As summer interns at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Isabella Del Priore ’19 and Emily Lufburrow ’19 had similar responsibilities.

Working under medical oncologist Dr. Susan Slovin, they assisted with meetings with prostate cancer patients. They also attended presentations of cancer research. They learned about talking to patients with empathy, and they further understood the connections between research and medicine.

They were among some 250 students who received Bates funding to explore their interests and reflect on what they find meaningful about their work— a key tenet of the college’s Purposeful Work philosophy and, for students, pivotal self-knowledge that will help them align who they are with work that will satisfy them after Bates.

Bridget Tweedie ’21 used Bates summer research funding to study the immune system of Leach’s storm-petrels with Professor of Biology Don Dearborn. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

For Del Priore and Lufburrow, their MSK internship touched them in different ways. Del Priore plans to pursue a research career, with a renewed sense of the impact of her work.

“The development of therapies cannot only be focused on the science in the lab, but also must be approached with the patients in mind,” she said.

Lufburrow, meanwhile, is more sure of her decision to go to medical school.  

“I have become more confident in my abilities to interact with patients and to perform in stressful medical environments,” she said.

The Bates summer funding sources were through the Purposeful Work initiative, the Harward Center for Community Partnerships, and a variety of academic research-support funds.

See what students learned about themselves by spending time in worlds of work — at museums, labs, and startups, from San Francisco to Shenzhen.

Museum: Advocating for the arts

Samantha Fellers ’19 (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Student: Samantha Fellers ’19, an art and visual culture major from Mendham, N.J.

Place: The Guggenheim Museum in New York City

Funding: Purposeful Work Initiative

Work: As a development and membership intern, Fellers corresponded with Guggenheim members, facilitated member sales and gift processing, and helped plan the Guggenheim’s biggest summer events.

Samantha says: I have been exposed to another side of the New York City art world that continues to surprise me everyday. It has been overwhelming and challenging, but I get to experience the interactions among members, donors, corporate sponsors, and the museum. This internship has been reminding me why I love museums and the importance of advocating for the arts. Researching and finding a potential donor that could eventually donate to the museum seems like my small way of helping.

City: Learning about life while teaching bike repair

Eliot Chalfin-Smith ’21 (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Student: Eliot Chalfin-Smith ’21 of Gainesville, Fla., who intends to major in anthropology

Place: Lewiston Youth Summer Bike Program in Lewiston, Maine

Funding: Harward Center for Community Partnerships and The Maine Cycling Club

Work: Chalfin-Smith created a program to teach youth in Lewiston how to fix bicycles, as well as to improve technical skills and safety. The project was thanks to a partnership among Lewiston’s Rainbow Bikes, the Maine Cycling Club, the Lewiston Public Library, and Lewiston’s Tree Street Youth.

Eliot says: The dynamic formed in learning environments where the ‘instructor’ is as much out of their comfort zone as the ‘student’ is remarkable. It is one of the only ways to take learning back to its natural state and rid it of destructive power dynamics. Career-wise, I plan to put myself in situations where I can constantly be learning with, through, and from others’ and my experiences.

City: Why certain foods sell

Hermione Zhou ’21 interviews a Shenzhen restaurant owner. (Courtesy of Hermione Zhou)

Student: Hermione Zhou ’21 of Shenzhen, China, who intends to major in sociology and environmental studies 

Place: Three hundred fifty restaurants on five streets in Shenzhen

Funding: Tanaka Research Fellowship

Work: In an effort to find out how Chinese restaurants and consumers think about where their food comes from, Zhou examined how hundreds of restaurants advertised their food sources and interviewed five restaurant owners. She found that while restaurants in the U.S. and Europe often advertise locally-sourced food, Shenzhen restaurants tend to advertise food from distant provinces and other countries.

Hermione says:  It was an eye-opening experience for me to see how little Chinese people have been exposed to the environmental impact of food and how much potential there is for China to move towards a more sustainable and community-supporting food system. This research spurs me to learn more about alternative food journeys and the possibilities of adapting them and bringing them to China.

Lab: Thinking like a scientist

Bridget Tweedie ’21 and Ross Ackerman ’19 (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Student: Bridget Tweedie ’21 of Brownfield, Maine, who intends to major in biology; and Ross Ackerman ’19, a biology major from Houston.

Place: Bates campus  

Funding: INBRE (IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence) funds distributed by Bates

Work: Tweedie and Ackerman helped Professor of Biology Don Dearborn study the avian immune systems of Leach’s storm-petrels.

Ross says:  In a lab, sometimes things take a long time, like waiting for reactions to finish in the thermal cycler, or incubating samples for hours. Bridget and I would remain productive and work on other projects at the same time. Bridget and I learned great lab notebook skills that made it easy to stay on track and know what was going on. These experiences have helped me become a better scientist in the lab.

Bridget says: Along the way, we had several issues in which many of our tests came back unusable. We worked together as a team to solve our issues and complete one of the summer goals — confirming expression of the DAA gene within the Leach’s Storm Petrel MHC Class II.

Going into the summer, I was still on the biology track, but I was also considering medical school. Now I see that my interests lie more in ecology and research and how they can apply to the bettering of human and animal lives.

Office: Analyzing career options

Michael Somma ’19, Alexia Sahue ’19, and Morgan Dewdney ’19 (Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

Students: Morgan Dewdney ’19 of Meriden, N.H.; Alexia Sahue ’19 of Abidjan, Côte D’Ivoire; and Michael Somma ’19 of Colts Neck, N.J. All three are economics majors.

Place: Analysis Group, a Boston-based firm co-founded by Bruce Stangle ’70.

Funding: Analysis Group, a Purposeful Work core employer

Work: Analysis Group provides analysis and expertise to businesses and agencies in a variety of fields, and often in litigation cases. As interns, Dewdney worked on an antitrust litigation case, and Somma and Sahue worked on healthcare litigation cases.

Michael says: The moment when I thought, ‘Wow, I actually really like this,’ was when I took an analysis from start to finish, completely on my own. It was actually a pretty big part of the case, and it’s in the process of being sent over to the lawyers. That was a pretty big moment.

Alexia says: As a college student, you may not think that you have a lot to add to such a big company. But some of our experts are actually using the work that we are doing in litigation cases. There is such an emphasis on the strength of each individual regardless of their background, regardless of their age, of their race, and so on. AG is amazing at doing that.

Morgan says: There was one analysis that my case team was working on, a pivotal analysis for our case. I created the first document that filtered into this analysis, then another case team member actually did the analysis, and then another case team member created the exhibit. The collaborative nature of the work and of this specific analysis, I think, is something that I’ll remember and take away with me.

Clinic: Understanding the doctor-patient relationship

Isabella Del Priore ’19 and Emily Lufburrow ’19 pose outside the Sidney Kimmel Center for Prostate and Urologic Cancers at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Students: Isabella Del Priore ’19, a biology major from Stamford, Conn., and Emily Lufburrow ’19, a neuroscience major from Davis, Calif.

Place: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City

Funding: Purposeful Work Initiative

Work: As summer student interns, Del Priore and Lufburrow sat in on patients’ visits with medical oncologist Dr. Susan Slovin and reported on presentations on cancer research.

Isabella says: Now, I am much more aware that the development of therapies cannot only be focused on the science in the lab, but also must be approached with the patients in mind. Even though I still intend to pursue research rather than becoming a doctor, my observations of the interactions between the doctors and the cancer patients opened my mind to a new perspective on the disease that I believe will influence how I think about cancer moving forward as I pursue a career in research.  

Emily says: I am even more sure I want to pursue medical school and a career in medicine as I have become more confident in my abilities to interact with patients and to perform in stressful medical environments. Dr. Slovin treated me as she treated the other doctors under her, sometimes even asking me what I thought the recommendation for the patient should be. She also helped me understand the intricacies of prostate cancer and immunotherapy.

Lab: Connecting research and medicine

Isabella Stone ‘19 and her supervisor, Lynne Beverly-Staggs (Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

Student: Bella Stone ’19, a biology major from Concord, Mass.

Place: Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine

Funding: INBRE (IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence) distributed by MDIBL

Work: Stone used zebrafish, which have a similar kidney function to humans, to investigate the connection between kidney disease and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a neurological disorder.

Isabella says: I’ve always been interested in science, and I’ve always wanted to go to medical school, but it’s really important to understand the research behind the medicine. The internship has really helped me have a better appreciation for and a better understanding of research scientists and everything they do to make medicine possible.

Startup: A little bit of everything

Grace Murnaghan ’20 and Patrick Boyaggi ’03 (Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

Student: Grace Murnaghan ’20, an economics major from Lexington, Mass.

Place: RateGravity, a Boston-based mortgage services startup whose co-founder and CEO is Patrick Boyaggi ’03

Funding: Purposeful Work Initiative

Work: As an intern, Murnaghan assisted across the company’s functions, from operations to product to marketing.

Grace says: We’ve implemented a process that’s run by mostly the interns at this point, where we send a thank-you note, a gift card, and a T-shirt as a housewarming present. We also made a presentation on the state of our post-close process — what we think works and what doesn’t work, and what we’re going to do to fix it. Another project is to look at key performance indicators and see how we’re doing week by week.

A startup is a really great opportunity to get hands-on business experience, because everyone’s role is so crucial.

Lab: The genetics of regeneration

Hugh Gorman ’19 (Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

Student: Hugh Gorman ’19, a chemistry major from Hingham, Mass.

Place: Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard Medical School, in Boston

Funding: Purposeful Work Initiative

Work: As a research trainee, Gorman investigates the genes that take part in digital regeneration (for example, how the tips of fingers can grow back after being cut off).

Hugh says: For two weeks, I was actually put on my own pseudo-independent project where I was scanning for genes in sections that I’ve cut myself, and I was able to go through the whole procedure myself. At the end of the first trial I saw what I had done wrong, and I had enough time to do it again with even more slides that time. It was really cool to see that I myself was capable of doing it, even with the limited biology I had learned prior to this summer.  

Lab: Finding purpose in the field

Michaela Pinette ’19 (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Student: Michaela Pinette ’19, a biology and economics major from Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Place: Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland, Maine

Funding: Purposeful Work Initiative

Work: As an intern, Pinette helped supervisor Walt Golet of GMRI and the University of Maine study the behavior of individual Atlantic bluefin tuna. They did this by analyzing stomach contents and taking samples from otoliths, bony inner ear structures that contain chemical “signatures” that, when analyzed, can determine the age and spawning origin of the individual fish. In August, Pinette was on hand to help weigh and then study tuna caught at an annual tuna tournament.

Michaela says: Honestly, I like getting like down and dirty. I like doing the sampling — everybody thinks I’m really gross because I end up getting all bloody because I’m so small and the heads are so big that I have to hug them, almost, just to get them in the compost bin.

I know I don’t want to work a desk job. I really enjoy getting out there.

Lab: Direct clinical impact

Summer intern Kasey Anderson ’20 with supervisor Elena Chartoff, and alum Bill Carlezon ’86 (Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

Student: Kasey Anderson ’20, a neuroscience major from Jonesboro, Maine

Place: McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate

Funding: McLean Hospital, a Purposeful Work core employer, through the John E. Kelsey Neuroscience Internship Fund at McLean, established by David Barlow ’79 to honor Kelsey, a professor emeritus of psychology at Bates.

Work: As a Kelsey Fellow, Anderson studied how social stress affects the immune system — research that could have a direct impact for people with PTSD or an anxiety disorder.

She worked in the labs of McLean researchers Elena Chartoff, director of the Neurobiology of Motivated Behavior Laboratory, and Bill Carlezon ’86, director of the Behavioral Genetics Laboratory and chief of the Division of Basic Neuroscience at McLean.

Kasey says: I knew I loved neuro, and it’s what I want to pursue in the future for my career, but I wanted to see what it was actually like and what I wanted to study further.  I’ve learned a lot about how research is done and how to work with data. I’ve learned how to read EEG data. It’s kind of amazing because it’s really showing me that it’s what I want to do in the future.

Office: Defining diversity

Maya Church ’20 meets with Bruce Goldfarb P’20 , president and chief executive officer of Okapi Partners LLC (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Student: Maya Church ’20, a gender and sexuality studies major from Atlanta

Place: Okapi Partners, a consulting firm in New York City whose president and CEO is Bruce Goldfarb P’20

Funding: Okapi Partners, a Purposeful Work core employer

Work: As an intern in investor relations and strategic communications, Church examined employee diversity initiatives created by companies and hedge funds, considering the changing ways that firms look at and define diversity.

Maya says: It’s really interesting how social and environmental issues play out in this field. For most people, when they think about advisory firms, they think, oh, you guys check stocks. But a lot of companies notice that they have to put statements out and make initiatives for social issues and environmental issues.

We’re getting more people in finance that care about social issues. People from companies are starting to realize that they have to address problems around them because it can affect their success.

City: Studying the long-term effects of trauma

William Carlyle Turner ’19 (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Student: William Carlyle Turner ’19, a psychology major from Baltimore

Place: Global Psychiatric Epidemiology Group at Columbia University in New York City

Funding: Purposeful Work Initiative

Work: As a research assistant for Christina Hoven of Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, Turner traveled around New York City to interview some of the 1,500 participants in a study on the long-term effects of stress and toxic chemical exposure on mental and physical health. He interviewed people who were under age 17 and living in New York during the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Carlyle says: It has been very powerful hearing the life stories of such a diverse group of people. Emotions could run high during the interviews, and I was put to the test in terms of thinking on my feet and remaining professional at all times. I know that not only have I become better at interacting with strangers face to face as a result of this summer, but it has also helped me become a more empathetic person on the whole.

Office: Analyzing data

Ben Lyons ’19 (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Student: Ben Lyons ’19, an economics major from San Rafael, Calif.

Place: Nasdaq Private Market, whose head is Eric Folkemer ’02

Funding: Nasdaq Private Market, a Purposeful Work core employer

Work: A unit of the larger Nasdaq Stock Market, Nasdaq works with private companies. As an intern, Lyons worked on a long-term project and gained practical understanding of data analysis, financial documents, and Nasdaq trading and technology.

Ben says: This is the exact type of company that I want to work at. I really like the open space and being able to chat with someone and not have the private offices and the cubicles. It’s kind of startup-y, but I want to work in a corporate environment, very finance-focused. This is the best of both worlds in terms of the office culture and environment, and then the actual content of what I’m working on. It’s been a great experience.

Stage: Bringing a dance show to life

Kirstin Koepnick ’21 (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Student: Kirstin Koepnick ’21 of Nashville, Tenn., about to declare a mathematics major

Place: Bates Dance Festival in Lewiston

Funding: Purposeful Work Initiative

Work: Working in production management for the annual Bates Dance Festival, Koepnick had a variety of responsibilities, ranging from lights and electric to sound to stage management.

Kristin says: The most gratifying part of the internship has been working long hours and working hard as a team all week to put together the lighting plot, set, and sound for Rennie Harris’s show “Lifted,” and seeing all our hard work and sweat culminate into a truly moving dance piece. This experience has made me think of technical dance and theater as a viable career option, which contradicted my previous opinions on the field. 

Lab: Learning the tools of research

Hannah Smith ’19 with Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Andrew Kennedy (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

Student: Hannah Smith ’19, a neuroscience major from Sandwich, Mass.

Place: Bates campus

Funding: Sherman Fairchild grant for student research

Work: As a research assistant for Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry Andrew Kennedy, Smith conducted behavioral testing on cohorts of mice.

Hannah says: I began my research with Professor Kennedy last year because I was interested in his memory research and wanted to gain hands-on lab experience and continued it this summer as the basis for my thesis research. Professor Kennedy taught me many behavioral and lab tests that I will be able to use as I pursue research in the future, as well as helping me navigate the search for graduate schools.

Startup: Launching products and boosting confidence

Ryan Corley ’19 (left) and Drew Parsons ’19 (right) with Tyler Shleich (center). (Eli Zaturanski for Bates College).

Student: Drew Parsons ’19, a sociology major from Oakland, Maine

Place: EcoFlow, a portable power company in San Francisco

Funding: Purposeful Work Initiative and EcoFlow

Work: As an intern along with Ryan Corley ’19, Parsons primarily worked with the marketing team on summer initiatives, including two product launches. His supervisor was Tyler Schleich, director of business operations.

Drew says: The most gratifying part of this summer has been watching the various projects, whether it’s a marketing initiative or a new product launch, executed and finalized after weeks of research and back-end work. 

I think that working out there this summer for an incredible company, with some extremely intelligent people, has given me a massive confidence boost going into my senior year and soon into the workforce. I am now so much more confident in my abilities after being put to the test.

Startup: Marketing artificial intelligence

Kristyna Alexova ’19 and Sameer Maskey ’02 (Nick Romanenko for Bates College)

Student: Kristyna Alexova ’19, an economics and mathematics major from Boskovice, Czech Republic

Place: Fusemachines, an artificial intelligence services provider in New York City, whose founder and CEO is Sameer Maskey ’02

Funding: Purposeful Work Initiative

Work: As a marketing and sales intern, Alexova created content marketing and wrote articles about AI.

Kristyna says: I was looking to gain an experience in a tech-related startup, and Fusemachines seemed like a great fit. Before the internship, I did not know much about artificial intelligence and had no prior work experience in this field. However, my coworkers quickly helped me to better understand AI and inspired me to learn more about it.