Biomedical internship connects stakeholders, students benefit in huge way
By Dale Goodwin (’86)
Aliyah Miller (’17) studied comparative incidence of familial intracranial aneurysms in Alaskan native patients as a result of an internship in the Seattle Summer Biomedical Internship program, made possible by Drs. Terry Mayberg (’79), a neuroanesthesiologist, and her neurosurgeon husband Marc. For the past three years through Swedish Medical Center, the doctors Mayberg have funded 10-12 internships each summer to Gonzaga students, in an increasing wide range of majors – biology, chemistry, nursing, human physiology, and more recently business, math and psychology.
Sponsored by the Swedish Medical Center Foundation through the Mayberg Educational Fund in partnership with Gonzaga, the internship program provides students with a quality research experience, along with weekly lectures and ample shadowing opportunities. Students receive mentoring from physicians and other medical professionals.
Terry Mayberg and her son Matt received their undergraduate degrees from Gonzaga, and with Marc, value the education received by Gonzaga students.
“Terry and the Maybergs are all about giving back to current students for the education they received here,” says Gonzaga Interim Academic Vice President Elisabeth Mermann-Jozwiak. “To make sure working a summer internship in Seattle wasn’t a hardship on the students – and to make it easier for our students to concentrate on their studies – the Maybergs provided funds for paid internships.”
One of the major influences on Terry was her Gonzaga mentor and former Chemistry Professor Kay Nakamaye, who gave her a C in organic chemistry, which launched her drive to become a doctor.
“She had a real struggle with organic,” Professor Emerita Nakamaye recalls. “We had a long heart-to-heart talk. I think that turned her around. She realized that she had to work much harder, trying to ‘learn’ the material rather than ‘memorize’ it. When she was asked about that grade in her medical school interview, she was well prepared to answer it.”
One of the things Gonzaga does particularly well, Nakamaye says, is educate students to be genuine individuals. “They always impress people in the medical field because they communicate so well with patients, and they come with a sense of serving others.”
Nearly three dozen highly qualified Gonzaga undergraduates have participated in the program in a variety of unique and valuable internships.
“This kind of experiential learning is extraordinarily valuable because you’re bringing all the stakeholders together – students, faculty, alumni, employers and career and professional development (CPD) staff here at Gonzaga,” says Ray Angle, assistant vice president for CPD. “That combination makes sure that the experience is seamless, impactful and meaningful. It helps students to see how their lives are integrating into a life of service.”
While SSBI benefits students and the medical facilities, the ultimate beneficiaries of the program are the patients, said Terry Mayberg.
“The students are working on very important projects that wouldn’t otherwise get done, and which are directly related to patient care,” Terry Mayberg said. “It’s a great experience for students, and the mentors are thrilled to be working with these highly qualified students.”
Says Miller: “This internship provided me the opportunity to explore health care professions that I would never have considered. I am positive that without this unique experience – gaining clinical research and various medical profession views – I would still be in the process of determining my future career path.”
Connect with Gonzaga’s Career and Professional Development office here.