Focused scientific internship helps build Arizona’s biomedical workforce
PHOENIX, Ariz. – July 26, 2013 – Arizona’s future leaders in biology and medicine graduated today from one of the nation’s premier scientific internship programs, sponsored by Helios Education Foundation and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).
The 45 interns in the 2013 Helios Scholars at TGen summer internship program completed eight weeks of biomedical investigations and presented their findings at a daylong scientific symposium July 26 at the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel.
Under the mentorship of TGen researchers – who provide one-on-one instruction – Helios Scholars use cutting-edge technology to help discover the genetic causes of diseases such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.
This is the seventh class of Helios Scholars at TGen, funded for 25 years by Helios Education Foundation. Helios is focused on creating opportunities for individuals to succeed in postsecondary education by advancing the academic preparedness of all students and fostering a high-expectations, college-going culture in Arizona and Florida.
“TGen’s summer intern program is one of the premier examples of how students can become immersed in the sciences and see a real connection between the work they’re doing in labs and future career opportunities in the field,” said Helios Education Foundation President and CEO Paul Luna. “At Helios Education Foundation, we believe in the transformational power of education. The Helios Scholars at TGen program is helping prepare students for academic success while potentially making scientific breakthroughs that could improve the lives of future generations.”
The program is open to high school, undergraduate and graduate level students, including those in medical school.
“Our partnership with the Helios Education Foundation is helping prepare a whole new generation of biomedical investigators for Arizona,” said Dr. Jeffrey Trent, TGen’s President and Research Director. “We help them explore the biosciences beyond the classroom, honing their skills through participating in potentially life-changing research projects.”
The internships help students from diverse backgrounds – selected from a competitive pool of nearly 500 applicants – sharpen their research skills as they prepare for careers in science and medicine.
In addition to technical skills, students participate in professional development seminars that broaden their knowledge and skills in science communication, networking, career development, business etiquette and public speaking. The ultimate goal of the seminars is to produce savvy, polished future scientists and physicians.
“Many of this year’s Helios Scholars were born after the start of the Human Genome Project,” said Brandy Wells, TGen’s Manager of Science Education and Outreach. “These students of the genome-age are torchbearers for future medical discoveries, based on a precise understanding of the genetic underpinnings of human disease.”
The program application opens in January of each year for the following summer at www.tgen.org/intern.
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About Helios Education Foundation
Helios Education Foundation is focused on creating opportunities for individuals to succeed in postsecondary education by advancing the academic preparedness of all students and fostering a high-expectations, college-going culture in Arizona and Florida. The Foundation focuses its investments across the education continuum in three key impact areas: Early Childhood Education, the Transition Years and Postsecondary Success. As an engaged foundation, embedded in communities across both states, the Foundation is contributing its leadership, expertise and financial resources to better prepare students to succeed academically and to compete in a globally competitive economy. Since 2006, Helios has invested over $130 million in education-related programs and initiatives in Arizona and Florida. As part of that, approximately $12 million has been invested in STEM programs and initiatives. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.helios.org.
Marketing Communications Director
Helios Education Foundation
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. Research at TGen is focused on helping patients with diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes. TGen is on the cutting edge of translational research where investigators are able to unravel the genetic components of common and complex diseases. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities, TGen believes it can make a substantial contribution to the efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information, visit: www.tgen.org.
TGen Senior Science Writer