Jordan Mattheisen

Jordan Mattheisen '17 Interns in Genome Sciences

What are you studying at Simmons?

I'm majoring in biochemistry and minoring in math and physics.

What drew you to your program?

One of my first classes at Simmons was a course about microbes, computer science and women in STEM taught by Professor Canfield and Professor Menzin. I loved the enthusiasm of the professors and wanted to learn more!

Where are you interning this summer?

I'm working in Dr. Stanley Fields' lab in the Genome Sciences Department at the University of Washington in my hometown of Seattle.

How did you hear about this internship opportunity? What was the application process like?

I was interested in learning more about biology focused research since I've spent most of my time at Simmons doing research in the organic chemistry lab. I applied to several competitive summer programs but decided to reach out to my advisor to ask for other opportunities to pursue. My advisor knew Dr. Fields and reached out to him directly to ask if his lab needed undergraduate workers or volunteers. I was fortunate because a postdoc in the lab with a chemistry background was looking for a summer student to mentor. My advisor emailed a letter of reference and I emailed my resume. Shortly after I was offered a position working through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

What's the most rewarding part of your experience so far?

I've learned a lot of new concepts and scientific techniques — but I think the most rewarding part has been meeting so many scientists at different stages in their careers and learning about their different paths and experiences. My mentor is very patient and the lab environment is extremely supportive. I'm also working on my own research project instead of just shadowing someone or acting as a technician.

What are the top 3 lessons you've learned from your internship?

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  2. Sometimes things don't go as planned — it's important to keep a positive attitude.
  3. Few researchers are able to accomplish anything of significance on their own. Bouncing ideas off of others and reading about previous research is crucial.

What advice would you give to students considering studying STEM?

Take advantage of as many different types of experiences as early as possible. Don’t be afraid to try something totally new! 

What's your favorite class you've taken so far?

Drug Design: Concept to Market. It was taught by a senior scientist working at Pfizer. The class was very unique because students were divided into small groups on the first day of class and each group chose a disease they were passionate about. Throughout the semester we explored the entire process of how a drug is created, tested and brought to market by designing a drug for our disease, designing efficacy studies then clinical trials and presenting our simulated data to a mock FDA panel of scientists from the area. We even creating marketing plans with the patient populations in mind. It was great being able to learn about drug design in an interactive and creative way

Do you have a favorite spot on campus?

I really love the library at Simmons. It’s a great place to focus and work independently. I really like that students can schedule time in study rooms to practice presentations, brainstorm ideas on white boards, collaborate on group projects and get together with friends to study for upcoming exams. 

What's your Simmons Moment?

Summer orientation was very overwhelming because I didn't know anyone at the school. I was encouraged by one of the students in my orientation group — one of my best friends today —to speak to the swim coach. Although I had never expected to participate in varsity athletics in college, I attended the first meeting and immediately became part of the team.

Everyone was welcoming even though I had somewhat limited racing experience and wasn't originally recruited from high school. All of my teammates have greatly impacted my time at Simmons and I'm so happy I've made so many wonderful friends from taking a risk my first week at Simmons. 

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