Christine Rath, Interim Superintendent
30 Linden Street
Exeter, NH 03833
For Immediate Release
Friday, Oct. 13, 2017
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Seacoast School of Technology Students Complete Biotechnology Internships at UNH
EXETER — Principal Margaret Callahan announces that senior biotechnology students at Seacoast School of Technology presented on their summer internships last week, several of whom spent time conducting experiments and research at the University of New Hampshire.
On Thursday, Oct. 5, 17 students presented to their peers, parents, Biotechnology Advisory Committee Members and the SST administration, sharing their experiences at UNH, the New Hampshire Department of Justice, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and Southern New Hampshire University.
Seniors Sarah Boisvert, from Exeter High School, Ali Gannon, from Sanborn Regional High School, and Miranda Saysouk, from Newmarket Junior/Senior High School, completed 160-hour internships at UNH labs, furthering their skills in biotechnology. UNH host labs in the departments of Molecular Biology, Cellular Biology, Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Sciences, Institute for Earth, Oceans and Space and the Hubbard Genome Center.
“Our summer internship programs are such an important aspect to students’ overall learning experience here at the Seacoast School of Technology because it puts them in real-life scenarios where they can gain firsthand knowledge on what it’s like to work in their field of study,” Principal Callahan said. “In situations like our partnership with UNH, students who complete internships earn credits for their work that they can then use if they pursue a postsecondary degree.”
While at UNH, Boisvert worked within the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Sciences, under the leadership of Cheryl Whistler. There, she studied the competitive traits of a certain bacterium commonly found in oyster farm populations, which can be potentially harmful to humans, to determine which strains are most biologically adaptable. Through research and data analysis, Boisvert was able to pinpoint long-living strains of the bacteria and the most dominant colonies of that species.
“I was honored to be a part of this research,” Boisvert said, “It opened my eyes to what’s going on in the current world and that microbiology is all around us.”
Gannon spent her internship at UNH’s Instrumentation Center and Rudman Hall, working under Dr. Krisztina Varga to test to what extent antifreeze proteins depress the freezing point of different cells. Experimenting with different concentrations, and studying the structure of the protein, Gannon and her team determined that the antifreeze protein could in fact lower the freezing point of a substance while also protecting the cells from damage.
“It was great to be able work alongside undergraduates at UNH, and although the project is ongoing, we were able to reach a conclusion,” Gannon said. “This internship was extremely beneficial to learning more about the industry I plan to enter following graduation.”
Saysouk worked under the lead of Dr. Kang Wu in the Biochemistry Department on a project that aimed to determine the specificity and sensitivity of a lead-sensing protein when it was exposed to mutations. Learning more about how the protein responded to mutations could give scientists more information as to how they react in the world, especially when bound with other metals like ions such as zinc, calcium and cadmium.
Much like what occurs in the lab every day, Saysouk started from scratch with her experiments. She had to work around issues like contaminated samples and used trial and error in an effort to determine a concrete conclusion. The project is still ongoing, but Saysouk left with a better understanding of the research, field and her future studies.
“I experienced what a lot of scientists experience in the real world, which is that you go through a lot of trial and error to better understand things,” Saysouk said. “I learned a lot from this experience and it made me realize that when I go to college, I’d like to work in a lab and experiment with different pathways until some type of solution is reached.”
About Seacoast School of Technology:
The Seacoast School of Technology is the regional Career and Technical Center serving high school students from Epping, Exeter, Newmarket, Raymond, Sanborn Regional and Winnacunnet high schools.
SST offers selective coursework preparing students for their lives after high school- college, work or the military. Many of their 12 programs allow students to earn college credit and industry-recognized certifications while fulfilling their high school graduation requirements. Most importantly, students get the opportunity to explore areas of interest in a hands-on environment with state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge technology.
To find out more, visit seacoasttech.com.