Meleah Pea, a junior biology major from Ponchatoula, Louisiana, recently completed an eight-week internship
“This opportunity was my first exposure to research, therefore this experience has been a huge factor in determining whether I want to pursue a career in research in addition to my pursuit of a career in medicine,” she said. “In addition to helping me gauge whether a career in research was the right fit for me, this opportunity allowed me to connect with individuals that I truly look up to, can learn from, and help me in my journey.”
Her area of research was pathology – specifically exploring a major factor in atherosclerosis which is the underlying issue in cardiovascular disease.
The internship was an eye-opening experience, Pea said.
“I thought that once I got there I would do experiments, find what I’m supposed to find and present that at the poster presentation but it was nothing like that,” she said. “I had to learn that you can’t discover anything new if you do things “by the book”. Research isn’t a step-by-step handbook. It’s trying a little bit of this and a little bit of that to see whether your hypothesis is true or not. In the process, you might even find that you find nothing related to your hypothesis and that’s OK.”
If there is one lesson she learned, it’s that it’s OK to be spontaneous in research.
“Overall, it really taught me that it’s OK to go off course sometimes and it is in the spontaneity where you might find something even better than you had imagined,” Pea explained.
She said the Biology Department at GSU helped her to line up the internship opportunity.
“The Biology Department is truly a family inside of our big family at Grambling State,” Pea said. “I would like to thank everyone who made this internship possible. However, I would like to give a special thank you to Dr. Leung, Dr. Hill, and Dr. Franklin with Grambling’s Biology Department as well as Dr. Thibeaux and the Diversity Affairs Office, Dr. Mabruka Alfaidi, Dr. Orr and the entire Orr lab in addition to Denisha Thomas at LSU Health Shreveport.”
Pea is president of the President’s Student Leadership Initiative, director of Community Engagement for the Student Government Association, a resident assistant, HBCU Be the Match Intern for Grambling State University for the 2021-2022 academic year and Senior GRAMbassador.
About Grambling State University
Grambling State University, located in Grambling, Louisiana, is a historically black university that was founded in 1901. The institution has been accredited by SACSCOC, 13 associations, and in all programs required by the Louisiana Board of Regents. A member of the University of Louisiana System, Grambling State University has the academic strengths of a major university with the benefits of a small college. Offering 43 undergraduate and graduate academic programs, the 590-acre campus is home to world-class athletics, an internationally renowned marching band, and vibrant student life that enable our scholars to grow and learn in a positive environment.
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