Campbell River internship sets student on the road to research career
By Contributed – Campbell River Mirror
Published: November 24, 2011 4:00 PM
The BC Centre for Aquatic Health Sciences has actively involved students in its research and development activities.
During the past three years more than 10 students, ranging from high school to university level, have received training. There are opportunities for volunteering and co-op positions, and we have hosted high schools students from Timberline Secondary School, and undergraduate students from Vancouver Island University, University of Victoria, and University of British Columbia. There are also opportunities for international students.
The students have a unique opportunity to acquire knowledge of various aspects of aquatic animal health, including a broad range of diagnostic and analytical tools. Learning opportunities include tissue culture and viral assays, steroid hormone analysis (ELISA), intermediate metabolites analysis, enzyme and protein activity assays, DNA extraction, PCR, SDS-PAGE and Western Blot, bioassays, and field sampling. Qualified personnel, including researchers, biologists, and specialized technical officers, provide mentoring, support and feedback for them throughout their terms. The co-op positions at BC CAHS are funded by research projects, the Canada Summer Jobs Program, Universities’ co-op funding programs, and NSERC.
The benefits of having students include the opportunity of training and exposing them, usually for the first time, to research activities that are directly applied to relevant real life issues. Students always bring a diverse set of skills and knowledge, which makes the environment at BC CAHS very dynamic, supportive and productive.
It has been a rewarding experience for the students and BC CAHS.
In December, Steve Jang will have completed an eight month co-op work term at CAHS. Jang is a 4th year microbiology and immunology student at UBC and he has been a wonderful addition to the lab.
“I decided to work with CAHS as part of my work term in order to gain valuable experience working in a research lab and to see how well I could adapt into a community that is quite different than my home town of Vancouver,” Jang said. “I have really enjoyed the community and natural beauty that Campbell River has to offer.
“For the past few months as a junior lab assistant at CAHS, I have had the opportunity to become familiar with various lab techniques that are usually learned in lectures or read about in textbooks. I have learned about molecular biology techniques like DNA extractions and microscopy.
“The most memorable CAHS experience I have had was the field work that I was able to take part in.
“I was able to travel to some isolated coastal communities, despite treacherous weather, and it was a very exciting experience”
When he completes his term with CAHS, Jang will travel to Germany for eight months for another work term placement working as a student assistant within a lab.
“With both CAHS and a German internship, I hope to continue my education in graduate school and eventually pursue a career as a Research Scientist in Microbiology,” Jang said.