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Biology Majors Describe Research & Internship Opportunities at UNF


Biology majors at UNF expand their horizons through research experiences and internship opportunities.  Students can engage in both research and internship activities for credit towards their undergraduate degrees in Biology.  Students who would like to participate in UNF Faculty research programs need to read the faculty research biographies before contacting individual faculty members.  Space and resources are limited to high performing undergraduates who are able to make a commitment of time and energy to develop a project that enhances the current research of the faculty.  Each research experience will require a specific skill set and knowledge base.  Some faculty may require certain courses as prerequisites for working in their labs.  Students can also participate in internships through a variety of agencies.  These opportunities will need to be arranged months prior to the beginning of the internships.  Start identifying potential internship opportunities early in your career to make the most of these opportunities.  Set up an appointment with the Internship Coordinator, Dr. Jim Gelsleichter, to discuss the logistics of establishing an internship for credit.




Rachel Bladow

  Rachel Bladow:  St. Louis Zoo Herpetarium Internship

Rachel has been passionate about turtles for a long time.  Last summer she participated in a summer research experience to monitor sea turtles in Costa Rica.  This summer she took the initiative to find an internship closer to home, working at the St. Louis Zoo Herpetarium.  Rachel says, "I heard about this position last summer through a zookeeper when my family attended a behind-the-scenes tour of the giant tortoises. I kept in contact with the zookeeper, sent in my application, and was given the internship without interviewing! Networking is really important!! Without networking, I might not have had this opportunity!"

In a recent correspondence Rachel provided an update on her experiences. "The internship is going really well so far, I am definitely learning a lot. Since I was the first intern to start, I got a special opportunity to work with hellbenders! After about two weeks of helping in the hellbender area, I officially moved to my herpetarium house internship. I have been spending a lot of time with turtles, tortoises, and lizards. I have been busy preparing salads, cleaning enclosures, changing out water bowls, and cleaning the giant tortoise exhibit. The other interns are just starting now so I am meeting new people and am able to share some of my knowledge with them since I have been interning for a few weeks."  


Cell Biology track icon   Emily Starke:  CRISP Intern in Neurology at The Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville

Emily Starke has been a CRISP intern at Mayo Clinic.  Her mentor, Dr. Rabih Tawk, is a neurosurgeon and she has been involved with multiple, retrospective, clinical analysis projects pertaining to patients who have suffered from subarachnoid hemorrhage.  One study she has been involved in pertains to the use of neuron-specific enolase as a biomarker to 'predict' the functional outcome of patients who have suffered from subarachnoid hemorrhage. Throughout the study some of her responsibilities have been obtaining data from patient charts and writing the abstract and manuscript for the project that will soon be published. 


Emily has also branched out to work with Dr. Nilufer Taner in her laboratory.  According to Emily, "She is a geneticist who has focused her research on identifying and understanding genes that have a potential role in increasing the likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease.  The many techniques that I use regularly in the lab have come quickly to me thanks to the experience I have gained from labs taken at UNF.  I have learned many useful techniques as well as the knowledge that comes along with it making this a priceless experience.   This internship has given me the opportunity to understand the field that I plan to delve into in the future by learning the duties of each person in and out of the clinic and lab setting."