Honors College Students’ Research Recognized During Elite Summer Internship
Baylor Honors College seniors, Alison Jung and Mary Mersereau, were recognized for outstanding contributions during MD Anderson’s University Outreach Program’s poster competition. Every student who participated in MD Anderson’s Undergraduate Cancer Research Internship was responsible for creating a poster presentation of the research they conducted throughout the program. Their posters were presented to MD Anderson faculty and staff to conclude the 2022 University Outreach internship program.
Jung and Mersereau are the first Baylor interns to receive recognition in MD Anderson’s poster presentation competition. Mersereau’s research presentation addressed her work in the hospital’s breast cancer pathology lab while Jung’s poster focused on her work within MD Anderson’s immunology lab.
“During this internship, you are surrounded by brilliant students who are all conducting interesting research at a high level,” Mersereau said. “I was honestly so surprised to be recognized, but it felt incredible to be acknowledged for a project I was passionate about and had poured so much time and thought into.”
For Jung, the internship not only provided her the opportunity to conduct and present cutting-edge research, but also solidified her desire to pursue cancer research in the future.
“My time at MD Anderson has been formative for me in so many ways,” Jung said. “It confirmed my passion for cancer research and equipped me with valuable skills and knowledge in the field. It was such a privilege to be immersed in the rich scientific world at MD Anderson, doing the kind of work I hope to pursue in the future.”
Each year, roughly 10 Honors College students are selected to spend several weeks working alongside the top cancer researchers in the country at MD Anderson in Houston and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Students are assigned to various labs focusing on different areas of cancer research and given a mentor to guide them throughout the summer.
“I’m from Olympia, Washington, so growing up I was aware of Fred Hutch’s incredible reputation,” senior Sowmya Duddu said. “Interning at Fred Hutch was an intimidating experience because the learning curve was so significant. I was completely out of my element, but thanks to the guidance of my lab mentor, I have gained an immense amount of confidence. There will always be challenges in research, but I feel like this internship provided me with tools to troubleshoot whatever problems might come my way.”
Honors College students who are selected for either internship are provided a stipend for housing and transportation through the Honors College’s Undergraduate Cancer Research Internship program, thanks to donors’ generosity. For many students, both internships would be out of reach if they were not given funding for the opportunity.
“I cannot explain how grateful I am to Baylor for providing financial support for me to partake in this exceptional experience,” said senior Chase Robinson, a Fred Hutch intern for summer 2022. “Having additional funds to cover the cost of living in Seattle helped remove any barriers there might have been for me to attend.”
As these seniors prepare for graduate or professional school, many of them are changing their career goals thanks in part to their experiences this summer.
“The doctors at MD Anderson have the privilege of walking alongside patients during the toughest period of their lives,” Mersereau said. “Watching these doctors care for patients and their families has caused me to reorient my own career plans toward patient care. I am so thankful for all the ways this internship helped stretch me both professionally and personally.”
Applications for Honors College students looking to participate in either internship experience will open later this fall. To learn more about these research opportunities, please click here or contact the director of the Honors College Undergraduate Cancer Research Internship program, Erika Abel.
For media inquiries, please contact Emily Clark, BA ’14 | (254) 710-8486.
ABOUT THE HONORS COLLEGE AT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
The Honors College at Baylor University unites four innovative interdisciplinary programs – the Honors Program, University Scholars, Baylor Interdisciplinary Core and Great Texts – with a shared commitment to providing undergraduate students the opportunity to pursue questions that often fall between the cracks of the specialized disciplines by investigating the writings of scientists along with the writings of poets, historians and philosophers. For more information, visit baylor.edu/honorscollege.