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Summer Interns Learn Real Life Science

Wednesday, August 3, 2016  
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While most students were enjoying their summer at the beach or camp, a select group of students spent their summer as interns at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. They each devoted four or eight weeks on agricultural and natural products research with potentially significant benefits for Southern Virginia and the Commonwealth. 

Each intern worked with an IALR scientist on current research projects including the use of near infrared cameras for plant analysis, antimicrobial screening of the extract from Aloe Vera leaves, establishment of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based purple sweet potato virus detection system, and the comparison of bacterial endophytes from switchgrass grown in high- and low-nutrient soils.

Averett University senior Taylor Jones completed his internship under the direction of Yinghui Dan, Ph.D. studying tomato grafting and phenotyping.  “The internship has benefited me by increasing my knowledge in the fields of science and math through different lab practices and statistical analysis practices. This internship has also given me the opportunity to get hands-on experience in an actual work environment,” said Jones.

Academy for Engineering and Technology senior Arielle Hunt screened extract from Aloe Vera leaves for antimicrobial properties under the direction of Satya Kadali, Ph.D.  “This internship encouraged me to continue my pursuit of being a chemical engineer,” said Hunt.

“Internships provide critical work-based learning experiences for young adults.  Not only will they learn technical skills, they will develop the essential skills required in any profession.  IALR and the IALR Foundation are pleased to offer these opportunities,” said Dr. Julie Brown, Director of Advanced Learning.  Funding for the internship program is provided by the IALR Foundation.

The eight interns included students from the Academy for Engineering and Technology (AET), Piedmont Governor’s School, Averett University, and Danville Community College.

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