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Eagles Soaring in the Summer

Top From L to R : Michael Hopkins, Terri King, Anthony Rodgers, Bottom From L to R : Zakiya Smith, Cordara Harper, Angeliz Rivera-Concepcion

NCCU students gained valuable experience and new skills this summer through a wide variety of internships, fellowships and experiential-learning opportunities in the Triangle region and far beyond.

Business Administration major Zakiya Smith traveled to London to enhance her leadership and intercultural skills by participating in the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions’ Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship.

“I’m so grateful that I was chosen to be a Frederick Douglass Global Fellow,” Smith said. “I am taking a class and participating in workshops that are helping me understand the meaning of intercultural communication, identity and how to develop into a global leader. I couldn't be here today if it wasn't for the support from NCCU.”

Smith will continue her adventures with the fellowship by traveling in 2018 to Paris, Wales, and Ireland.

Lauren Mills, a senior biology major, and Terri King, a senior majoring in mass communication, enhanced their skills at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

Mills spent her summer break at the museum studying DNA samples from human microbes to identify the different types of microbes on different sites of the body.

The Monroe, N.C., native credits the internship for enhancing her love of research and says it also sparked her interest in pursuing a doctoral degree.

“NCCU has prepared me to be successful, as I was able to apply what I learned in class during my internship,” Millis said.

During King’s 10-week internship in the museum’s Public Relations Department, she gained a competitive edge by not only observing the department activities but also implementing strategic science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) public relations campaigns.

“I’m so thankful for NCCU’s open-door policy.  A number of faculty and staff helped me to prepare for this internship, which enabled me to make a great first impression,” King said. “The knowledge I have gained both at NCCU and during this internship is very valuable and will assist with my career success.”

Another mass communication major, Anthony Rodgers, interned with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Rodgers assisted in drafting internal communications used for audit and compliance procedures.

“The most exciting part of my internship was being able to live in our nation’s capital for two months and to be able to experience its culture,” said Rodgers.

Music major Cordara Harper sharpened his skills during the Conn-Selmer Institute at Bethel College in Indiana. The program for current and future music educators provides practical skills and strategies for addressing current trends in music education.

“The Conn-Selmer Institute was by far one of the most life-changing, rewarding, and best experiences that I have ever had in my musical journey,” Harper said. “The workshops definitely impacted my teaching skills, opened my horizons to new ideas, and added so much value to my life and musicianship.”

In addition to attending workshops, Harper had the opportunity to sing jazz and play piano with phenomenal musicians and tour the Conn-Selmer factories that manufacture musical instruments.

Senior Angeliz Rivera-Concepcion was selected to participate in the National Institutes of Environmental Health (NIEHS) Scholars Connect Program.

The Puerto Rico native was in the Molecular Pathogenesis Group in which students were mentored by NIEHS toxicologists and postdoctoral fellows.

The National Scholars Connect Program is operated by the NIEHS Office of Science Education and Diversity and is part of an NIEHS-wide effort to increase diversity among scientists in environmental health fields. The weeklong boot camp and orientation provides classroom sessions and hands-on training in scientific methodology and laboratory procedures and promotes engagement in scientific research.

“It feels great to know that your lab values you and they consider you as a coworker and not as an intern,” Rivera-Concepcion said.  

“The biology classes that I’ve taken at NCCU have helped prepare me tremendously for this research experience. I am very confident in what I am doing because I believe that I have the knowledge to do experiments and be successful, it is astonishing to see what you learned in class come alive during your internship.”

After graduation, Rivera-Concepcion plans to pursue dental school.

Senior Michael Hopkins spent his summer at Harvard University conducting research with Michael Crickmore, Ph.D., a renowned researcher and assistant professor of neurology at Harvard University’s Neuroscience Program.

Hopkins, whose major is pharmaceutical science, was selected to participate in the Summer Honors Undergraduate Research Program in the Division of Medical Services at Harvard Medical School that involved research as well as oral presentations on research findings.

The Raleigh native plans to earn a doctorate in biomedical research and work as a scientist in higher education.

Three recent NCCU graduates participated in the Duke Clinical Research Institute North Carolina Collaborative (NCC) Summer Research Experience Program. The program provides a high-quality research experience for undergraduate students, high school students and high school teachers during the summer academic break. The students who participated were: Kiera Benson '16,  Bachelor of Science in Pharmaceutical Sciences; Luz Plumey '17, Bachelor of Science in Chemistry; and Miracle Thomas '17, Bachelor of Science in Biology.

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