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Student Spotlights

Emily: Environmental Science

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Emily Orton working with diabetes cell cultures in BYU’s Nutritional Science Diabetes Research Lab.

Emily Orton, an environmental science major and a Japanese minor, interned with BYU’s nutritional science diabetes research lab as a research assistant. Click here to read more!

What were you doing for your internship?

Even though this was an on campus internship, it has been a valuable stepping stone for my academic and professional future. I received training on procedures and equipment in diabetes research. I have continued and am now working in the lab. This experience led to my current application to continue in this research as a graduate student. This lab experience allowed me to make the transition from Environmental Science to Nutritional Science because the research focused included plant based compounds and their human health effects.

What was the most useful thing you learned from your internship?

The networking I did and the hands-on skills training were foundational to the Nutritional Science MS program I am currently applying for. This included building a relationship with the mentor professor. He is not my potential advisor professor. This experience was primarily made up of running lab experiences and learning how to contribute to a lab team.

How did your courses and your major prepare you for your internship?

The flexibility in the environmental science major allowed me to take classes with an emphasis on human health. These classes included micro biology chemistry and nutritional science. The internship research was a direct application of many of the principles I learned in my coursework.

What professional skills did you develop in your internship?

I also learned professional communication and presentation skills. As well as literature reviews of recent relevant published studies. "

Would you recommend this internship to other students? Why?

Yes I would definitely recommend it. First, because Dr. Tessem is an amazing mentor and scientist. He worked with me one on one as well as directed large group projects and discussions. The other students in the lab were good trainers and were very accommodating to work with. Second, because the internship worked well with my student schedule. Because it was on campus it was very easy to complete my tasks and meet up with other student researchers.

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Emily working in the sterile laminar flow hood in BYU’s Nutritional Science Diabetes Research Lab.