Anderson University sophomore biochemistry major Ben McKenzie keeps busy with the AU Honors Program, soccer team, and his studies in the science department. Yet, McKenzie has learned to manage his time efficiently, and it has paid off.
With the help of his professors and a relentless work ethic, McKenzie secured a highly sought after internship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md. For eight weeks, he will learn from some of the best healthcare professionals. The experience will give him unparalleled knowledge and an avenue to showcase what he has learned at AU.
Working with Dr. Alan Remaley, senior investigator of the Lipoprotein Metabolism Section, McKenzie will conduct research on diseases involving high cholesterol. He will also be looking at heart diseases and the genetic relations between the two.
The application process was extensive, but it all started with a bit of networking. After making contacts at NIH, McKenzie was encouraged to apply for an internship position.
Although Remaley hires only one intern each summer, McKenzie is one of approximately 900 interns within the entire organization. He will be trusted with real-world work for a group that has an excellent reputation in the medical community.
McKenzie sees the internship as a very valuable tool for his career path.
“I want to go to medical school eventually and become a doctor,” McKenzie said. “I have visited the NIH before and, as far as the United States goes, they are at the forefront of medicinal discoveries.”
With this internship, McKenzie will be around some of the nation’s finest doctors and will be able to go with them into the hospital rooms as they examine patients.
“I’ll be able to see the best that medicine has to offer and plug myself into some good connections,” said McKenzie.
AU plays a major role in McKenzie’s feeling of preparation for the workload he is about to take on. The size of the school has been one of the biggest advantages thus far.
“It’s nice being at a smaller school because, for chemistry, we have easier access to the tools and instruments we need,” said McKenzie. “I talk to friends at larger schools and they have problems getting into the lab and being able to use the machines, so they do not have the experience I do.”
“In Ben’s science education so far, he has had more hands-on lab experiences than his counterparts at other universities,” said Wallace. “In chemistry, he has already learned to capably use several chemistry instruments. He has also synthesized an insect repellent from scratch and has performed real-life microbiology research. These experiences will surely serve him well in his internship with NIH.”
This hands-on training has prepared McKenzie, and his professors agree that he will succeed.
“Ben is a member of the Honors Program and, as such, has been an outstanding student all of his life,” said Dr. Kimberly Lyle-Ippolito, professor of biology and co-director of the Honors Program. “He plays soccer, is a science major, and an honors student. He is a hard-working young man. I think he is very diligent and applies himself.”
McKenzie claims Lyle-Ippolito was instrumental in his success at obtaining the internship.
“Dr. Lyle has been very helpful setting me up with some recommendations," McKenzie said, "and has also given me some books to read before I begin.”
McKenzie’s work in the classroom is paramount to his success at NIH and is undoubtedly setting him on path for his future career.
— Zach Wadley is a 2014 graduate from Bourbonnais, Ill., who majored in communication arts. Wadley was an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God (Anderson, Ind.), Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.