ITTA BENA, Miss.—While most college students dream of landing just one prestigious internship, a scholar at Mississippi Valley State University has received three.
In the weeks leading up to the current COVID-19 pandemic, MVSU junior Jhah Cook applied and was accepted into three prestigious summer internship opportunities.
Cook, a Biology and Chemistry major at MVSU, was accepted into the competitive Amgen Scholars Program at Johns Hopkins University as a summer researcher.
In addition, she received an invitation to attend Stanford University’s Amgen Scholars Summer Research Program. This fully-funded research program is extremely competitive with less than a 5.71% acceptance rate. Cook made the cut out of 700 applicants for fewer than 40 positions.
The Department of Defense also extended Cook an internship through its Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions (HBCU/MI) Summer Research Program.
“I was ecstatic about receiving just one internship opportunity because I knew that it meant I’d definitely be in a lab this summer,” said Cook, a native of Decatur, Ga. “When I received acceptances to both the Johns Hopkins and Stanford Amgen Scholar Programs, I was shocked. It’s extremely rare to get into even one of these prestigious programs, so for me to be accepted into both was surreal.”
Before COVID-19 altered her plans, Cook was already leaning towards one of the opportunities.
“While the decision was tough, conducting research at Johns Hopkins has always been a dream of mine since I was very young,” she revealed. “Johns Hopkins Amgen Scholars Program accepts only 15 students which makes it extremely competitive.”
In response to the global health crisis, Johns Hopkins has canceled this summer’s internship program but will offer those accepted priority next summer as well as assistance with applying for their graduate programs.
Stanford’s Amgen Scholars Summer Research Program and The Department of Defense are both currently exploring remote options.
Despite the circumstances, Cook, who plans to finish up her bachelor’s degrees at MVSU and enroll in an M.D./Ph.D. program to focus on translational science, said she’s grateful for the opportunities.
“I know that I am one step closer to reaching my goal of becoming a physician-scientist,” she said.