In Their Own Words: MSU ASCEND Scholars Share Their Summer Internship Experiences

Share this posting on social media!

Contact Info:

Read what Morgan State University ASCEND Scholars have to say about their summer internship experiences.


BUILD Scholar Phylicia Cooper (right) and her mentor Emily Sanford (left)


Phylicia Cooper (Psychology, Class of 2022)

“I have been conducting research in the Johns Hopkins University Lab for Child Development under the supervision of my Principal Investigator, Dr. Justin Halberda, and my mentor Emily Sanford. We have been working on a study that analyzes how kids ages 5 to 9 estimate the number of objects in a scene at a brief glance. I have had the pleasure of emailing parents, recruiting kids to do our study, and running the experiments. I am currently in the final stage of my project and creating my first research poster.”

Ayanna Henry (Psychology, Class of 2022)

“I am currently working with Dr. Jason Levine [who runs a physical therapy company called] Focused Physio. Working with Dr. Levine is still all online due to the pandemic, but we have been working together to create mental health PowerPoint presentations that will be posted for his clientele to see on blogs and social media! This coincides perfectly with his physical therapy work and my psychology passion. He has also been giving me great podcasts and information on sports psychology, which falls right into my field of interest.”

Chyna Roger (Psychology, Class of 2022)

“For my internship, I have been working alongside psychiatrists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Researchers are conducting multiple studies to determine whether the drugs pregabalin and minocycline can eliminate alcohol use disorders. When individuals are interested in participating in this study, they are tasked with calling to be screened. My job is to ask potential participants specific questions to find out whether they qualify, or will be a good fit for the experiment.”

Deja Caton (Biology, Class of 2022)

“This summer, I have been working in the laboratory of Dr. Rebecca Haeusler at Columbia University, under the mentorship of Ph.D. candidate Jennifer Gamarra. We have been examining the role of metallothionein1 (Mt1) and [metallothionein2] Mt2 in the livers of mice in a physiological or diseased state such as conditions of fasting. In this study, we utilized quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) to examine the effects of metallothionein on the liver to characterize gene expression changes. One of our findings has been that insulin has little to no effect on Mt1 or Mt2 expression. Through this research, we hope to better understand how Mt1 and Mt2 differ from other Mts, as they all remain localized in the central nervous system, and we can further understand metal ions in the liver.”

Emmanuela Kodjo (Medical Laboratory Sciences, Class of 2022)

“This summer. I am conducting research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine on the antidepressant effects of psilocybin and the sex differences associated with antidepressant response. My research Principal Investigator is Dr. Scott Thompson, the chair of the physiology department. My mentor is Andreas Wulff, a senior graduate student in his laboratory. I’m also a part of the School of Medicine’s summer program. I attend weekly seminars and will be participating in the summer forum.”

Jaden Dawson (Biology, Class of 2023)

“During my internship at Johns Hopkins University, I have been researching hearing loss in cats by segmenting layer 4 of the cerebral cortex. My mentor is Dr. Kwame Kutten and I am working in Dr. Tilak Ratnanather’s lab.”

Kamilah Degraphenreed (Psychology, Class of 2022)

“During my BUILD A Bridge to STEM internship at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, I had the opportunity to work on a research project with faculty mentor Dr. Jeff Leips. This project focused on the genetic basis behind natural variation and the impact of pleiotropy on phenotypic traits. We worked to identify traits that are connected via pleiotropic genes.”

The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.
Need Assistance? Please contact our support team: .