New High School Internship at Yale OB-GYN Promotes Interest in Science

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Connecticut has teamed up with faculty and staff in Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences to create a high school internship program that fosters interest in science and research.

“Our goal is to expose high quality students from nearby communities to Yale’s labs and possibly open their minds to future career opportunities,” said Gil Mor, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale, who helped create the program with Kurtis Peterson, administrator in obstetrics and gynecology.

Peterson and Mor obtained sponsorship from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Connecticut and began a pilot program in July. Thirty-two students applied for the opportunity and eight were selected. The applicants were admitted after visiting the department and writing an essay on why they were interested in participating in the internship. The students completed the program in August.

“We selected high school students with the help of science teachers who chose their top students with an interest in research careers,” said Mor. “Many of the students had never been to Yale and never considered applying before completing this program.”

The eight students from Cheshire, Durham, Middletown and Wallingford were paired with either a postdoctoral graduate student who supervised as they learned a variety of research techniques in different labs such as PCR, a method used to amplify genes to as much as 1,000 times their size. One student spent the internship extracting proteins from human tissue. Others performed animal experiments.

“The students assigned to my lab were doing college-level work,” said Mor. “Other faculty and staff were also delighted to have the students in the labs. They were willing to take the time to explain scientific protocol to the students, who were very bright, motivated and eager to learn.”

“The program was a success all around,” said Peterson. “We hope to expand future internship programs to include students from New Haven area high schools.”

This partnership is one of many that the Yale School of Medicine has with local schools. Also this summer, 70 students from New Haven’s Hill Regional Career High School lived on campus and studied science in the Yale SCHOLAR program.

For more on the OB-GYN internship, please contact Andrea Gendrachi at 203-785-7854.

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