Sophomore biochemistry and molecular biology student Mary Barber recently received recognition for her outstanding participation in the 2016 Kidney, Urologic and Hematologic (KUH) Summer Undergraduate Research Program. Barber completed a 10-week internship over the summer as an “Aspirnaut” through Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which was funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease and was a part of the larger KUH research program. She worked in Dr. Billy Hudson’s lab in Vanderbilt’s Division of Nephrology and Hypertension.
Due to Barber’s outstanding work over the summer, she was chosen as one of 2-4 participants from the Vanderbilt program to receive a travel award that will allow her to attend the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Kidney Week Conference in Chicago, Illinois from November 17-20. She will also be placed in the Kidney STARS program for the conference that provides tailored programming for students including networking opportunities and a career guidance panel. Within the Kidney STARS Program, Barber will be placed into a peer group of other KUH summer program students and will receive a group mentor who will attend sessions and events with the members.
Because of this recognition, Barber will also receive the unique opportunity to present her poster from the KUH summer program during Kidney Week. The details surrounding her presentation have not yet been announced, but Barber is more than ready to share her hard work with the scientific community. “Dr. Billy Hudson and Dr. Vadim Pedchenko at Vanderbilt are excellent mentors and allowed me to research something very interesting and important,” Barber said. “I’m excited to tell other physicians, scientists and students about the small slice of research that I spent my time on.”
Barber discussed how she was grateful for all of the unexpected opportunities that have recently been presented to her. “The most rewarding part for me is that I truly never expected to have the opportunities that I have been given, so my experiences with research have been deeply valued. I think that people (scientists, doctors, professors) realize passion, and that’s really what I have tried to embody during my biomedical research experience. Passion and appreciation can speak beyond grades or performance. ”
Barber also attributed part of her success to the supportive atmosphere that she has found within Belmont’s scientific community. “The collaborative and encouraging nature at Belmont, especially in the sciences, helped me reach out and pursue these opportunities as a freshman,” said Barber. “I am especially thankful for my biology and chemistry professors for laying a strong foundation for what I would have to learn during my research experience. Having excellent professors made it a much easier transition from the classroom to the lab. I came to Belmont with an interest in research and a desire to become a physician, and my professors and mentors here have encouraged me to pursue that dream.”
This article is an update to an earlier story published in July. Read the original story about Barber’s summer internship experience here.