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PHS senior gets a jump on future career with ND internship

October 29, 2011

Hersick poses with two of her research colleagues this summer at the 2011 Undergraduate Summer Research Symposium at Notre Dame. From left: Dr. Marya Lieberman, Liz Bajema, and Katlyn Hersick

PLYMOUTH — Katlyn Hersick spent her summer in research labs at Notre Dame and Saint Mary's. The PHS senior has been interested in pharmacy since she was in second grade.
"It's my passion," she said. "I love being in the lab."
On a whim, Hersick decided to contact the head of the chemistry department at Notre Dame and asked if they accepted interns. To her surprise, she was asked to come in for an interview.
"I didn't really have much chemistry experience, but she said my passion for chemistry was there," said Hersick.
Hersick started three days later. Throughout the summer, she worked every day, putting in 40 hours a week at either Notre Dame or Saint Mary's research labs.
"I go wherever they tell me to go," said Hersick.
She worked with other area high school students who were doing the research as part of their class credit.
One of her proudest accomplishments was helping develop a test to detect counterfeit anti-malarial drugs. The inexpensive test will be used in Africa, where the off-market drugs available are either an incorrect dosage or fake.
"It was incredible, because this thing is being patented now," said Hersick. "My name is on a patent and my name is in a scientific journal. For a high school student to be able to say that is amazing."
Hersick plans to attend the University of Findlay in Ohio to study pharmacy, and wants to continue doing research at Notre Dame and Saint Mary's on breaks from school. She hopes the experience she is gaining will give her an edge when she gets to college, as well as help her out in her future career.
To students interested in doing what she did, Hersick's advice is to just go for it.
"If you think you can contact someone and it might work for you, just do it," said Hersick. "Networking is everything."

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