Internship Opportunity Leads to Experience
Junior Alisha Wilkinson is proof of what a well-rounded liberal arts school can produce. Wilkinson, a biology major, participates in the Honors Program, Club Bio, is a member of the Green Team/Campus Sustainability, a member of Hall council and the Orientation team. With all of these commitments, there are internship experiences that she feels heightened her experience as an undergrad.
Wilkinson feels that participating in internship opportunities have added to her already exceptional learning experience. “I have had so many opportunities presented to me due to my various internships and have gained a lot of experience I would not have been able to get elsewhere. They [internships] can open a lot of doors,” Wilkinson said.
This summer Wilkinson is interning in the Center for Biotechnology and Biomedical Sciences at Merrimack alongside of Dr. Charlotte Berkes, assistant professor of biology. Wilkinson is participating in a study of a microbe called Histoplasma capsulatum, the most common cause of respiratory fungal infection in the world. It can cause a severe lung disease called Histoplasmosis in individuals with weakened immune systems. Dr. Berkes and Wilkinson are collaborating with with Nexcelom Bioscience to track growth of the disease-causing fungi during infection.
“Together with Nexcelom Senior Scientist Leo Chan and Nexcelcom intern Ben Paradis [Merrimack ‘11], Alisha and I have been making great strides towards validation of Cellometer technology for Histoplasma detection during infection,” says Dr. Berkes. “The use of such technology has important long-term implications for basic research in infectious disease as well as clinical diagnostics.”
Wilkinson, working 20 hours a week (80 hours total) on this internship, has been given food for thought about possible directions she could pursue, particularly with her long-term interest in microbiology/immunology.
Other internships Wilkinson has completed while being a student at Merrimack include positions at the Peabody Essex Museum and an internship sponsored by the Forest Foundation at HAWC (Helping Abused Working for Change), a non-profit domestic violence agency.
Media contact: Bethany LoMonaco, 978.837.5456