Summer 2020 Updates

Periodically, we will have member updates and spotlights posted on our blog page. Since this is our first post it will cover the whole summer. So let’s see what our members were up to this summer!

Jordan Gunter ‘21, Mireille Bitangacha ’22, Natalie Ngong ’22, Micai Benford ’22, Andre Evans ’21, AJ Howell ’23, and Ari Robbins ’22 

Jordan Gunter ‘21 is a senior at Centre College majoring in Biology and minoring in Data Science. He spent this summer participating in an online internship with Wild Otter Research – an independent for-profit agency based in India. This online internship started on June 24th, 2020 and run for three weeks. Jordan led multiple presentations and performed a full literature review of the smooth coated otter. According to Jordan, this gave him the opportunity to practice his research skills, as well as work on his scientific writing. Being able to read and write scientific papers is a major component of almost any STEM major and career so this was another notch of experience for Jordan to be ready for the future. 

Mireille Bitangacha ‘22 is a current junior at Centre College. She is from Phoenix, Arizona. She is majoring in history while on a midwifery track.  During the summer she enrolled in a certified nursing assistant program in her hometown and is now a Certified Nursing Assistant (CAN). The program taught her about the integrity of being a healthcare worker, the level of respect and consideration one should have for patients/ residents, and the overall appreciation of a job that many overlook. Her favorite part about the CNA program is the fact that what you learn is what you physically use in each day’s work. Her teacher was a big influence on her positive summer experience and overall, the program confirmed that she’s on the right path. With the nursing assistant certification, she hopes to work in the labor and delivery unit of a hospital, while she further advances her education. In addition to that, she worked at a COVID-19 testing site through Apollo Health & Diagnostics. This company started with one location in Tempe and added additional locations all throughout the valley. Currently Apollo Health & Diagnostics is the fastest way for people in Arizona to get tested, with the shortest wait times, and the most flexibility in testing requirements. Her role as an admin, which required working closely with providers (health care workers), further confirmed that healthcare is the field she wants to go into. An admin’s job is to check-in patients or schedule appointments by collecting identification and insurance if available. According to Mireille, it felt good to make a difference this summer even if it was just a small one. Helping community members is something she wants to continue to do. Both summer experiences are stepping stones to the overall goal of becoming a nurse midwife.  

Natalie Ngong ‘22 is a current junior at Centre College. She is majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) and minoring in English. Natalie is from Louisville, Kentucky. Throughout July and August Natalie volunteered with Ramusa, a program that seeks to provide medical care to underserved rural areas. She specifically worked with them by helping to provide Covid-19 testing within Louisville. As her intended career path is medicine, this opportunity provided her with experience dealing with patients, assessing symptoms, and maintaining a sterile environment. She intends to keep working with RAMUSA and helping them with other clinics in rural areas as soon as possible. 

Micai Benford ’22 is a junior at Centre College majoring in Chemical Physics and minoring in Math. He is from Snellville, Georgia. This summer, Benford conducted research with Dr. Karl Thorley and Dr. Vanessa Song where he modeled and analyzed the overlapping of pi orbitals between pairs of organic molecules. This research experience was from June 10th to August 4th, 2020. According to Benford, computational chemistry and modelling are important aspects of his intended career trajectory – Theoretical Chemistry. The research he did will allow him to gain experience building 3D models of molecules of interest and running calculations on those molecules using a computing cluster.  

Andre Evans ’21 is a senior at Centre College from Cincinnati, Ohio. Evans spent his summer intensively studying for the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). The DAT is a test required for admission to every dental school and it gave him a comprehensive review of everything he learned at Centre and everything he will be expected to know in dental school. He studied throughout the summer for about 8 hours a day, and 5 days a week. He then spent the weekends working at his normal job. Evans worked individually by taking part in online resources that prepared him well for the DAT. These resources included an interactive program called DAT Bootcamp. His study this summer gave him a good review of everything he had learned in the past 3 years at Centre College. He was able to adapt his previous knowledge to a few new concepts and to show how well he had grasped undergraduate material from Centre. According to Evans, having a thorough review of the sciences will help him solidify his foundations for the fine details of basic science. Knowing this will allow him to better expand on ideas he will be learning in the new school year.

AJ Howell ’23 is a sophomore at Centre College with an intended double major in Computer science and French. Howell is from Boston, Massachusetts. This summer, he participated in a summer course at the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology in Boston, Massachusetts. He spent mid-July to late August learning how to code in Python and C sharp. This course involved working together with his professor and other students in order to achieve set goals of the course. After taking this course, Howell has noticed an improvement in his Computer Science skills. More particularly, he is now able to solve problems in new and more innovative ways. 

Arianna Robbins ‘22 is currently a junior at Centre College. She is a math major and a studio art minor. Ari is from Boston, Massachusetts. This summer, she took part in Graph Theory research alongside Dr. Lesley Wigglesworth (Centre College), Dr. Lucas Hoots (Centre College) and Dr. Elizabeth Donovan (Murray State University). The main goal for this research was to eventually get a paper published. Throughout this school year the research group is expected to make contributions to the paper, but are not being held accountable in the form of grades.  According to Ari, she is still new to the math world and with so many different concentrations and career paths to choose from she was eager to get her feet wet this summer and to see what math research was like. 

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