Supporting Opportunity:
Research Internship for Breast Cancer

Oncology—the study and treatment of cancer—can be a daunting and difficult field. It’s tremendously important to encourage promising young researchers. Before the rigors of medical school and the many years of residency, NorthShore’s Katharine Yao, MD, who leads the Summer Research Internship for Breast Cancer, offer high achievers the chance to work under the supervision of NorthShore’s leading cancer doctors on cutting-edge research.

NorthShore donor Sallyan Windt has been supporting the Summer Research Internship for Breast Cancer and the work of Dr. Yao for the last three years and said the results–seeing college students with a proclivity for math and science present research at conferences and submit papers to accomplished journals–make it all worthwhile. 

“This is an outstanding program and opportunity for young people with talent and ambition to learn firsthand about careers in medicine,” said Windt, who is also a member of NorthShore’s Breast Health Advisory Council.

Windt said she supports NorthShore’s Internship for Breast Cancer Research because she’s convinced young people need to be nurtured and allowed to see medical careers up close and as early as possible. “Having a daughter, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters, breast cancer has always been a priority concern for me, so I heartily endorse efforts to encourage talented students to be stimulated and invigorated through those choices.”

Marybeth Hall, 21, a senior at Northwestern University, spent the summer shadowing surgeons, radiologists, oncologists and a genetics counselor, attending breast cancer conferences, and working on a research project where she examined complications from mastectomies. She said the internship helped solidify her desire to apply to medical school.

“It’s given me the confidence and verified for me what I have always thought I wanted to do,” said Hall.   She said it’s very hard for college students to find internships in the premed field, so she’s grateful to the donors and NorthShore staff for the experience. She also was happy to learn that physician researchers can combine collecting data and research with their love for patient care and apply those results and trends to benefit their current patients.

Dr. Yao, who has had six students go through the internship in the last three years, said the program has been a success. “The two interns we have now are both going to medical school and so we’re delighted that we are able to foster their interest,” said Dr. Yao, who stays in touch with former students and follows their progress and selection of medical careers. Windt said she hopes the program receives additional donor support so it can be expanded to give more young people the opportunity to experience what a life in medicine would be like.

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