Augustana students relish interning at the top
|Amanda Saraf as an intern at the Texas Medical Center M.D. Anderson Cancer Center|
Time for ethics, reflection
makes them stand out
Augustana students applying for some of the nation's most prestigious undergraduate internships have reason for optimism: Their college is represented at the Texas Medical Center by many more interns than the size of its student body would predict.
“Monumental.” That’s how Amanda Saraf summed up her internship at the Texas Medical Center M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
It’s rated one of the nation’s top two cancer research hospitals, so landing an internship there is tough. Students usually come from large schools: Duke, Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Notre Dame, Stanford, etc.
Fifty undergraduates from across the nation are accepted. Amanda was one of nine Augustana students in one summer to get in.
Why? Because Dr. Michael Ahearn, who directs the program, was so impressed by what Augustana has added to the experience.
The purpose of the Texas program is to interest and challenge students in biomedical research as it relates to cancer. At Augustana, philosophy professor Dr. Heidi Storl wanted a program that also gave students interested in health care a broader view of the world, including a sense of the moral and ethical issues they might face in their professions.
“What made us stand out is the series of seminars we do with our students to discuss clinical and research ethics and also vocational reflection,” Storl said. “Such discussions are invaluable for students planning careers in health care, whether it’s in research, administration, economics or other areas.”
Before leaving for Houston, Augustana students participate in seminars to prepare them to consider their gifts, skills and talents in ways that nurture “the whole self,” Dr. Storl said.
When Augustana interns return to campus in September, they participate in follow-up seminars to take about career, vocational and ethical aspects of their summer training, including a discussion of the theoretical and practical nature of M.D. Anderson’s code of ethics.
Dr. Storl said the broader nature of Augustana’s participation reflects the liberal arts mission, while highlighting the multidisciplinary goal of M.D. Anderson to consider the body, mind and spirit of each patient. Internships are available in most majors supported by Augustana. Students may establish one-on-one mentoring relationships in clinical or research medicine, any area of allied health, as well as in human resources, pastoral care and clinical ethics.
Students who have previously participated in this program have majored in biochemistry, biology, pre-med, pre-vet, business administration, psychology and art. Augustana will participate in the program for the fifth time in the summer of 2010.
At the end of her internship, Amanda Saraf submitted an abstract to the American Society of Hematology that was accepted for a poster presentation. She represented M.D. Anderson and the research at the subsequent conference.
“The experience was monumental for me,” Saraf said. “I was approached by experts in the field of hematology that were interested in the research I conducted. I was able to answer questions and entertain discussions.”
All of the Augustana interns, who graduated in 2007 were admitted to medical and graduate schools or hired for a position in their desired field. Amanda said her research at M.D. Anderson was “the No. 1 point of interest” with admissions committees.
“Our students could stand up to anybody with their technical and personal skills,” said Dr. Storl, who has traveled to Houston to hear the interns’ presentations on their research. “Our students have the distinction of being the hardest working. They’ve done a good job of representing Augustana.”
|The Texas Medical Center Summer Research Internship Program:|
Augustana students completing their junior year are eligible for these full-time research internships in the summer at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas.
The heart of the program is located at M.D. Anderson, one of the nation’s top two cancer research hospitals since 1990 (according to U.S. News Report’s "America’s Best Hospitals").
The center employs a faculty of 1,272 Ph.D.s and M.D.s, enrolls more than 4,100 students, spent $342M on research in 2005, and now ranks first in the number of grants awarded and total amount of grants given by the National Cancer Institute.