W&J Students Continue Academic Pursuits Through Summer Internships

Created: July 10, 2015
Last Updated: July 14, 2020

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WASHINGTON, PA (July 10, 2015) - At Washington & Jefferson College (W&J), the school year may be done, but that doesn’t stop students and faculty from continuing their academic pursuits.

The summer is a particularly busy time for many W&J science students who are actively engaged in summer research or are completing an internship in their area of interest. At W&J, there are numerous summer opportunities for students to conduct research either on-campus under the supervision of a W&J faculty research director, or off-campus under the supervision of a director from a sponsoring agency or institution. Students are also regularly accepted into internship programs in a variety of fields. This summer, research opportunities and internships have taken a number of W&J students and faculty all around the country.

Tyler McCullough ’17, a chemistry major, is spending his summer down at the University of Central Florida Orlando extracting and characterizing bioactive compounds from plants and fungi that are found in Florida. McCullough’s summer research was made possible by funding from W&J’s Merk Internship Program.

Chemistry and math double major Jerry Hertzog ’16 is at the University of Pennsylvania, working in the lab of Eric Schelter, Ph.D. researching green energy storage. He is using light from the sun to develop a catalytic cycle to split HCI using cerium.

Further north, Wes Corbin-Pein ’16, a chemistry major, is residing at Boston University as part of the Research Experience for Undergraduates program with funding from the National Science Foundation. Corbin-Pein is attempting to synthesize two natural products, Cochinchinenin C and Myristicyclin A, via catalytic methods.

Fellow chemistry majors Sam Mesinere ’16 and Christine Plavchak ’16 are working alongside Robbie Iuliucci, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry at W&J, at Pacific Northwest National Library in Washington. The trio are spending the summer conducting research in the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory.

Campus Arboretum intern Hunter Hammil ’17, an environmental studies and history major, is working at W&J this summer. He is installing an identification label with common and scientific names and accession number on every tree on the W&J campus.

Ana Elise Molina and Lindsey Dove ’16 are also staying at W&J this summer to research muscle development in the tobacco hornworm. Both are working under the supervision of W&J biology professors Ron Bayline, Ph.D. and Yi-Tak (Megan) Lai, Ph.D. Molina is an international student at W&J as part of the Brazilian Scientific Mobility Program, and she is studying the phylogenetic systematics of the tobacco hornworm muscle development genes using computational tools. Dove, a cell and molecular biology major, is analyzing the expression patterns of the genes hedgehog, Cubitus interruptus (Ci), and Smoothened (Smo).

W&J faculty are also keeping busy this summer. Jason Kilgore, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, and his colleague from the University of Findlay, Ben Dolan, Ph.D., gave an Ignite talk at the June 2015 Ecological Research as Education Network (EREN) All Members Meeting at Elizabethtown College. Kilgore and Dolan’s talk focused on their collaborative research project evaluating impacts of emerald ash borer on eastern deciduous forest succession. Tom Contreras, Ph.D. and Jamie March, Ph.D., also professors in W&J's Biology Department, attended the meeting as well.

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