out the patient’s information into a spreadsheet that would then go onto other researchers. For example, this past Wednesday I finished a project that was sent to Johns Hopkins for the next step.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied to this internship because I plan on pursuing an MD/PhD and I have experience in research in the Biology Department at Bryn Mawr; however, I had no idea what it was like being a doctor. At times, especially during midterms or finals, I felt like my dream of being a doctor was out of reach for me, and don’t get me wrong, I still feel that way at times, but for some reason this goal feels more realistic after I started this internship. I’m getting closer to figuring out what I want to do with my life and that is because this internship has allowed me to see and experience what it means to have an MD/PhD.

Can you talk about the skills you are learning and why they are important to you?

I don’t know how to explain but I kind of learned how to learn independently, if that makes sense. The research coordinator often throws us something we don’t know how to do and wants us to think about what the goal of the project is in order to clear any confusion. This is probably the biggest and most important skill that I have learned so far. It will definitely be a skill that I carry on to my classes and future endeavors.

Can you give us three adjectives and three nouns that describe your internship experience?

Nouns: Hope, clarity, and surprise
Adjectives: Amazing, informative, and motivating

Carlie Hansen ’21: Operations Intern for U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth

Name: Carlie Hansen
Class Year: 2021
Major: Biology + Political Science
Hometown: Chicago

Internship Organization: Office of U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth
Job Title: Operations Intern
Location: Washington, D.C.

What’s happening at your internship?

As the operations intern, I have one of the more dynamic roles within the internship cohort and the senator’s office as a whole. I have worked in every department so far this summer, including communications/press, admin, legislative, and scheduling. Basically, wherever the office staff can use extra hands or an extra brain, I’m there. The teams I work most closely with, however, are the administrative team, where I sort mail or review voicemails, and the legislative team, where I assist the environment and energy policy staffers. On a daily basis, I also engage with the senator’s constituents over the phone and when they visit the office, recording their legislative opinions and assisting them in connecting with caseworkers in the senator’s state offices.

Why did you apply for this internship?

Senator Duckworth is one of my home state senators, and has been a huge inspiration to me as I’ve started thinking about a career in politics, so it seemed natural to pick her office to apply to intern in. For a while I’ve had an interest in working on the Hill in D.C. after I graduate, so I figured applying for a congressional internship would be the best way to see if I wanted to build my career here. Prior to this summer I also received advice that an internship on the Hill in some ways serves as an extended job interview, as the connections you make and reputation you build while interning can help you get a job later on.

Can you talk about the skills you are learning and why they are important to you?

This internship first and foremost has been an opportunity to polish my writing, speaking, and Excel skills. I’ve gotten to develop intrapersonal skills working in group settings and with a variety of teams within the office, and learned how to engage with the senator’s constituents. In the bigger picture, I’m learning about what it means to represent a constituency and how to do so effectively and diplomatically. With that, I think it is important to recognize that any elected official represents people who hold a variety of beliefs, not just those who share their views. Throughout my internship I’ve gotten to see how the senator takes into consideration the views of her constituents without compromising her own beliefs when it comes time to make decisions.

Was this internship what you expected it to be?

I didn’t have a lot of expectations about the internship going in, especially because I had no idea what an operations intern did in the grand scheme of a congressional office. I also have had to constantly think on my feet, as no two days are ever the same on the Hill. But going into the internship with no expectations has let me take better advantage of any learning opportunity that I’ve encountered so far — I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer holds!