School contacts result in a radiology internship

by JackPowers on 09/17/2010

Far Rockaway alumna Nanayaa Serwaa describes how she connected to a research internship in the Radiology Department at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. –Ed
 
NenayaaBorn and raised in Ghana, West Africa, my family and I immigrated to Chicago, Illinois when I was ten years old. In Chicago, we moved around a great deal so I attended many different schools. In all, I attended four middle schools and three high schools. After attending Plainfield Central High School and Plainfield North High School in Illinois, we made our biggest move yet in 2006 to New York because of my dad’s job. I then attended Far Rockaway High School as a junior and joined the nursing club the following year.
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I’ve never had such an educational work experience! I learned about cancer and its mechanisms, tissue culture, different cell lines, data analysis, and more.
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It was in the nursing club that our assistant nursing instructor Ms. O’Neill informed us about a radiology essay writing contest sponsored by the Roentgen Society and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Dr. Hedvig Hricak, Chair , Radiology Department at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and President of the Roentgen Society. I quickly submitted an essay and was afterward invited to attend a conference on radiology and an awards ceremony at MSKCC-Rockefeller Laboratories in midtown Manhattan.
 
I can’t express my surprise and joy when I won first place in the essay contest. I left that day with a newly sparked interest in radiology and five hundred dollars in my pocket.
 
That fall, September 2008, l matriculated at Stony Brook University as a pre-health student with a major in Biology and a minor in Spanish. Since research experience is strongly encouraged among pre-health students, I decided to contact Ms. Angela Lambert of the Department of Education to see if she knew of any summer research positions at MSKCC. Ms. Lambert had been in charge of coordinating the essay contest for the Department of Education. She informed me she didn’t know of anything but would see if there were other connections that could be of help to me.
 
About three weeks before the 2010 spring semester was over, I received an email from an MSKCC representative asking me if I was still interested in an internship. She told me she received my request from Ms. Florence Jackson, their contact at the Department of Education, who was contacted by Ms. Lambert. With her help I was able to secure an internship in Dr. Hricak’s laboratory at MSKCC.
 
I must say that the six weeks I spent at Sloan-Kettering were the best six weeks of my summer. I’ve never had such an educational work experience! I learned about cancer and its mechanisms, tissue culture, different cell lines, data analysis, and more.
 
I know this experience would not have been possible without my connections with Ms. Lambert and Ms. Jackson. It has often been said that in the professional world, it’s not always “what you know” but also “who you know”. I now encourage all students to make the most of every opportunity. I am truly grateful for all who have helped me along the way.

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