Five Students Starting ABI Biotechnology Research Internships

JONESBORO – Five Arkansas State University students are pursuing their interest in science this summer through the Biotechnology Research Internship Program at the Arkansas Biosciences Institute (ABI) facility on campus.

The program provides basic support for A-State undergraduate science majors who want research experience in life sciences or applications of life sciences during the summer of their sophomore or junior years.

Each student is matched with a faculty mentor who is conducting research related to biotechnology or biology from one of several departments and colleges, based largely on the student’s interests.  Selection also is based on academic credentials.

The students, along with their future plans and comments from their applications are:


— Madalyn Rose Weiner of Little Rock, a double major in biology and chemistry with a pre-medicine emphasis, plans to study medicine for her career.  Her faculty mentor is Dr. Maureen Dolan, associate professor of molecular biology.

“My love for healthcare and people has directed my attention toward surgery. After studying abroad in Europe the spring semester of my freshman year, I developed a strong desire to combine human health and wellness with my love for language, culture and travel by devoting a part of my career to international medical mission work. Laying the foundation for my career begins here at A-State, and I am always eager to learn more and serve others . . . I think it is also neat that local students are able to take part in research at ABI, as it promotes positive community growth and social unity. The opportunity that ABI provides undergraduate students is excellent for gaining experience in a real research setting; the transition from learning essential biological and chemical concepts in the classroom to practically applying them in the lab is what constitutes true learning.”

Dozier Oliver news

— Oliver Dozier of Paragould is a biological sciences major with an emphasis in pre-professional studies, and a general business minor.  His faculty mentor also is Dr. Maureen Dolan.

“I elected to apply for this research institute to gain experience in a research lab to prepare for my Honors Senior Thesis.  My career goal is to become a dentist and practice in my hometown.  I have always been interested in science because of the important role it plays in human physiology and our daily lives, and I am fascinated by the idea that continued research and accrual of knowledge drives the progress of the world.  I chose to attend Arkansas State University because of the strong family ties I have to the university, the proximity of the university to my hometown, the scholarship I was awarded, and the quality of education I knew I would receive.”

Nelson Kayleigh news

— Kayleigh Nelson of Marion plans to go to medical school after completing undergraduate studies at A State.  Her faculty mentor is Dr. Malathi Srivatsan, professor of molecular biology and assistant director of ABI.

“I applied for this internship as a way to broaden my horizons. This internship would give me the hands on experience and the opportunity to learn even more about the human brain than I could in a standard classroom setting. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a part of a team doing great things in science.  The thing that most sparked my interest in science is the possibilities. They are endless, and every day we are learning more and more.  Science is the foundation of everything.”

Rhoads Dustin news

— Dustin Rhoads of Trumann plans to go to dental school after completing his degree at A-State.  His faculty mentor also is Dr. Malathi Srivatsan.

“I chose to apply for this internship mostly because of my interest in the field. Neurology has always been and interest of mine. Furthermore, the research we are doing at Dr. Srivatsan’s Lab could be used to help so many people. Neuroregeneration could impact the lives of millions, and to be a part of something that could do that is very special to me. What sparked my interest in science was the way it’s completely unique from all other academic fields, it has no sense of complacency, and is forever evolving. I’m the kind of person who would rather study how things work as opposed to memorizing hard set facts, so the sciences are definitely for me regarding that aspect. I chose Arkansas State University because growing up I was always around it, almost developing it as a second home before even leaving high school, also accompanied with the report of its programs, made it a complete match for me.”


— Aylin Villalpa-Arroyo of Hidalgo, Mexico, and current resident of Forrest City, is a biotechnology/pre-professional major and plans to attend medical school.  Her faculty mentor is Dr. Brett Savary, research professor at ABI.

“I acquired an avid interest in science at an early age after spending much time playing with chemistry and medical kits that I used to get as presents. Moreover, after growing up in a major agricultural area, I have expanded an interest in agriculture from my family’s involvement in agricultural production, predominantly of rice. This is what led me to choose Dr. Savary as my ABI research intern mentor, as his laboratory studies the dietary benefits of rice bran for healthy colon functioning, and this coincides with both of my interests – rice and healthcare.”

Each internship is valued at $2,500.  The students work 20 hours per week for 10 weeks.  An additional $500 is provided to the supporting laboratory for research supplies.

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(pics attached: Weiner, Nelson, Rhoads, Dozier and Villalpa-Arroyo)

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