For the past three years, pairs of California Baptist University students have been given the opportunity to assist in research with Dr. Peter Imming, world-renowned medicinal and pharmaceutical chemist, at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg in Germany.
Over six weeks, Lea Sarabwe, senior biology major, and Princesse Bwiza, junior biochemistry major, worked to create a molecule that could eradicate tuberculosis.
This opportunity was made possible through collaboration between Imming and Dr. Hannah (Ying) Hu, an assistant professor of chemistry at CBU.
“Interning abroad was a great experience,” Sarabwe said. “We encourage other students to participate in research opportunities.”
Although they studied in Germany, Imming and his staff made the communication and cultural transition easy.
Vainqueur Niyotwagira, senior biochemistry and molecular biology double major, found an internship at University of California at Irvine, where he spent 10 weeks learning about plant-based medicines and their effects on the mind.
Niyotwagira said he wants to obtain a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences with a focus on drug design, delivery and discovery.
His goals are clear, but he also said it can be discouraging to see how many years and obstacles it takes to become well-established in such an advanced field.
“At the end of the day, I found out that it was all about how much stress can you handle, and how bad you want it,” Niyotwagira said.
Contacting the department chair or a trusted professor is a good way to begin looking into internship opportunities. Niyotwagira recommends contacting the principal investigator or a post-doctoral student to kick start the process.
“It depends most on your attitude toward learning,,” Niyotwagira said. “Your attitude is what matters for getting 100 percent out of your internship.”