Students conclude summer internships with a presentation


Esther Kim

Wearing a hot pink dress that fit perfectly with her vibrant character, senior Christine Mayuga expressed her enthusiasm as she gave an overview of the research project she had conducted over the summer.

Mayuga is one of the 64 high school and undergraduate students who participated in the 2013 Aspiring Scientists Summer Internship Program provided by George Mason University. Ranging from Biochemistry and Biodefense to Physics and Applied Mathematics, the students devoted their time to scientific research with a team of students and scientists.

Working at the Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine with researchers Alessandra Luchini and Ruben Magni, Mayuga took a part in an attempt to propose urinary antigen tests as a better detector of Lyme disease than current tests available.

Other students also participated in the program including senior Nihita Manem, who worked at the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study with her mentor, Theodore Dumas. Manem engaged in a project that contributed in the development of animal models with Autism Spectrum Disorder by figuring out the exact age the animals began to form social connections.

On the upcoming school year, Manem will be continuing her research with Dumas in her senior mentorship program.

“I learned a lot from this research program, and I got a lot of hands-on experience with the project,” Manem said.

For many students who hope to pursue a career related to science and technology, the program represented their first step towards the long awaited attainment of their dreams.

“It was wonderful working with a mentor,” said sophomore Sophia Moses, who interned at the Volgenau School of Engineering with a specialty in bioengineering under Vasiliki Ikonomidou.

During her internship, Moses examined the effect of stress on a person’s heart rate by using videos that observed the changes of heart rate through different colors.

“It was a great opportunity for me to work with people from a variety of fields and learn about what they do,” Moses said.