Thursday, July 5, 2012

Morgan Preziosi, '13, 'Never be discouraged!'

Morgan Preziosi heard many “no’s” before she got the “yes” she wanted for her summer internship.

“I knew I wanted to be at Roswell Park Cancer Institute,” says Preziosi, ’13, majoring in Psychology and Biochemistry.  So she began sending networking notes to the head of the department--with no response. Next, she began emailing lab heads personally.

“Many said they were not looking for help, and many offered unpaid positions,” she says, “However I was very fortunate to obtain an offer from my current principal investigator. We arranged an interview and before I knew it I had a job!

“Two pieces of advice I'd offer to anyone looking for an internship is to consider sending personal emails versus applying through postings, and to never be discouraged!” she says.

Preziosi is working on two different projects this summer. “One project is relating to different peptides that are prevalent antibody targets in melanoma patients, and I am doing bioinformatics using NCBI to find more information about the peptides and compiling it into a spreadsheet,” she says. “This information will eventually be used to start developing personalized cancer vaccines.

“Second, I am working on a project trying to improve a current method used to analyze chromatin structure. This project is a lot of fun because it involves bench work and a wide variety of techniques and procedures.”

She says she is learning to handle unexpected results. “When this happens it's hard to remain confident in your abilities and to not second-guess yourself.”

“The most fun part is when your results are what you expected, or there is at least a logical explanation for them,” she says. “The good thing about my project is there are multiple checkpoints where we can see if everything is working so far, so we know when we can continue and when we need to reevaluate a step."

Preziosi says she is grateful for her prior laboratory experience, “I have been able to dive right into my projects without spending time learning basic techniques and concepts.”

She says she would love to come away with solid results and possibly a finished product, but, “I know that research is extremely unpredictable and it's not good to put a strict deadline on it!”

“I hope to improve my critical thinking skills and my independence in a laboratory setting. I think I have been making good progress, because my principal investigator and I always stop to discuss results and I offer my interpretation, predictions, and suggestions for next steps.”

Preziosi will return to the University of Rochester this fall as a senior and will work in a lab at Strong Memorial Hospital that studies melanoma. She plans to attend graduate school as a PhD candidate in biochemistry, genetics, or possibly cancer biology.

“Cancer research is definitely what I see myself doing!” she says.

Read more "Spotlight on Summer Interns" stories here. 

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