The NRI’s third annual Virtual Internship Program (VIP) concluded on July 7 with 18 high school students from around the country presenting their research on the nutrients of their choice. VIP is a virtual summer program that provides high school students interested in nutrition with opportunities to learn from experts in the field and to complete an independent research project.
The 2022 VIP cohort consisted of students just completing 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades. Half reside in North Carolina while the remaining students live in four other states. This year, the students attended sessions led by the following faculty members, postdocs, and research staff:
- Stephen Hursting, PhD, MPH, NRI director
- Delisha Stewart, PhD, assistant professor
- Rachel Goode, PhD, MPH, LCSW, assistant professor
- Walter Friday, research associate, Trujillo Lab
- Evan Paules, PhD, postdoctoral research associate, Hursting Lab
- Julie Hasken, PhD, postdoctoral research associate and project manager, May Lab
Hursting kicked off the summer program with an introduction to precision nutrition. Other lectures in the four-week virtual program were Research Methods (Stewart), Human Subjects in Research (Goode), and an in-depth view of Laboratory Science (Paules). Students also learned about careers in research science by hearing from two mentors – Friday and Hasken – about their educational and work experiences leading to their current positions.
Students were encouraged to ask questions about the topics and exceeded our expectations. These talented young minds provided insightful inquiries to each speaker, making us eager to see their final projects: a research paper and presentation to fellow students and our staff. We asked each student to describe the nutrient of their choice, its importance to human health, how the body processes it, and food sources of the nutrient. Students concluded their presentations by describing a recent research article on their selected nutrient and what they would have done differently if they were the leading scientist on the study. We’re proud of the 2022 VIP cohort and invite you to read each student’s paper here.
VIP fills up quickly every year and always results in a waitlist. The application opens in spring about six weeks before students are selected. If you or someone you know is interested in VIP 2023, sign up for our e-news, follow our social media accounts, or check our website in the coming year for more information.