Sophomores Kristen Adcock and Jeremiah Nance can’t wait for summer to begin. This year they won’t be taking traditional vacations, however; their summer excitement will take place at the North Carolina Research Center in Kannapolis, N.C. Each has earned a paid, full-time internship with the Plant Pathways Elucidation Project (P2EP), a multimillion dollar program that teams up university scientists, industry leaders and college students to explore plant pathways for the purpose of answering why and how plants, such as fruits and vegetables, benefit human health.
Both lifelong science-lovers and Dean’s List students, Kristen, a biology major and chemistry minor, and Jeremiah, a nursing major, pursued this opportunity to become better researchers. With the support of Pfeiffer’s science faculty, they have a good start in this area. For Jeremiah’s Honors Program project, he worked with Dr. Sherry Adams to research longevity outcomes for calorie-restricted curly-wing drosophila. And Kristen is preparing to work Dr. Laura Reichenberg to study the Muc-1 gene, which has been linked to cancerous tumors.
“Science is like a huge puzzle—I enjoy coming up with new ways to solve problems,” said Kristen, a Milton Rose Scholar, resident assistant, peer tutor and peer mentor, who is considering graduate work in genetics. “I’m looking forward to learning new research techniques and gaining experience in the world of genetic research.”
Jeremiah, recipient of a Gates Millennium Scholarship funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is a Carolina HealthCare System volunteer who plans to work as a critical care nurse before pursuing a doctorate in nursing practice to eventually become either an acute care nurse practitioner or certified registered nurse anesthetist. He credits his brother, a UNC Chapel Hill researcher, with sparking his interest in science.
“I’m hoping to expand my scope of knowledge in a non-nursing specific area with an aim of making an impact within evidence-based practice within nursing,” he said. “I want to help people and hope that my contributions someday make an impact on a patient’s life.”
They agree that their experience at Pfeiffer—particularly mentoring by faculty members—has prepared them to succeed this summer and beyond.
“Pfeiffer has opened doors for me,” said Jeremiah, also citing a recent semester abroad in London as key to his development.
Kristen agreed. “Because of my Pfeiffer experiences and professors, I have the skills and confidence to succeed in this internship program.”