McLaughlin Institute
  1. Meet MRI’s 2019 Summer Interns

    November 12, 2019 by admin

    Havilah Neujahr has always loved biology and is no stranger to research.  Under the supervison of her math instructor and advisor at the University of Providence, Havilah embarked upon a research project that involved classifying moles as either malignant or benign based on the ABCD classification system.  A = asymmetry, B= border irregularity, C= color, D=diameter.  Once numerical values were calculated for each classification, those numbers were run through two logistic regression models, the quadratic model and the linear model.  The output for each value was the probability of whether each more was malignant or benign.  During the process of gathering and analyzing data, Havilah discovered she loved math AND research in addition to biology.  She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Bachelor of Science in mathematics from the University of Providence.  Havilah has already earned an Associate of Arts and an Associate of Science degree from Great Falls College, MSU  Outside of her studies, Havilah tutors students in calculus, statistics, computer science, physics.

     

     

    Gail Parambi has aspired to work in the medical field since she was a child.  Gail is currently working as an extern in the office of local neurologist, Dr. Dennis Dietrich.  She is very interested in the clinical trials underway through Dr. Dietrich’s practice and has seen first hand the everyday plight of patients with neurodegenerative diseases.  Gail has taken time to research the diseases that are part of the clinical trials so she can speak to these patients with understanding.  Gail has been intrigued by McLaughlin’s own Dr. John Mercer and his research detecting inherited cardiomyopathies. Gail is currently a senior at C.M. Russell high school.  She is involved in many activities outside of school including the varsity tennis team as well as holding an officer position in the CMR HOSA-Future Health Professional organization.  Gail also competes in tournaments around the state on the Lincoln Douglas varsity debate team.

     

     

    Joseph Guter was a student intern in 2018 and returned to volunteer during the 2019 school year and through the summer. Joseph continued his work on characterizing the  SLC1A4 function and the function of two SLC1A4 mutations known to cause disease in people.  During his summer internship last summer, Joseph characterized SLC1A4 function in frog oocytes under the direction of Derek Silvius.  This year, Joseph began looking at SLC1A4 function in tissue culture using astrocyte cultures.


  2. Summer Program 2019

    by admin

    The goal of educators is to equip students with the skills, tools and knowledge they will need to engage in the world around them.  That world is continuously changing and is increasingly impacted by technology.  Student interns at McLaughlin Institute had the opportunity to participate in a project that brought technology to the science laboratory classroom. University of Providence junior Havilah Neujahr and CMR senior Gail Parambi took over 20,000 digital images of microorganisms for use in creation of online resources for science labs.

    Experiences in sciences labs are an important component of higher education as experiments can make fundamental concepts tangible for students.  Because of the practical, hands on nature of sciecne labs, this category of education has been one of the last areas to move to online distance learning.  Microbiological studies in particular present unique challenges because biological samples are difficult to simulate with virtual labs and often are too hazardous to let a student conduct the experiment at home.

    The intern project, overseen by affiliate MRI faculty member Dr. Brenda Canine, addressed both of these issues.   “By creating a catalog of microbiological samples we can create a large number of laboratory scenarios for students to interact with, and because these were real lab samples, collected by students, common pitfalls we see in teaching labs were also replicated and can be incorporated into the scenario. When things don’t work absolutely perfectly is when critical thinking and problem solving skills can be developed.”    Using an online learning system allows these scenarios to be put into a practice and delivered to distance learners.

    Distance education is especially important in a geographically large and academically isolated state like Montana.  By having these online resources for students, opportunities become available for students in rural areas.  Distance learning can increase access and enable students to develop and hone technology skills.


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