Sophomore Dinner-Department of Biological Sciences - Carnegie Mellon University

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sophomore Dinner

On October 14, faculty and students from the Department of Biological Sciences gathered for the sophomore dinner.

Every year class dinners are held in order to foster a connection between faculty and students, and provide a forum to discuss important topics relevant to the class.

The focus of this dinner was internships. Four upperclassmen joined the sophomore class to discuss how to secure an internship as well as share details about their experiences.

Senior Natalie Straight, a B.S. in Biological Sciences and Psychology major, spoke about her research internship at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. During the 10-week Undergraduate Research Program, she worked within the laboratory of Dr. Josh Wong tagging and analyzing proteins. This molecular neuroscience project enabled her to utilize both her psychology and biology backgrounds.

Junior Devin Prior’s interests involve medicine and clinical research. Therefore, she pursued an internship at The Ohio State University Medical Center’s Wright Center of Innovation in Biomedical Imaging in Columbus, Ohio. During her internship, she worked on two projects. The first project dealt with multiple sclerosis and tracking grey matter lesions. The second project involved studying traumatic brain injuries. Prior suggested shadowing doctors, volunteering at hospitals and taking an MCAT prep course for anyone interested in the field of medicine.

Junior Quinn Weisman received a Friedman Fellowship from Carnegie Mellon, which enabled him to work on Capitol Hill within Senator John Kerry’s office as an Energy and Environmental Policy Intern. He researched how states are working to lower emissions; and he found great disparity between states. Then, he created economic and environmental state profiles, which were distributed to all senators. Weisman said that one of the most interesting events he was able to attend during his internship was a lunch at the Israeli Embassy with Senator John Kerry and the Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren.

Senior Vidhi Dalal interned for two summers at Johnson and Johnson. The first summer she worked in the analytical chemistry department. The second summer she worked in the consumer department, where she focused on lotions. She developed prototypes, and then tested them on the skin barrier. Dalal stressed the importance of networking and good lab skills, while working in a research and development setting.

Class dinners are just one of the many initiatives organized by the Department of Biological Sciences to enhance the education of its undergraduate students. Other initiatives include the Biological Sciences Student Advisory Council (BioSAC) and individualized advising.

For more information about undergraduate degrees in Biological Sciences, visit: