Six academically gifted college students from across the United States have been appointed to the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute summer internship program.

The rigorous, five-week program, which began July 1, continues through Aug. 9. Funding for the program comes from the Donald and Coeta Barker Foundation endowment fund, in addition to endowment funds from the Helen Close Foundation, the Parson Foundation and the Robert Demott Fund.

“This year’s class is a diverse, highly-qualified group of young science scholars,” said Rem Laan, executive director of the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute. “They were selected from a competitive field of over 60 applicants. The program, which has been in existence for more than 20 years, offers interns a rare opportunity to deeply experience our research, education and care programs that support our mission to prevent, treat and cure diabetes. We see the program as vital to supporting the next generation of caring physicians skilled in managing and preventing diabetes in their patients.”

Directed by board Vice President Sandra Tillisch Svoboda, interns participate in a weekly journal club where they learn to critically evaluate scientific literature, attend presentations on all aspects of diabetes given by staff, visiting scientists and practicing physicians in the community, shadow doctors in a wide-range of specialty practices, and participate in discussions on current issues in medicine.

Virtually all previous Sansum Diabetes interns have gone on to medical school or graduate school, attending some of the finest institutions in the nation, including Vanderbilt University, the University of Pennsylvania and UC San Francisco. Some former interns have specialized in endocrinology and diabetes. They become experts in diabetes research and treatment protocols, thus expanding Sansum Diabetes Research Institute’s reach and helping to improve the lives of people with diabetes around the world.

2013 Interns

Adrian Cotarelo
College attending: The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md.
Major: Public health studies
Minor: Spanish for the professions
Background experiences: EMS, research, and the field of public health
Future plans: Attend medical school, but planning to first apply to the Masters of Health Science Epidemiology program at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Joshua Kalish
College attending: Tulane University in New Orleans, La.
Major: Mathematics
Background experiences: Helped implement electronic medical records for three physicians’ offices and shadowed physicians. Involved in creating a nonprofit organization that helps support and comfort patients undergoing treatment with chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
Future plans: Clinical practice

Kara Lu
College attending: Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass.
Major: Biology
Minor: Computer science
Background experiences: Spent a year working in an evolutionary genetics lab sequencing and genotyping DNA for various weevil populations in the Galapagos Islands. Interned at MedImmune LLC., which gave her experience in learning and adapting to new techniques and technology in an industry setting. Had a position in the Human-Computer Interaction lab where the research centered around the role of computers in synthetic biology.
Future plans: Clinical practice

Andrew Thorne
College attending: UC Berkeley
Major: Public Health
Background experiences: Worked in rural Honduras doing public health and medical volunteer work. Has been a research assistant developing skills in transfection, cell culture, and immunohistochemistry.
Future plans: Medical school

Homaira Zaman
College attending: UC Santa Barbara (graduated June 13)
Major: Biochemistry
Background experiences: Volunteer in the oncology department of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Emergency room, GVCH, shadowed pediatrics and internal medicine at Sansum Clinic. Worked in the Hayton Lab, UCSB, investigating possible new methods of carbon-nitrogen bond formation. Most recently investigated the scope of copper-mediated catalysis.
Future plans: Medical school

Sophie Pollack
College attending: UCLA
Major: Psychobiology
Background experiences: UCLA Care Extenders Medical Internship. Intern on Liver Transplant Floor, Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit, and Emergency Department UCLA Ronald Reagan Hospital and UCLA Medical Center Santa Monica

— Sarah Ettman-Sterner is the director of communications for the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute.