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New March Break Internship Program Expands the Research Training Centre’s Youth Education Initiatives

Promising young scientists will learn from the Lunenfeld’s systems biology group

(March 7, 2012) The Lunenfeld and its Research Training Centre (RTC) is renowned for youth science education programs, including summer internships for students. And now those programs are expanding, with the arrival next week of a new March Break Mini-Internship program.

“Many students have an interest in pursuing post-secondary studies in science, but very few of them have had any exposure to the world of research,” says Lorien Newell, the Lunenfeld’s Public Outreach Coordinator. “Our new March Break internships allow even more students a glimpse at the exciting world of research, which we hope will encourage them to pursue careers in this field.”

The March Break program gives Grade 11 and 12 students from the GTA an exclusive opportunity to “shadow” a graduate or post-doctoral student in one of the labs of Drs. Dan Durocher, Jeff Wrana, Laurence Pelletier and Jim Dennis. Over 100 students applied, and only four or five will be chosen. The March Break internship launched with support from an Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation grant led by Dr. Durocher.

The selected few will begin their March Break internship next week. The program is mirrored on the RTC’s Summer Student initiatives, which provide an opportunity for undergraduate students to work throughout the summer in a lab at the Lunenfeld. Students focus on a project assigned to them by their lab supervisor, gaining valuable experience and research skills.

“The high school students who applied had amazing applications and showed an impressive eagerness to experience the program,” says Cindy Todoroff, Associate Director of the RTC. “We’re thrilled to offer this new program, which really widens the scope of our youth outreach initiatives.”
Cindy notes that the students are paid an honorarium of $425 upon completion of their March Break internship, and will also be offered SciHigh workshops to build their knowledge of genetics.