Alber Douglawi is parlaying “the best academic decision he ever made” to attend Allan Hancock College and its MESA program into an internship at Cornell University this summer. He and 18 other students from Hancock’s Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement (MESA) program have been accepted into competitive internships across the state and nation.
Douglawi will travel the farthest of the group to Ithaca, N.Y., where he will complete a 10-week study in observational astronomy at Cornell. He was one of eight students in the nation chosen for the prestigious undergraduate research internship.
Douglawi, who graduated from Hancock in May, said joining the MESA program allowed him the opportunity to connect with other students studying science and helped him to find and apply for internships. He plans to apply for an internship with NASA next summer, but before that he begins classes in the fall at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, as an aerospace engineering major.
Another recent graduate, Gina Belair, is taking part in an internship at the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford University this summer for the second year in a row. During the internship she will receive assistance in applying for graduate school and understanding geoscience and engineering careers. She will be attending UC Berkeley in the fall.
Janel Case, who will be transferring to UC San Diego in the fall, is spending her summer in a nine-week internship with the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology at UC Riverside. She will be working with faculty on research projects involving microbial biology.
Three Hancock students were chosen to attend a two-part internship at the Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology and the College of Biological Sciences at UC Davis. Having completed the first two weeks during the winter break, Danelyn Bagasol, Wilbado Acevedo and Raul Nava will compete the final two weeks of their internship this summer, taking part in seminars designed to help them find future internships and conducting scientific research.
Thirteen MESA students will be conducting their research right in their own backyard as interns in the science labs at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Miranda Evangelista, Oscar Mendoza, Raul Nava, Lluvia Castañeda, Jeanette Barriga, Kristen Justice, Lindsey Cunningham, Alyssa Zuniga, Karla Elias, Sarai Zavala, Jose Ibarra, Ruben Botello and Ian Rojas will have paid internships through a partnership with Cal Poly and the Bridges to the Baccalaureate program.
Hancock was one of only six community colleges in the nation chosen to receive the Bridges to the Baccalaureate grant to encourage underrepresented minority students to pursue careers in the biomedical or behavioral sciences. In addition to internship opportunities, participants in the program are offered assistance to transfer to Cal Poly after finishing their requirements at Hancock. This is the fifth summer that students have had the opportunity to participate in summer internships at Cal Poly through the $848,000 National Institutes of Health grant.
MESA provides support to students pursuing degrees in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, and students are encouraged to apply for internships to develop their academic and leadership skills as part of their continuing education. The MESA program is accepting applications for the fall semester until Aug. 30.
— Sonja Oglesby is a public affairs and publications technician for Allan Hancock College.