UNI students make an impact through summer internships

Mollie Sherman in front of the Evans Biomedical Research Center

With classes starting this week, the University of Northern Iowa campus is once again alive with the bustle of students preparing for their future. And many of these students are returning to school from a summer internship that provides valuable, hands-on experience in their field of study. One of these students is senior psychology major Mollie Sherman, who completed an eight-week internship with the neuroscience program at Boston University and Boston Medical Center.

During her time in Boston, she studied neuroanatomy in classes and labs. She shadowed doctors and nurses in the hospital and was in the operating room when doctors saved the life of a patient who had suffered a burst aneurysm. She studied monkey brains to further research into how inhibitory neurons in the areas of the brain that deal with emotion and cognition affect functioning in schizophrenic patients and people with depression and anxiety.

“This whole summer I spent almost every day at the hospital, getting a first-hand look inside the minds of some of the best doctors and surgeons in the nation,” Sherman said. “I saw their thought processes, their decision making, their patient interactions, everything. I saw that nothing about their job was easy or simple, yet it instilled a sense of confidence in myself that I hadn't had before - this feeling of ‘Wow, I was made to do this. I can do this.’”

That feeling of confidence was something that Sherman didn’t always have. She came to UNI as a music major, uncertain if she had the fortitude to pursue her passion for medicine. “Before going to Boston, I had always doubted whether I had what it takes to become a doctor,” Sherman said. “But somehow, through hard work and encouragement from professors here at UNI, I made it there.” She attributed much of that success to UNI.

“People would come up to me and say, ‘pre-med at UNI?’ But it’s actually an amazing school for it,” Sherman said. “Staying here ended up being the best decision ever. The science classes are much smaller than other universities, and they are so hands on. You get to know the professors, and they are willing to help you with anything.” After graduation, Sherman plans to attend medical school.