As part of our ongoing What I Did This Summer Features, we sat down with senior football player Lord Hyeamang, who completed an internship at the Columbia University Medical Center this summer. A 2016 Second Team All-Ivy League selection, three-year letterman and 2017 team captain on the defensive line, Hyeamang’s duties at CUMC centered around research and a thesis. A Lakeville, Minn. native, Hyeamang is a psychology major and pre-Med student at Columbia who will graduate in May 2018.
Can you explain some of your duties and responsibilities?
“I had the opportunity to intern at one of the research labs on Columbia University Medical Center’s campus. The lab I was in was run by Dr. Jeanine D'Armiento, M.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor of Medicine in Anesthesiology and the Director of the Center for Molecular Pulmonary Disease in Anesthesiology and Physiology and Cellular Biophysics. Everybody in her lab does research that is in some way related to pulmonary disease. My mentor was a laboratory technician so basically I got to follow him around in the lab to get a feel for lab protocol and to get an idea of how to run different types of experiments. Once I had a working knowledge of some of the techniques and better understanding of that specific field of scientific research. I was able to start working on have my own project and eventually do research for a poster presentation at the end of the summer.
How did you get involved with the internship?
“There was an application process. I heard from a friend about a former Columbia football player that had also been in the SPURS program about 8 or so years ago. I got his contact and reached out to him for advice about the application process as well as for some insight about pursuing a career in medicine. I ended up applying for the position and received a phone call that I was accepted. It was myself and 30 or so other students from different schools.”
And you wrote a thesis on the project?
“It was a poster. Career scientists attend these conferences where they present all the new data and experiments and display their data either on a big posters or through a PowerPoint presentation if they happen to be one of keynote speakers. People will stop by, view these posters, ask questions, and see what the new research is in the field. The presentation is basically a little excerpt of the papers that they eventually write. They do experiments to write the papers and they present and advertise their findings through these posters. These papers are written with the goal of being published in impactful journals
What was your thesis on?
“Basically it was about how a certain part of the lung cell changes in the presence of cigarette smoke we were interested in if there was some sort of correlation between this particular change in the cell and the inflammation that we know cigarette smoke causes.”
How did you get interested in that topic?
“I always wanted to do research. I knew I needed research experience for med school application. The topic itself, I was basically open to anything. You get assigned a lab based on what your interests are I didn’t have any prior lab experience outside of class so I was open to anything to be honest. I ended up getting into this lung lab. In terms of my poster project they had been researching a project related to it, so they filled me in on where they were, and basically I had two months to get as far as far as I could. It is an ongoing project, so the poster that I put together was only a small piece of the entire project. Eventually, the project will turn into a paper.”
What are your future plans?
“Right now, the game plan is to keep playing football as long as I can and then I will probably work as a lab technician, get a Master’s, and then get after that MD.”