You could say that junior Melissa Emilcar has a knack for medical research. After all, how many undergraduates need only a month to master a lab technique that can take researchers with doctorates six months to learn?
You could say that senior Melissa Emilcar has a knack for medical research. After all, how many undergraduates need only a month to master a lab technique that can take researchers with doctorates six months to learn?
But that’s what she accomplished this past summer, according to the vice president of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, the principal research center for Northwell Health. There, as an intern conducting neurological research in the areas of inflammatory reflex and sepsis, she learned to isolate a nerve in mice in a mere matter of weeks.
The experience at the Feinstein Institute will serve Emilcar well as she continues on a path to a career in medicine.
“After working closely with researchers and physicians practicing in different environments, I have learned how multifaceted the medical field is and am more prepared for a career in medicine,” Emilcar says. “I was able to network and create meaningful personal connections with my mentors and many others in my field of interest. My mentors have given me invaluable guidance.”
Emilcar, who is majoring in biology, got her internship through Adelphi’s Jaggar Community Fellows Program, which places outstanding students in paid internships at nonprofit organizations. Emilcar has been chosen as a Jaggar Fellow twice.
Being part of the prestigious program is only one of the valuable opportunities that have helped her grow during her time at Adelphi, she says.
“Adelphi makes me feel that I am more than just a number,” she says. “I have been able to form personal connections with my professors and develop a good rapport with them, as well as my peers. I have met wonderful people who encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone and try leadership positions.”
Life-Changing Summer Research
Emilcar learned about the Jaggar program when she took the Internship Preparation Seminar class, a 1-credit course that helps prepare students to land internships and succeed in them. She participated in mock interviews in the class and worked with Bernadine Waller, M.A. ’10, associate director of experiential learning at Adelphi, to polish her résumé and identify nonprofits that fit her interests.
The internship at the Feinstein Institute helped Emilcar sharpen her research skills and refine her future plans. It also gave her the gratifying experience of making a real contribution to the nonprofit medical research community.
“The impact of this study may not be immediate, but I was able to take on new challenges and hone my analytical problem-solving skills, ” she says.
Adelphi has also given Emilcar opportunities to develop leadership skills. She served as a biology and chemistry tutor in the Learning Center, as a peer assistant leader for incoming first-year students, as a member of the Student Alumni Council, and as an academic coach for CSTEP (Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program), which helps prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers in science and technology.
She also got involved with Black Students United, a campus club focused on diversity and social change.
“When I first came to Adelphi, it was quite an adjustment for me because I came from a very diverse high school,” she says. “I was grateful to find an organization that made everyone feel included and to meet like-minded people who wanted to make an impact on campus, in our communities and beyond.”
Emilcar serves as event coordinator for Black Students United, helping promote diversity and inclusion on campus and plan events such as the annual Kwanzaa dinner and career presentations featuring guest speakers.
“It has been a privilege for me to watch my peers grow and encourage them to take advantage of all the resources that Adelphi has to offer,” Emilcar says. “I think that Adelphi has helped me to thrive both academically and socially and develop into a well-rounded leader.”
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