Archive for July, 2010

Ms. Tasia Williams “Practicing” Law

Posted in Claflin Interns on July 30, 2010 by claflininterns

“Advocates in Insurance for Higher Education!”

This motto is the main purpose and focus of the Educational & Institutional Insurance Administrators, Inc. (EIIA). Throughout the past seven weeks, EIIA has used their motto for insurance as a tool to educate two minority business students on the success of African Americans in Chicago.

This internship has given me the chance to meet minority professionals from various occupations. For one whole week, EIIA sent us to a minority-owned law firm in downtown Chicago. I got the chance to network with associates, partners and an appellate court judge. We set in on several circuit court cases and were able to receive beneficial information on our desires to attend law school. After a week of pretending to be a lawyer, I was sent to West Palm Springs, FL to attend the Council of Presidents’ Conference. Here we were required to present, for the second time; on our experience at the EIIA. Unlike most internship, EIIA has made every moment of my summer to be educational, beneficial, and quite entertaining. As an additional networking opportunity, EIIA has already set up a meeting for us with their Investigative Accounting Firm.

 In my first post, I stated that “insurance was a promise”. Over the past 40 years, EIIA has lived up to their promise of providing quality insurance to Christian-based institutions. As advocates in insurance for higher education, I believe the EIIA would be just as successful as educators. This experience has exceeded any expectations that I would have as an intern pursuing my bachelors degree. In just eight weeks, I have grown professionally and mentally. I cannot thank EIIA enough for helping me to improve my networking skills and opening my eyes to a whole new field of possibilities.


Ms. Erica Lyles Impressing College Presidents at EIIA

Posted in Claflin Interns on July 30, 2010 by claflininterns

On the first day as an EIIA (Educational & Institutional Insurance Administrators, Inc) intern, I had the pleasure to meet the staff which is made up of 33 hard-working, self-motivated individuals that consider themselves a family with a purpose. Although the culture and nature of this office is calm and relaxed, there is a sense of urgency from each employee to ensure that each institution’s needs are met while working together as a team.

 EIIA, as I have stated previously, stands for Educational & Institutional Insurance Administrators, Inc.

 So, what do they do?

 EIIA serves exclusively church affiliated institutions under four denominations as the intermediary between institutions and insurance companies. As a 501 (c) 3 company, the Chicago office is their only location with five teams including property and casualty, risk management, finance, employee benefits, and student teams.

 In addition, EIIA is equivalent to a Fortune 200 company with major tax savings, a total property value of $18 billion, full-time students of 163,000, a total payroll of $1.8 billion and a total endowment fund of $7 billion. In my opinion, EIIA has been and continues to succeed with 127 institutions enrolled in their various programs.

 Each week, I had the opportunity to work with a different team, learning what trust reconciliations are and how they function. Later in the week, I had the opportunity to create trust reconciliations for the 24 institutions in the EB health programs. These reconciliations consisted of data compiled from monthly or yearly GLAHI trust total summaries that outline monthly contributions, interest earned, insurance premiums, number of lives, etc. from each institution. It wasn’t enough to just enter the data, but I was most interested in learning what each item meant to the institution and EIIA. For example, on these trust summaries there is a monthly contribution item, which is what the school contributes to the EIIA monthly. As Jamila Thomas, associate director of employee benefits explained, there is no penalty for not paying a month because EIIA is not for profit, but there is a special bill sent to the institution after two consecutive months without pay. Trust reconciliations are similar to bank reconciliations in that they analyze a company’s financial position in a given time period.”

 The second week of my internship, I had the opportunity to go on a business trip with Mary Ellen Moriarty, VP of property & casualty at Tusculum College located in Greenville, Tennessee. The objective for the business meeting was to meet with Tusculum’s CFO & Vice President of Finance Stephen Gehret in order to bring them into the EIIA consortium. This experience allowed me to understand the processes in which schools are added and how the institution benefits.

 I had the pleasure in attending the Council of Presidents meeting on this past week. This board is compromised of approximately 15 HBCU Presidents including our very own Dr. Tisdale. Here, I was able to share my experiences of the internship with the council. At the end of the presentation, the board seemed to be pleased with the results, and is excited to promote the internship program on their campuses for summer 2011.  

 As the seventh week of the internship closes and the last week approaches, I have had opportunities that I will never forget. Also, not only did I have the opportunity to travel and meet professionals who are at the height of their careers but I also learned a great deal about myself. It is important that you grow professionally as well as personally as you reach into your future.

Ms. Jennifer Ozonma Enjoying Corporate America in Boston

Posted in Claflin Interns on July 28, 2010 by claflininterns

I started off the summer working for five weeks as an academic contractor at Eli Lilly & Company in Indianapolis.

Working in the protein optimization team of a larger division called Biotechnology Discovery Research (BioTDR), my main responsibilities included purifying recombinant proteins for use in the treatment of diabetes and obesity.

I think Lilly is a unique company because even though team work is emphasized, they also encourage creativity and innovation. My manager welcomed my ideas and perspectives on solving each problem. This is certainly not the case in some other companies where you’re more like a robot following cut-and-dry protocols.

I enjoyed the community culture at Lilly; attending meetings and networking with scientists across the board. The most exciting aspect of working in BioTDR was that everybody honestly cared about your personal career success. My manager always scheduled meetings with people she thought could give me the best perspective on pursuing graduate studies in pharmacology. Everybody encouraged me to further my education by getting a doctorate degree in any area of biomedical research including pharmacology, immunology, cell biology, translational medicine, etc. I am extremely grateful to the company, and particularly to Dr. Jude Onyia, director of BioTDR, for providing me with this once in a lifetime opportunity.

I was fortunate to be selected for another 11-week internship at Novartis, AG, a Swiss pharmaceutical company, with their R&D operations in Cambridge, MA.   I am currently working as an intern in Oncology Drug Discovery. The goal of my project is to decipher the mechanism of action of a novel molecule that has been shown to inhibit cancer cell growth. In layman’s terms, we have a molecule that we know stops cancer cell proliferation, but we don’t know how it does its MOA. In figuring this out, my assignment is mainly that of target validation, siRNA knockdown, and determining if siRNA knockdown of target genes can rescue the growth-inhibitory effect of our novel small molecule inhibitor.

In addition to working extremely hard at Novartis, I am also attending graduate school interviews and open-house visitations at my graduate schools of choice. I have interviewed at Tufts Medical School and attended an open house at the Joslin Diabetes Center of Harvard University. My plan is to relocate to the Greater Boston Area upon graduation next May to attend graduate school at one of the elite research institutions in the area.

Overall, I am having the time of my life in corporate America. There’s just something cool about walking around with a company ID, and being referred to as an “employee”.lol.   I love Boston, aka Beantown!! Even though it sucks to be a Lakers fan around here, it’s hard to beat a city with over 60 schools and companies located in a 27 mile radius!

 I’d like to give big thank you to everybody that assisted me in this process. I owe all of you, big time!

Two is Better Than One: Ms. Toni Talley Learning About Advertising and Radio Industries

Posted in Claflin Interns on July 28, 2010 by claflininterns

I attended the Center of Excellence Advertising Boot camp at Howard University for two weeks.

Within these two weeks, I saw the ins and outs of the advertising industry which helped prepare my group , The Ganar Group, for a real marketing campaign for the NAACP and the Coca-Cola Company. This was a competition among 21 students ranging from sophomores to recent graduates. Throughout the program, each group took home a “homework assignment”, where we would have to research different analysis and different strategies to target the youth population for each company.

Different advertising agencies like Egamni Consulting, Wieden & Kennedy, the Publisher of Heart & Soul, and many more came in to speak to the program to give us insight on putting together our marketing solutions. This program was very, very, very intense. No time for sleeping, touring Washington D.C., or socializing with people in the other programs. Work was the only thing the CEA knew how to do, and in the end, all the nights of watching the sun rise paid off!

Every participant was offered an internship with major advertising agencies, such as Wieden & Kennedy who works with Michael Jordan and does commercials like the “Old Spice” commercial. I would have been offered an internship, but I wasn’t competing due to already having another internship at home and family circumstances.

After the two weeks in Washington, D.C., I headed back home to Kansas City, MO where I soon became an intern at Cumulus Broadcasting in the production department. Cumulus Broadcasting consists of eight radio stations, including the Kansas City Chiefs network. I worked with Mr. John Taylor in the production department, dubbing in and extending commercials with Maestro and Enco, creating commercials using Nuendo and reading scripts for stations like Magic 107.3, and Vibe 95.7. This was a short program through the City of Kansas City, MO.

Not only did I attend the CEA program in Washington D.C., and work for Cumulus Broadcasting, but I was also asked to help the 5th District City Councilman, Terry Riley, with his campaign for his upcoming election this August.

Ms. Keaira Berry’s Bi-coastal Internship

Posted in Claflin Interns on July 27, 2010 by claflininterns

I am doing great as I am closely approaching the end of my summer research at the University of Virginia.  As part of my internship, I attended the Endocrine Society Minority Access Program mentor, Dr. Chien Li, at the 92nd Endocrine Society Annual Meeting which took place in San Diego, California (June 19-22 , 2010).

The trip was grand and a career-steering experience!   I will be headed to the Leadership Alliance National Symposium which will take place in East Brunswick, New Jersey on July 30- Aug 1, 2010. 

This summer,  I  investigated the effects of stress on energy homeostasis and the implications it may have in metabolic-endocrine disorders such as obesity and type II diabetes.  I know…exciting right?! 

It was very exciting to experience a new city and establishing more connections through networking at the conference.

Ms. Kiara Drake Researching the Law and Enjoying Natural Beauty of Cornell University

Posted in Claflin Interns on July 27, 2010 by claflininterns

I remember my first day in Ithaca well. It was cold and rainy and I figured the phrase “on a hilltop high” had been taken a little too literally. I struggled to scale the steep hills of Cornell’s campus in my sandals, slipping and sliding with every step. I figured my tumultuous first impression was an indication of how the rest of the summer would unfold. Fortunately, I was wrong.

I met my mentor, Dr. Aziz Rana of the Cornell Law School, for coffee.  We began planning the course of my summer research. Engaging my passion for Constitutional law once again, I decided to concentrate on two philosophies of Constitutional interpretation —originalism and living Constitutionalism— and gauge how well each of them are practiced and render judicial objectivity in the U.S. Supreme Court.

With the support of my mentor, the Cornell University Leadership Alliance (CULA) administrators and the other thirteen women of the program (no men this summer), I was able to hash out my research and enjoy my Ithaca summer at the same time. Exploring hiking trails, swimming in waterfalls and wading in a natural —as opposed to manmade— lake, I got a New York experience that is quite unlike what nonresidents usually bear witness. Like most people, I had never imagined the world of New York outside of NYC, though I did visit the City for a second time.

All in all, I am thankful that I was given a second opportunity to participate in the Leadership Alliance. I conducted research at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut last summer. Appreciative of the unique relationships and experiences I gained at both institutions, I now look forward to this year’s symposium in New Brunswick, NJ where I am sure my experience will be equally rewarding.

Ms. Leighann Black Researching Schizophrenia at Vanderbilt University

Posted in Claflin Interns on July 26, 2010 by claflininterns

Upon arriving at Vanderbilt University, I expected the unexpected.  However, the past eight weeks here have not only been encouraging, but eye opening as well. 

Ashley Scott and I arrived in Nashville on June 1st, and had orientation the next day.  At orientation, we learned our mentors would be for the duration of the program.  We then started working the day after.  I am interning with Ariel Deutch, a professor who recently left Yale University to pursue a higher position at Vanderbilt. 

The program here hosts enrichment seminars every Monday.  These enrichment seminars cover topics such as responsible conduct in research, networking in the biomedical sciences, and applying to MD/PhD programs.  They also host journal clubs that are held every Wednesday at noon.  The purpose of the journal club is to teach us to identify the question/hypothesis that the researchers pose, their methods of testing/answering the question, and their conclusions.

My first week consisted upon learning the ins and outs of the lab and lots and lots of reading.  They explained that in order to successfully complete and understand my research project, I would have to read many journals as well as chapters out of a neuroscience textbook (that Dr. Deutch assisted in writing) to strengthen my background knowledge on my project. 

My project consists of understanding the effects that Schizophrenia has on the human brain.  I am working under a graduate student named Pete in the lab and my project is connected with his project. Pete starts off by injecting a toxin into the Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) of a rats brain (these are called lesioned rats).  He then waits three weeks, beheads the rat, and dissects the prefrontal cortex from the entire brain.  Controlled rats have no toxins injected in their brain.  This toxin kills the dopamine producing cells in the VTA. 

After the prefrontal cortex is dissected out, the samples are then taken and prepared for immunoblotting by a series of homogenizations with increasingly harsh buffers.  This is where my part of the project comes into play.  He started off by teaching me how to run an immunoblot.  Immunolots are used to identify specific proteins of interest.  The whole reason for running these immunoblots are to try and detect and changes in the levels of astrocytic and post synaptic density proteins in the lesioned and controlled rats. 

So far, I have found a change in the expression levels of GLR-1, an astrocytic protein.  I am now in the midst of preparing a research poster to present at the Leadership Alliance research symposium being held this upcoming weekend. 

I would like to extend my thanks and gratitude to Dr. Ratliff for assisting me in obtaining this wonderful opportunity.