Archive for the Claflin Interns Category

Ms. Imani Mitchell and Ms. Alyson Wright Make Claflin Family Connections in Philadelphia

Posted in Claflin Interns on August 16, 2010 by claflininterns

My name is Imani Mitchell, a senior marketing major at Claflin University. My experience as an intern for the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support has been nothing short of extraordinary.

From the application process, to right now, I have been nothing but proud to represent and call myself a Claflinite. As just a mere applicant, I was told of the rare opportunity I was getting as a Claflin student to possibly be chosen for such a program in the federal government.

 Once chosen and offered a position, Claflin alumni from the Philadelphia area (where the internship is located) were contacted and worked together to find reasonable housing accommodations for myself and another Claflin undergraduate, Alyson Wright, who was also accepted into the program.

This, of course, was extremely helpful and I was truly happy to have such a willing network of alumni in my favor. The president of the Philadelphia Claflin Alumni Chapter and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Jonathon Hampton (c/o 2001), has treated us as nothing but their own family along with Ms. Julliette Byrd (c/o 1956), who agreed to house us for the duration of our stay.

Since I’ve started my internship, I have learned how to do small contract buys, solicitations, and even sat under long-term buys for the Construction and Equipment Department.  For each buy, you directly see just how much of a difference you are making for our soldiers and overall for our country. This internship not only taught me a lot about DLA Troop Support and all that they do for the country, but more importantly how precious my college education at Claflin is. With this program, I will be eligible to proceed non-competitively into the next phase of the full-time intern program. This is will allow me to graduate from a paid grade of GS 7 to a GS 11 in just three short years – an opportunity many do not ever see. One year shy of being a matriculated product of Claflin University, I am more than excited to join my alumni family and give back to my institution just as willing as it has given to me in an abundance of ways and hopefully return back to DLA Troop Support fulltime.

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My name is Alyson Wright from Capron, Virginia. I am currently a junior at Claflin University majoring in business administration.  The summer internship I participated in is the Defense Logistics Agency- Troop Support, Student Career Employment Program (SCEP) in Philadelphia, PA.

My internship experience has been wonderful.  I was able to learn all about the DLA and gain a complete understanding of the activities and job responsibilities that take place here on the Naval Supply Base.  I met and greeted the general, as well as the colonel of my department and the Defense Deputy of the Supply Chain Management.  Each day I am gaining hands on experience with contracting and learning processes towards small purchases within the Clothing and Textiles Department.  Developing relationships with my supervisors and networking with previous interns and Student Career Employment Program participants has been amazing.

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SGA Chaplain’s Scientific Research at Yale University

Posted in Claflin Interns on August 16, 2010 by claflininterns

August 6 was my last day here at Yale University.  I have been pleasantly consumed by my scientific research internship for the last two and a half months.

I must say that Yale in all its “Ivy-ness” did not fail to meet and beat all my expectations. I have dinned in New Haven’s finest cuisine in and around the campus cafeteria and been exposed to diverse cultures.  In addition, I’ve been hard pressed between a grueling learning program and an altogether new work experience.

For the last 10 weeks, I have been working in Dr. Patrick Sung’s DNA recombination lab as a Sackler Fellow and a research intern. I have worked alongside several post-doctoral research fellows, a grad student and other undergraduate interns. My mentors, Dr. Dorina Saro and Dr. Valeria Busygina, and I have been tackling several projects in the line of DNA repair and I have learnt a great deal.

My life has revolved around the DNA repair proteins I work with and the fun residents of Arnold Hall with whom I lived with and shall fondly miss.  The coordinators of our program, Dr. Regan and Dr. Blaho, along with their team managed to make this experience truly rewarding and quite unforgettable. After the events of my last blog, I have since participated in several activities that were designed to make our Yale experience as beneficial as possible.

Smack in the middle of our 10 weeks, we held oral presentations of our work thus far and managed to do this with the aid of PowerPoint slides. My presentation was entitled, “Protein FAAP24 is Essential for DNA Binding in its Complex with FANCM”.   I gained insight on aspects of my project that I needed to pay attention to because of the critiquing I got from my peers and the professors in attendance at the function.   In loom of the final presentation, this session like the weekly journal club meetings held by Dr. Panasik at Claflin, improved my ability to present and boosted my confidence as a scientist among his peers.  Just before we buckled down to the grand finale poster presentation session, we managed to relax and let loose with a friendly game of cricket! The match was quite possibly the most fun any group of nerds has ever had and allowed us all to bond in an area other than science.

When the final presentations came, it was a bittersweet moment for all the fellows. It was an absolutely brilliant opportunity to evaluate and critic each projects and gain insight into areas different from our own work but it also signaled the saddening end of our time together.  More than 15 beautiful and informative posters reflected the fruits of our collective hard labor. The internship ended on a happy note with the surprise award of prizes for the best posters and each of us were given a custom designed T-shirt to immortalize our ‘Yale Experience’.

I am grateful to the James and Beverly Sackler Institute with whom my program is funded by, for their organization and thoughtfulness throughout this experience. My sincerest appreciation goes to the Sung lab led by Patrick Sung for their generosity and hospitality throughout the course of my stay. Most of all, I would like to thank the three people I worked so closely with and whom I learnt a lot from. When I do pursue my Ph.D. all I pray for is that I work with scientists as intellectually inspiring and ‘cool’ as Dorina, Valeria and Xiao. Thank you all for making my stay at Yale memorable.  I now return to Claflin with renewed ambition and valuable skills all that I plan to utilize back at the Hilltop High.

Ms. Jessica Myles Acknowledged for Scientific Poster at Mississippi Valley State University

Posted in Claflin Interns on August 9, 2010 by claflininterns

After completing my eight- week research internship, I learned so much.  Not only did I leave with new friends and networking opportunities, but I learned what I want to do with my future.

Studying bioinformatics is a demanding job; however it is beneficial at the end of the day. I expanded my mind and completed projects I would have never thought possible. I learned how to make computer programs and use them toward research.

At the end of the internship, each group or individual person had to present a research poster to judges. I choose to work with my group and present our research using data mining. We presented on “Using an Artificial Neural Network to Predict Promoters in E. Coli k12 based on DNA Stability.”  First, we took the e. coli complete genome sequence and converted it to free energy values. These values represent the bond strength. Using those values, we pulled out the promoters based on 250 base pairs (bps) with respect to the transcription sites and we pulled out 250 bps non promoters in between promoters excluding any overlapping.

Having a complete list of the promoters and non promoters, we randomized the data and trained the neural network with 2/3. The neural network uses mathematical equations to locate patterns. Once trained, we tested the other 1/3. After the neural network ran the information the promoter prediction was at a 75% accuracy prediction rate. The results we found can help further researchers increase theories already within the science community.

This accuracy percentage is important because by improving the accuracy scientist can begin to use computational approaches in the lab for promoter prediction, which can cut down the cost and is almost more efficient.

After all the groups presented their research, they selected four individuals/groups as winners. Our group was selected as one. The directors of the program, Dr. Abigail Newsome and Dr. Charles Bland, are trying to secure the funding to send the four teams to present at a spring conference at Texas A&M.

This was a great opportunity and I am truly grateful to the Office of Career Services and Ms. Andrea Felder for helping me find this summer institute. This was my first time preparing and presenting a poster, and I will take what I learned and apply it for my senior thesis.  Learning and understanding this field helped me realize I wish to pursue a master’s in bioinformatics and I am going to apply to the host institution, Mississippi Valley State University, as well as a couple of other schools that offer this degree program.

Miss Claflin Ariel Manning Gets Ready for Med School at University of Louisville

Posted in Claflin Interns on August 6, 2010 by claflininterns

My summer experiences in Louisville, Kentucky ranged from learning to building friendships that have lasted well beyond the span of the program. 

The Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) is a program that reaches out to students who aspire to be medical physicians or dentists.  The program is held at various institutions but the University of Louisville was my choice. 

As an aspiring medical physician, I was extremely grateful for the class schedule, which was comprised of biochemistry, physiology, organic chemistry, and physics.  All of the courses introduced are necessary to attend most medical schools and dental schools.  The rigorous coursework and class times we endured were to help prepare us for the life of a medical or dental student. 

The University of Louisville is the only institution on the list that grants the opportunity to earn three credit hours from the course.  The schools incorporate various hands-on activities like a virtual colonoscopy and a patient to conduct physicals.  I was able to do both much more accurately during the program.

This internship was not only based on MCAT and DAT and advancement in the sciences, but we also had public speaking assignments and we began writing our medical and dental school entrance essays.  Many activities were setup away from the classroom.  We ventured to Churchill Downs, where the Kentucky Derby is located, the Ohio River for the Fourth of July and we were also able to utilize school facilities like volleyball courts, the gym, and swimming pools. 

The University of Louisville was a home away from home during my six week stay.  A local church held a luncheon acknowledging students and our strong desire and effort to enter the medical field. The staff and coordinators were and still are extremely helpful and genuinely care about our future. 

After attending this program, medical school is but a step away and I will be taking that huge step very soon.  I plan on applying to The University of Louisville School of Medicine, as well as a few others.  Just when I thought it was impossible, this experience has made my passion grow even more for the field of medicine.  I made a lot of good friends, gained many contacts, met many influential people in medicine and I can say it has made me a better person. Overall, I truly enjoyed myself and would recommend this program to any hopeful physician or dentist.

Ms. Korita Humphries Taking in the Atmosphere of Seattle

Posted in Claflin Interns on August 3, 2010 by claflininterns

This summer, I have had the intense pleasure of being a JISAO intern at the University of Washington in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences.

 In the eighth grade, I developed a fascination for catastrophic events.  And ever since then, I have grown up loving atmospheric science. Therefore, it was only expected that I would pursue this passion in my college career.

 I am a rising junior at Claflin University with a science and math background. Though I have been studying my major interests of catastrophic events and climatology on my own, this is my first opportunity to have any hands-on experience that will make a major impact

 I was placed under the mentorship of Becky Alexander and one of her graduate students, Eric Sofen. Her major research interests are understanding atmospheric chemistry and how it affects climate change. She works with the oxygen isotopes of sulfate and nitrate in snow pit samples, ice cores, aerosols, and water to determine various aspects of the past atmosphere. One of these aspects is determining the past oxidation capacity of the atmosphere, which controls atmospheric chemistry.  It is usually defined by global mean OH concentrations. That is where the oxygen isotopes of sulfate and nitrate come in, as they provide a proxy to these past concentrations. This research breaks down into various facets, only one of which I played a part in.

 My research focus this summer was developing the method for the analysis of smaller samples of the capital delta isotope 17 of oxygen (D17O) in sulfate, and then applying this method to snow pit samples from Summit, Greenland. The method involved converting three oxygen isotopes (dubbed Alpha, Beta, and Epsilon) of sodium sulfate (Na2SO4) into the silver form of silver sulfate (Ag2SO4) using the automated method of an Ion Chromatograph system, a cation exchange column, and a fraction collector, and the manual method of a cation exchange resin. Once the sulfate was in silver form, the samples could be dried using a freeze dryer and transferred into quartz capsules. These capsules were then placed in an Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer where they are pyrolized at a temperature of 1100 degrees. After which, D17O and sulfate yield analyses could be measured. With my research, the record of D17O values can be extended from around 1680 until the present.

 My experience during this internship was been phenomenal. The weekly meetings with my mentor’s research group and with other interns allowed me the opportunity to learn about other efforts in this field and how they are likewise impacting the world. I have bonded with the other interns and, together, we have claimed the city of Seattle, whether it was our canoeing trip or hiking up Mount Rainier. This internship is one I will never forget, with memories I will take back home with me to St. Louis, MO!

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.