April 12, 2018

East Mississippi Community College student Leah Jackson has been named a Mississippi INBRE Service Scholar and will participate in a summer internship training and research program intended to expose undergraduate students to possible careers in the biomedical field.

Jackson was awarded a $4,500 scholarship by the Mississippi IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE), which is comprised of a network of colleges and universities that provide biomedical research. The organization’s research emphasis is in the areas of obesity, cancer and sexually transmitted diseases.

During the 10-week-long program that runs May 21 to July 27, selected INBRE Service Scholars will participate in internships in which they will learn new research methods, develop interpersonal skills and build professional relationships.

They will also be assigned a research topic and present their findings at the Mississippi INBRE Symposium in the fall and at the Mississippi Academy of Sciences in February of 2019.

The internships include a two-week training session provided by Jackson-based My Brother’s Keeper, Inc., which is dedicated to enhancing the health and well-being of minorities through leadership, collaboration and partnerships in public and community health practices.

During the internship, Jackson will spend time at the University of Mississippi Medical Center Molecular and Genomics Core Facility, as well as the proteomics core facility at Mississippi State University.

Jackson, of Starkville, is enrolled at EMCC’s Scooba campus.                     

“As Leah completed the application process for this scholarship, she told me about her love for science that began when she was just a little girl,” Humanities instructor Shannon Pendergrass said. “I was so excited to learn that Leah won this award, and I know she will serve as an excellent representative of EMCC."

With help from science instructor Dr. Robert Shinn, Jackson completed the extensive scholarship application process.

“I thought this would be a good way to explore something different,” Jackson said. “I am really excited about the opportunity.”

The $4,500 scholarship pays for living and travel expenses during the internship.

Jackson, who is originally from Harvey, Ill., said she intends to attend the University of Alabama at Birmingham after completing her coursework at EMCC. She plans to major in anatomy and physiology, with a goal of becoming a teacher.

Jackson said she moved around a lot as a child and is thankful to the teachers who took an interest in her and helped her succeed in the classroom.

“I want to do that for other kids,” Jackson said.