Keystone Honors Student Spends Summer Doing 2 Competitive Internships
June 18, 2014
Clockwise from top left: Aspiring veterinarian Samih Taylor holds a spider crab at the NOAA Aquarium; Samih encountered this calf at the New Bolton Center; Samih checks a marsh for salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, and temperature while conducting research; Samih holds a horseshoe crab.
Samih Taylor, a Keystone Honors Academy rising junior, has been very busy over summer break. The double major in marine biology and ecology took on--not one--but two internships. The Bala Cynwyd, PA resident was competitively selected to participate in the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine 2014 Summer VETS Program, an accelerated one week program that included lectures, work in laboratories, clinical rotations, as well as an assignment at the New Bolton Center, Penn's large animal facility.
"It was wicked awesome," the 19-year-old exclaims of her May experience. "I enjoyed it so thoroughly. I loved it so much!"
The Cheyney University student was among 18 students selected to participate in the prestigious program that gives students a better understanding of the challenges and rewards of the veterinary profession.
"It was a rigorous course with classes from 8 am to 5 pm every day with different assignments," she explains. The animal lover has wanted to be a veterinarian ever since she was 7 years old. That's when she decided that she did not need to get nutrition from animals, gave up meat and became a strict vegetarian.
While at Penn, Taylor saw surgery performed on a police dog which, she says, was "treated like a real war veteran. U of Penn treats its patients really well."
In addition to the Penn opportunity, she was competitively selected to participate in the all-expense paid 2014 Partnership Education Program (PEP) in “Ocean and Environmental Sciences: Global Climate Change” in Woods Hole, Massachusetts that began May 30 and will end on August 13. Under the program, she and the 11 other selected students are each assigned a research project with a scientist.
"I love it," she gushes. "Everyone is from different states. We all have separate mentors and we are each doing something different when it comes to a project." She and her mentor are working on plasticology. "We're finding different diseases that are in areas they've never been found in before and that's because these microbes are using the plastic pollution that people are putting into the ocean as a conduit to get to new places--almost like their mode of transportation."
Despite the 5-6 hour-long classes, she finds it all fascinating, invigorating and absolutely life-changing.
"I'm around other kids who are really focused. I'm learning about so many things. I'm taking geology, chemistry, marine ecology, global productivity, biogeochemistry, all kinds of classes. Every class is different and I'm learning so much. I'm having a lot of fun and I'm exposed to stuff people my age arent even interested in. I am loving every minute of it."
When she takes time to focus on the opportunities that she's been given, she is overwhelmed. "I can't believe that I was selected for an internship at an Ivy League school (Penn) and in the Mecca of Science (Woods Hole, MA). According to Taylor, Woods Hole has six top institutions/laboratories: United States Geological Survey, Sea Education Association, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Marine Biological Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Wood Hole Research Center. She's already met with the CEO of NOAA and is soaking up every bit of knowledge that she can get like a sponge.
The Army brat who moved every 1 to 3 years of her life, is the oldest of 3 and the first to go to college. She is determined to make the most of her college experience in and out of the classroom. Her goal is to apply to half a dozen veterinary schools, including Penn, once she graduates from Cheyney, and go on to a successful career as a doctor for animals.