Mira Costa seniors, PJ Sundeen and Ally Krinsky prepare to gain life-changing experience and knowledge from their internships at LA BioMed, a non-profit scientific research organization dedicated to discovering new research innovations in the greater Los Angeles area.
Both Sundeen and Krinsky have always had an interest in science, so they decided to enroll in Biotechnology, a three-year- long program at Costa. The first two years are spent in the classroom learning and perfecting lab techniques, and during the third year, all students are required to find an internship in a lab in order to obtain professional experience, Sundeen said.
“I always had an interest in science, and more specifically, biology,” Sundeen said. “I knew that the class was going to allow me to explore my interest while also teaching me things that I wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn in any other class at Costa.”
Sundeen heard about the Biotechnology class from her College Preparatory Biology teacher, Roberto Calderon. Biology teachers give info sheets to their classes explaining and describing the requirements of the program, giving the students the option to take the class or not. Sundeen was hooked from the start, she said. The application for Biotechnology consisted of a teacher recommendation, a written application, and an interview with former Biotechnology teacher, Jessica Bledsoe.
“I’m so thankful that I was accepted into biotechnology because I really think it has changed what I want to do with my life,” Sundeen said.
The program CA Bio Med offers caught both students’ attention. Krinsky and Sundeen had to contact the educational office, take part in an interview process and fill out resumes in order to be accepted for the internship. After that, both students had to meet with a representative from the Office of Educational Opportunities and discuss possible areas of interest for their internship placement.
“I chose LA BioMed because there are so many different types of research being done there in various fields so I felt like it would give me the most opportunities to discover what I want to center my research on in the future,” Sundeen said.
Sundeen and Krinsky began their internships on Nov. 15 and have been preparing for months. Sundeen will work in a lab under a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Mina Desai, who is currently researching the effects that maternal under-nutrition and over-nutrition have on offspring, she said. She will assist her in her research and perform experiments with her. Desai’s research is very relevant and could possibly change the way people live today, Sundeen said.
“I am beyond excited to start my internship with Dr. Desai, and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to get to work in a lab with people who have so much experience and wisdom,” Sundeen said. “I’m hoping that I will learn new lab techniques as well as get a look into a new area of biology that I have never studied before.”
Krinsky, on the other hand, will be working under Dr. Paul Mathews, a neurologist studying the cerebellum, more specifically, Ataxia Telangiectasia, a disease that affects the motor cortex and overall body function. Krinsky will be preforming analysis of protein and DNA samples, but will also be working with some bacteria cultures to understand more about the disease.
“Throughout my time in Biotech, I narrowed down which concepts that I want to explore further in college and in my internship, so going into it, I had a pretty good idea that I wanted to study,” Krinsky said.
Both Sundeen and Krinsky are appreciative to have been accepted into the program because it has made a huge impact on their lives, allowing them to have a better idea of what they want to do in the future, they said. They also said that it will also help them to pursue their future dreams and plans in the field of science. Sundeen plans to major in either Biology or Biochemistry in college, and Krinsky plans to major in Molecular Biology.
“I’m really excited to be working in a professional lab setting with others who have the same interests as me and to be surrounded by people I can learn a lot from,” Krinsky said. “Also, it is really cool to be working on something that I am passionate about and want to do.”