College students have many opportunities during summer semester: visiting family, suntanning and binge watching TV. A great way to get work experience, however, is a summer internship.

Shelia Johnson, an APSU chemistry major with plans for a doctorate after graduation, is gaining experience in the medical field. According to a press release, Johnson is spending a second summer interning at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville under the Aspirnaut Summer Research Internship Program.

The Aspirnaut website describes their summer research internship for graduates as a “hands-on and mentored basic science research laboratory experience for undergraduate students interested in a career in biomedical research.”

Johnson said in a press release her goal is to research cancer, and her internship with Aspirnaut may improve her chances to work in medical research.

“Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to spend a great amount of time working in a lab,” Johnson said. “I have learned a number of skills that I am sure many students my age do not possess. I am challenged on a daily basis. I know what I am working on could eventually lead to helping someone years later, [and] that makes me feel like I am part of something worthwhile.”

Aspirnaut is a K20 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) pipeline program. The K20 website describes K20 as a “statewide education research and development center which promotes innovative learning through school-university-community collaboration.”

The Aspirnaut internship is a ten-week program that offers $500 a week to cover internships costs, such as transit to and from Nashville. Sophomores, juniors and seniors “with a GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale and who are in good standing at their primary institution are eligible,” according to the Aspirnaut website.

“I am interested in being a part of the Aspirnaut program because I love discovery and I love being challenged with a mystery and asked to solve it,” Johnson said.