Summer jobs, internships and research opportunities are all part of the college experience for many USD students.
Two student-athletes spent the last two summers combing their passions and academics, working to prepare themselves for future job opportunities.
In addition to training and preparing for their seasons, first-year graduate student Lara Boman and junior Lauren Mattison conducted research and completed internships.
During the summer of 2016, both spent time doing grant-funded undergraduate research. The next summer brought both to different summer jobs: Mattison worked at Café Brulé as a baker and Boman interned as a strength coach in the weight room.
Macrophage to maxing out
Boman, a thrower on the track and field team, said her favorite part of practice has been the time in the weight room, which translated well into an internship position with the strength coaches.
“Being in the weight room this summer is an experience that I am extremely grateful for,” Boman said. “It showed me that although I love being in the weight room, I want to experience more of the research aspects for my career.”
Two summers ago, Boman worked as an undergraduate researcher in Mathematical Modeling of Macrophage.
“It was a great experience to learn about biology and programming, two things I didn’t know a lot about,” she said. “It helped me understand that I enjoy science and health, but I don’t want to be on a computer all day.”
A physics and math & interdisciplinary sciences double major, Boman said both the research position and the internship solidified her decision to continue her education. She begins graduate school for kinesiology this year.
“I learned a lot about different types of experiences, what I want in a future job and what I don’t want,” Boman said. “Learning what you don’t want is almost as important and finding what you do want in a full-time job.”
Boman is planning to explore career options that combine science and health with activity and fitness components built in, she said.
BioSTNR to baking
Mattison, a volleyball player and medical biology and math double major, had an on-campus position with BioSTNR undergraduate research in 2016.
“I basically carried out a procedure multiple times on a computer that analyzed data… to reach a conclusion,” Mattison said. “I found it isn’t really my thing to stare at the computer for 40 hours per week, and the repetitive nature became tedious.”
Through this experience, she found that her priorities in a career include her love for the job and drive to succeed.
“I learned that it’s important to do something that you actually love because I never dreaded waking up at 3:30 or 4 in the morning to go to work… when I was working at Brulé as a baker,” she said.
Not being passionate about bioinformatics didn’t sway Mattison from her majors. She said she’s not following a typical career path, but will be pursuing a job that combines her experiences, undergraduate school and possibly graduate school.
“I want to be a mental health counselor, so that doesn’t really follow either of my majors right now, but I also want to eventually become a math professor,” Mattison said.
Being a professor would allow Mattison to raise awareness within the academic community about mental health issues that affect students, she said.
“It’s something that I think a lot of people can benefit from,” she said. “It combines everything I’m passionate about and gives me life.”