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McLaughlin Research Institute solicits applications for summer interns

MRI Intern Applications
Posted at 5:13 PM, Feb 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-21 11:54:39-05

GREAT FALLS — Micropipetting and gel electrophoresis might sound like foreign terms to most of us, but for students taking part in the McLaughlin Research Institute's internship program, they are as common as summer vacation.

The innovative facility is looking for bright minds to take part in the program again this year.

Great Falls High School senior Ellah Dake is looking forward to a career in Genetic Counseling. She plans to attend Montana State University and is already off to a good start thanks to spending last summer in the McLaughlin Research Institute’s internship program.

“Micropipetting is one of the major things that I learned and I’m still using it today,” said Dake. “I learned a lot of things that helped me in my AP Biology course.”

The program is open to students who have completed their junior or senior year and college students. Participants should be on track for four years of math, biology, chemistry and or physics.

During the 8-week internship, students are actively engaged in a McLaughlin led research project, culminating in a formal presentation summarizing the research.

“It exposes the kids to a lot of different techniques,” said McLaughlin Research Institute Senior Research Assistant and internship coordinator Jill O’Moore. “They have access to a lot of our contacts. Nationwide, very prestigious scientists around the country are actively involved in the science here at McLaughlin.”

MRI Intern Applications

On average, about ten students participate each summer.

O’Moore says the program can carry a lot of weight for students as they enter college or continue in college in a scientific discipline. She also says it can be beneficial in helping students discover if a career in science is not for them.

“They may come in and go ‘Oh man, I thought this was going to be like CSI and it’s nothing like that and I hate this and I don’t want to do this,’” said O’Moore. “That’s valuable, all of that is valuable. Knowing what you don’t want to do is just as valuable as figuring out what you want to do.”

Since the program began in 1956, many of the interns have gone on to successful careers in research or medicine. And some remain in contact with MRI.

“There are a few that we do stay in contact with,” said O’Moore. “So, it’s exciting when they come back into town, they’ll always stop in and say hi. That’s really gratifying to know that we’re still in their hearts.”

Dake says the internship was invaluable. In addition to helping her in science courses, it also helped in her role as president of her school’s HOSA program, a student led future health professionals' organization.

“I have recommended it and I will continue to recommend it for students in Great Falls because it’s a really great opportunity to be able to expand your knowledge and really help the people who have an interest in science,” said Dake.

Applications for McLaughlin’s summer intern program will be taken through early March. Information is available by clicking here. The program, which offers stipends, begins June 12 and continues through August 4th.