Employee Spotlight: 2018 Summer Interns

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As fall approaches, our summer interns are wrapping up their projects at PreventionGenetics. The goal of our internships is to allow college students the opportunity to develop and improve their skills, while gaining real world knowledge within their field of study.  “Mentoring bright students pursuing careers in genetics is both important and rewarding for us,” said company Founder and President, James Weber, PhD. 

During the past few months, PreventionGenetics had a record nine interns within five departments.

Meet Our 2018 PreventionGenetics Interns 

Lab Interns

  Nathan Johnson
   Lab Intern  
  University of Wisconsin - Madison
  Major: Genetics and Genomics
  Year in Program: Senior 

Nathan worked on a minigene system to analyze different splicing variants. Nathan’s primary focus involved creating plasmids that would later be  used by the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point to determine splicing patterns in a cell line.  “This summer I utilized PCR, Sanger sequencing,  and various purification techniques to collect DNA fragments. It was a great experience for me to actively think of new solutions when unexpected   problems arose,” explained Nathan.  
“Obtaining this internship has given me a once in a lifetime experience that will help me when it comes to applying to programs after graduation.  This internship has made this a summer I'll never forget!”


  Hannah Buchholz  
  Lab Intern
   University of Wisconsin - La Crosse
  Major: Cell and Molecular Biology 
  Year in Program: Senior 

Hannah also utilized a minigene system to analyze different splicing variants. When asked about her internship, Hannah said, “The biggest lesson that I'm going to take away from this experience is that research requires a lot of grit. However, through extensive troubleshooting and   experimentation, we figured it out. The entire process was a great learning experience and was quite rewarding!
“Also, a huge thank you to Dr. Fischer and Dr. Gruber for being excellent mentors and for the advice they have provided regarding grad school. I will always be appreciative of how welcoming and helpful the entire PreventionGenetics community has been!”


  Eric Schultz   
  Lab Intern   
  University of Minnesota 
  Major: Biochemistry
  Year in Program: Junior

During his summer internship, Eric, a Marshfield native, focused primarily on preparing microarray data for publication.  Part of Eric’s research included generating numerous descriptive statistics in order to describe the copy number variants (CNVs) found within positive reports. “When I first began working on this project, completing it looked daunting. CNVs are inherently more complicated, and in order to present a coherent analysis of the CNVs PreventionGenetics has detected, we have needed to stratify and characterize several hundred CNV reports.   
“It has been rewarding to finally have the data come together to reveal something meaningful,” shared Eric. “Overall, I have really enjoyed this internship.”


Marketing Intern

  Hannah Frane
  Marketing Intern   
  University of Minnesota - Twin Cities 
  Major: Marketing and International Business
  Year in Program: Sophomore

Hannah collaborated on a variety of projects, including creating social media content, drafting web stories, and developing test specific campaigns.  When asked about her projects, Hannah noted, “Marketing is a very broad field, but the marketing team at PreventionGenetics does it all! My mentors provided opportunities for me to gain experience in many of the marketing specialties. 
“Some of my favorite projects were creating email campaigns, building new landing pages, writing web stories, and redesigning the company newsletter. These projects not only provided me with new technical skills but also taught me lessons about teamwork and challenged me creatively. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to intern at PreventionGenetics and am excited to bring my experiences back with me to the classroom.” 


Specimen Processing Intern

  Callie Lindemeyer
  Specimen Processing Intern   
  University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point 
  Major: Clinical Laboratory Science
  Year in Program: Junior

During her summer break, Callie wanted to start gaining professional laboratory experience somewhere with a welcoming and productive workplace culture. Callie emphasized she, “loved that PreventionGenetics encourages personal and professional growth, and I feel like I've made a difference everyday when I get done with work. This internship was further confirmation that my decision to become a Medical Technologist is the right choice for me. I love working in the fast-paced and detail-oriented atmosphere of the lab.”
Callie worked alongside the specimen processing team to process and extract DNA from samples.  Additionally, she worked on data analysis projects.  She concluded, “I've gained a lot of great experience in laboratory procedures, and was given many opportunities to enhance my professional skills.”


Software Engineer Interns

  Ryan Milanowski
  Software Engineer Intern  
  University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point 
  Major: CIS Applications Development
  Year in Program: Completed 

An interest in genetics drew Ryan to PreventionGenetics’ Software Engineer Internship after completing his schooling.  During his internship, Ryan has worked on numerous website related projects, and Ryan really enjoyed learning the intricacies of utilizing Bootstrap. 
Upon completion of his internship, Ryan will join the PreventionGenetics team full-time as a Software Engineer Associate.


  Trevor Kretschmann
  Software Engineer Intern  
  University of Wisconsin - Stout
  Major: Computer Science
  Year in Program: Senior

“Completing this internship during summer break confirmed that web development is one possible career path in which I could find great enjoyment,” shared Trevor.  “Some general skills I strengthened during my internship at PreventionGenetics are communication, teamwork, and general development skills. These will continue to be of great use to me in my final year during my capstone project, as well as my career after graduation.”
Trevor worked on creating online forms and questionnaires for PGDNABank, PreventionGenetics’ DNA Banking service.  When asked about this project, Trevor remarked, “Over the course of the summer, this project grew into a fairly complex questionnaire...I am most proud of the questionnaire for ordering DNA Banking online.” 


Laboratory Genetic Counseling Interns

  Jamila Ougayour 
  Laboratory Genetic Counseling Intern 
  University of Wisconsin - Madison
  Major: Genetics
  Year in Program: Sophomore

One major project Jamila worked on was evaluating Genetic Counselor and Genetic Counseling Assistant communications with clients looking for opportunities to implement LEAN initiatives. 
“As a Marshfield native, I had learned about PreventionGenetics from a presentation in high school, and I was intrigued by both the company and genetic testing in general. I applied for the Laboratory Genetic Counseling Internship at PreventionGenetics because I admired the company’s principles. Also, I thought it would be a great learning opportunity as a genetics student with hopes to become a genetic counselor,” noted Jamila. 
“Additionally, my time at PreventionGenetics showed me the importance of quality healthcare practices with the patient’s best interest in mind. It was very apparent that everyone at PreventionGenetics upholds this notion, and it is something that I will also implement in my future career in the medical field,” Jamila added.


  Quinn Hurshman, BA
  Laboratory Genetic Counseling Intern 
  Virginia Commonwealth University
  Major: Genetic Counseling 
  Year in Program: First Year Grad Student 

Quinn, reflecting upon his internship, said, “When I applied for the undergraduate Laboratory Genetic Counseling Internship at PreventionGenetics, I was already committed to being a genetic counselor. I had applied to and interviewed at a number of genetic counseling programs. I thought I understood what genetic counselors do and the breadth of the emerging field. Not true. What I didn’t understand when I applied was how much I would develop as a future genetic counselor, prepare myself for graduate school, and enjoy the community here at PreventionGenetics.”

Quinn’s main project was related to utilization management (UM), collecting data from 2018 to assess from both a payer and a patient point of view.  After learning about his acceptance into graduate school, his internship was extended and expanded to include some duties of a Genetic Counselor Assistant, including report drafting. Prior to PhD variant interpretation and review, he assembled report templates for cases run on Sanger sequencing, aCGH, and Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) methods.  He had opportunities to work on projects about DNA Banking and medical provider education, which has further broadened his knowledge of genetics and the testing process. “I am very pleased to have worked at PreventionGenetics this summer because I truly feel more confident in my preparedness for graduate school,” Quinn added.
“During my internship, I have been lucky to spend a lot of time with the genetic counselors and genetic counseling assistants here. I can attest to their endless kindness, compassion, patience, and knowledge, which have been a huge motivator as an intern. Along with the rest of PreventionGenetics, they have truly made Marshfield a home for me.”
Quinn landed a spot in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Genetic Counseling program in the first Genetic Counseling Match process.  “A click of the computer mouse realized a dream and started my career in clinical genetics. It was special to share this moment with my coworkers at PreventionGenetics, who I can only be ecstatic to call my friends and future colleagues,” concluded Quinn.