Update (3/1/13): Riley was just featured on St. Jude’s Undergraduate Student Profiles page. Congratulations!
Name: Riley Pace
Major: Chemistry ’13
Internship: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Did you come to CBU knowing you would be Chemistry major?
Yes. The person who made me want to be a Chemistry major is my high-school Chemistry teacher, Israel Cordero who is actually a CBU graduate. He was really great! I loved Chemistry in high school and came in wanting to major in Chemistry and go to pharmacy school. Half-way through my freshman year, I decided I wanted to go to med school. Chemistry was always a good fit for me. I am currently in the process of sending in my secondary med school applications.
Tell us about your internship!
My internship is at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I work in research on this chemotherapy drug called pemetrexed. Pemetrexed is primarily used in the treatment of Medulloblastoma, which is a type of brain tumor. We take a molecule of the drug and send it through this complicated machine and then test the concentration of the drug in blood samples. Once we move on to human samples, we study what happens when the drug enters your body: where it deposits, if it has any effect on the kids’ tumors.
Who do you work with?
I work with Dr. Clinton Stewart in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. He is the principle investigator on the project I’m involved in. I work in his lab and my mentor is Michael Roberts who is a senior technologist in the lab. Dr. Stewart checks our progress, makes sure we are on track. They both have a lot of experience in the field. Dr. Stewart is on the faculty at St. Jude which is very prestigious.
Have you enjoyed your experience at St. Jude?
When you are in Memphis, St. Jude is everywhere. You always hear about the good stuff they are doing, so it is incredible to be a part of it. I don’t get to see the hospital much because I am working in research but the few times I have had an opportunity to go, it’s been crazy! You see all these sick kids walking around and you’d think it would be depressing but it is such a happy place and I think that’s awesome. For Halloween, they decorated everything. They had stations where the kids could go trick-or-treat, some of the faculty dressed up. Some of the scientists on our team dressed up as the Avengers and went and visited the kids. It was pretty sweet.
How did you apply for your internship?
I applied to the Pediatric Oncology Education Program. That’s a summer program, I did it this past summer and my current internship is a continuation of the work I did then. I learned about the program through my advisor, Dr. Denis Merat. Every Chemistry major needs to do a research project in order to graduate and I really wanted to work at St. Jude because it would look fantastic on my resume. I am so happy that I got a chance to do it because over 600 applications come in and only about 60 get chosen. The program is very competitive.
To read more Internship Spotlight pieces, take a look at our recent interviews with Brian Vinson (Sport Management, ’13), Cali Copsey (Mechanical Engineering ’14) and Michalyn Easter (History & Political Science, ’13).
If you are interested in doing an internship, talk to your advisor or contact the Career Center today!