By Andreana Holowatyj
Student in the Undergraduate Summer Fellowship Program in Cancer Biology at Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University School of Medicine.
My connection with the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute started about two months ago as a participant of the Undergraduate Summer Fellowship Program in the Cancer Biology Graduate Program at Karmanos and Wayne State University School of Medicine (WSU SOM). I am presently an undergraduate student at Benedictine University in Illinois, majoring in Medical Humanities and Mathematics, and will be applying to graduate programs to commence in the fall of 2013.
For 10 weeks this summer, I have the unique opportunity and privilege to be working in the lab of Dr. Zeng-quan Yang, Ph.D., assistant professor in Breast Cancer Biology in the Department of Oncology at Karmanos and WSU SOM.
The impetus for selecting this summer fellowship opportunity in Detroit is mainly because of my family history with cancer. My grandfather lost his long battle with lymph node cancer roughly 10 years ago, and watching that experience as a child motivated me to pursue a career in the medical field that would make a difference.
Of all my research experiences, my time at Karmanos has been the experience that has had the greatest impact on me and my educational career. Under the superb mentorship of Dr. Yang, I have had the opportunity to participate in a clinical laboratory and work towards his various research goals that focus on developing new and better treatments for esophageal, breast and prostate cancers.
Furthermore, this fellowship has solidified my desire to pursue a graduate degree in Cancer Biology.
Every day that I enter the Institute I am surrounded by patients who utilize Karmanos’ resources. It brings a smile to my face and warms my heart to see the people whose lives could be improved through the hard work of all the researchers at Karmanos; participation in these research efforts is what has put all of my career goals into perspective.
Overall, not only has this experience made me consider further educational options that incorporate a focus on cancer after I graduate college next year, but it also has made me appreciate this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as an undergraduate student to work with such distinguished faculty and staff.
I look forward to what my fellowship has to offer and hope to return to Karmanos at some point in my future career.