2014 Equity Intern: Monica Pengshung

Pengshung_Monica_1_150Monica Pengshung describes herself as a mystery fan, which has led to her interest in scientific research. "I found that solving mysteries in science to be as fulfilling as solving the murder case in a story, "Monica says. She is majoring in Biology at the University of Portland where she has many interests, from genetics to neurobiology.

Besides being a top student in her major, Monica is also serving as the Teaching Assistant in chemistry. She grades assignments, assists students with their experiments and aids the professor in answering questions. Her professors praise Monica for working efficiently as well as easily interacting with anyone from students to faculty.

"Just as my professors have sparked my interest in scientific study I want to able to give that same experience to other students," says Monica, explaining why she enjoys being a teaching assistant.

Outside of her own studies, Monica also tutors high school students at Roosevelt High School in science and math. Roosevelt is the most ethnically diverse public high school in the state. Monica helped senior students prepare for college applications in addition to her tutoring duties.

"Tutoring younger students is an important aspect to me because I believe that helping students early on will provide for them a better future," says Monica. "If they learn the skills needed to succeeded earlier on, as well as become passionate about something then they will be successful as they grow older." 

Monica says she wanted to gain experience to aid her future in the research field. "My long term career goal is to go into academic research and become a professor in which I am able to both teach students in the lab and in the classroom," she says.

This summer, she is working as a Summer Equity Research Intern at OHSU. The Center for Diversity and Inclusion sponsors this program for diverse undergraduate students with interests in the different OHSU tracks, including Graduate Studies. Monica is working in a research lab with research mentor Suzanne Mitchell, Ph.D., in Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychiatry. Her research project explores impulsive behavior among mice and the neurological changes that cause it. She has been excited by the learning opportunities that the internship has offered so far.

"I believe that the most helpful aspect of the Equity program is just providing the opportunity to be and work in a research lab," says Monica. "I have been exposed to the process of planning, executing and presenting a research project. This experience has been able to open up a lot of doors for me."

If interested in learning more about the Summer Equity Internship Program, email David Martinez, Manager of Student Recruitment and Retention.

Posted on July 9, 2014. Write-up by Jillian Toda. Photo by Maileen Hamto.