Four rising Hollins University seniors who intend to pursue careers in STEM fields got the chance this summer to intern at one of the nation’s foremost academic medical centers.
Biology majors Ya Gao and Assma Shabab and chemistry majors Veronica Able-Thomas and Rania Asif spent eight weeks in June and July working at the NYU Langone Medical Center in Manhattan.
“Growing numbers of Hollins students are interested in STEM fields,” said Karen Cardozo, Hollins’ executive director of career development. To help STEM students become more competitive candidates for postgraduate education, she called upon her brother, Timothy J. Cardozo, who is an associate professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular pharmacology at NYU Langone.
“Tim generously agreed to open a special Hollins pipeline to his lab at NYU for a pilot program this summer,” Karen Cardozo explained. “As an interdisciplinary researcher with dual degrees, he’s an especially flexible mentor, able to support students with a wide variety of interests.”
The internship program furthers Timothy Cardozo’s relationship with Hollins. Last April, he participated in a “PreMed Plus” panel at the university, joining alumnae and others who hold a variety of roles in a range of healthcare fields. He also provided informal mentoring to students especially interested in the M.D. and/or Ph.D. tracks.
Karen Cardozo praised “the incredible generosity of Hollins also who stepped up immediately as donors when the opportunity arose to place these students at NYU.”
Two remarkable qualities of a Hollins education are the opportunities for real-world experience that alumnae champion for current undergraduates, and the wide range of study abroad options that the university fosters around the globe.
Throughout this academic year, Liza Davis ’19 is enjoying the best of both worlds. The double-major in communication studies and French is living in Paris and interning with Imerys Carbonates, an international company that mines, transforms, and creates functional minerals for a variety of applications from plastics, paints, and film to pharmaceuticals and even calcium fortifications for orange juice and toothpaste. Davis’s internship doesn’t consist of menial tasks: She serves as the manager and content creator for an important social media campaign called “History Rocks in Paris.”
“Our main goal is to show some of the many places where you can find carbonates in Paris,” Davis explains. “Carbonates are minerals found in the earth and three of the most common forms that Imerys works with are marble, chalk, and limestone.
“Paris has tons of carbonates. For example, there are thousands of marble statues and buildings and there are also limestone tunnels that crisscross the whole city. Minerals are a difficult product to make relatable to regular people, so what better way to make carbonates interesting than to talk about them in relation to Paris.”
The catalyst behind Davis’s internship is Lauren Dale ’09, who serves as a global communications strategist for Imerys. She transferred to the company’s Paris headquarters nearly two years ago after working in Imerys’s Atlanta office for two and a half years.
“As the beneficiary of two competitive J-term internships hosted by alumnae, I have always been open to having a Hollins student as an intern,” she says. “I know the educational culture from which a Hollins woman is grown. My liberal arts degrees (she double-majored in communication studies and theatre) really rounded out my thinking process and Hollins gave me the courage to take risks – something that has paid off in my career. I would take a Hollins intern or employee in a heartbeat.”
Davis is specifically creating, delivering, and managing Instagram content around the “History Rocks” concept. “She is actively contributing to the development of this new (to our business) communications platform and campaign by developing the campaign overview, target subjects and content, hashtags and audience connection mechanisms, and of course, helping track the analytics,” Dale says. “In addition, she is working on a couple of other projects during her internship, adding ideas and providing support for some of our new engagements with her fresh young eyes. She is also, of course, bringing some American female diversity to a very French, masculine company!”
“I have done research on everything from who’s buried in the Pantheon to what kind of sealants hold the windows together in the Louis Vuitton Foundation,” Davis adds. “I’ve also looked at how social media campaigns can benefit companies like Imerys Carbonates. I am so excited about this campaign.”
Davis’s enthusiasm extends to the way of living she’s discovered in Paris. “This city constantly surprises me. Some of the stereotypes are true: French people do walk down the street carrying four or more baguettes at once! But others are false, such as the notion that Parisians aren’t friendly. One of the most striking things about these people, and something that really reminds me of Hollins, is the profound depth of their relationships. The French believe in truly meaningful bonds that last lifetimes, and it has touched me deeply to see the same kind of strong connections that I have found at Hollins in a city as big as Paris.”
Davis is quick to express her gratitude to Dale. “Being in this position for a longer time has allowed me to settle into a work routine and handle more long-term projects. I’ve been able to see what goes into the life of someone working internationally in the communications field, and that alone has been incredibly valuable for me. I’ve also been able to see the real-world applications of what I am studying, and that gives me guidance in my work at Hollins. I am so lucky to know that I will be walking away from this internship with projects done that I am proud of and that I can use in the future, and that’s all thanks to Lauren. On my first day, she sat down with me to make sure that I was going to get what I wanted out of this internship. Working with someone like her has definitely shown me the importance of taking initiative and helping others see the value in my work.”
In an interesting postscript, Dale shares that Hollins’s ties with the work of Imerys Carbonates go beyond her employment and Davis’s internship with the company. “I’m not sure what mineral comprises the Hollins Rock, but all those layers of paint on it probably have carbonates in them. Tinker Mountain, which we of course hike up on Tinker Day, is made of limestone. And Hollins sits on the Athens Shale, a blue-black limestone deposit that dates back 250 million years.
“Hollins women have been learning and creating history alongside our very own calcium carbonates for years!”
To see Davis’s work on the History Rocks in Paris campaign, visit @imeryscarbonates on Instagram.
In the May 2016 issue of Vanity Fair magazine, author Lisa Birnbach profiles nine women’s colleges, including Hollins University. She strongly makes the case that women’s colleges remain relevant: “The richness and intimacy of these students’ experiences are enviable and inspiring. As a college-guidebook writer and a mother of college students, I have not heard so many students talk about appreciating their educations.”
Birnbach notes that Hollins’ “secret sauce is the intensely involved alumnae, who return to campus whenever they’re invited as mentors, and who provide internship opportunities to the students. It’s an irresistible combination….Students have interned at major law firms in Washington and New York, Estée Lauder, the Republican National Committee, the Stonewall Community Foundation, the Library of Congress, PBS, and the National Dance Institute.”
Rory Keeley ’17 envisions her life’s work as combining her study of mathematics with a passion for art. Chasing that dream has helped open the door to a summer position with one of the largest and most highly regarded art museums in the world.
Keeley, who hails from Charlotte, North Carolina, will spend ten weeks this summer as the market research intern for New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“My primary responsibilities will include data analysis and modeling that will turn audience-based data into actionable results for the museum,” she explained. “I will also be using my skills in statistical analysis to inform the museum’s future vision.
“This internship blends the fields of mathematics and art history and will allow me to gain invaluable experience for future career opportunities.”
Keeley’s upcoming internship at The Met builds upon her already impressive exposure to the museum world. She served as the curatorial office and human resources intern at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, and also worked as the advancement intern at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) in Richmond.
“Working in development at the VMFA was made possible by a Hollins alumna and one of my professors. I was able to acquire skills using math in a way that applies to the art world, but I wanted more experience. After some amazing guidance and encouragement from my advisors at Hollins, I applied to The Met.”
Keeley soon faced a happy dilemma: She also applied for a development internship at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and wound up with offers from both The Met and The Guggenheim. Again, she called upon her advisors to help her consider her options and determine which museum would be a better fit. In the end, she and her advisors decided that The Met presented an internship department, program, and growth opportunities that coincided with her aspirations.
“I cannot thank Hollins enough for fostering my ambition to pursue such unique career goals and giving me the support to fulfill that ambition,” she said. “Without the opportunities and connections I have at Hollins, I would never have been able to make this internship at The Met a reality.”
Nguyen, who is double-majoring in economics and environmental science, was selected from a highly competitive pool of qualified candidates. Her internship will take place June 20 – August 12.
Founded in 1933, AIER is a widely recognized independent source of economic information, stemming from its proprietary research and publications. The institute’s internship program provides highly accomplished high school and college students with an introduction to economic research. Students work closely with AIER research fellows, which enhances their understanding of economic concepts, theories, and real-world applications.
The intensive, eight-week residential program takes place June 4 – July 31, and is conducted in collaboration with Western Michigan University.
Since 1974, AEASP has increased diversity and helped prepare talented undergraduates who are seriously considering post-graduate studies in economics. The program offers students the opportunity to develop and solidify their math and other technical skills, which in turn will enable them to successfully meet the high demands of academically challenging doctoral programs. Students work alongside prominent professors and develop career-long mentorships.
Haidari is double-majoring at Hollins in economics and international studies.
This fall, Hollins sophomores, juniors, and seniors can apply for an impressive array of internships available during the January 2016 Short Term session, thanks to the university’s Signature Internship Program.
Sponsored by alumnae in a variety of fields, these internships carry academic credit and offer a stipend of $300. Housing is often provided.