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Student Spotlight: Nick Rivers

Montevallo’s interns learn, grow and contribute to professional settings both on the local and national level. Our students’ internship experiences help them find and pursue career paths and passions that combine their interests, values and skills to become successful both personally and professionally. With the assistance of alumni and dedicated professors, our students are able to make career contacts and build a resume that employers seek in today’s competitive job market.

Nick Rivers ’17 is spending his summer at Harvard University completing a research internship with the National Center for Functional Glycomics in Boston, Massachusetts where Dr. Richard Cummings ’74, is the center director.

“In the mornings, I sit in on journal presentations and lab meetings and hear everything that every researcher in the lab is working on and in the afternoon I work in the labs with the scientists,” Nick says. The UM biochemistry student is the lone student researcher among 20 researchers with Ph.D.s in the glycomics lab.

Beginning the internship, Nick says he felt completely prepared for the research field he would be entering. “I knew this was a very specific field, but because of my classes at UM there haven’t been many concepts or terms mentioned that I wasn’t familiar with,” Nick says, adding that his liberal arts education is helping him learn to adapt in various circumstances. “I know how to read and understand scientific papers and my undergraduate research with Dr. Tinsley has also made a difference in my lab techniques and critical thinking skills.”

While in Boston, Nick is studying for the MCAT and plans to apply for medical school following his graduation in May. “This experience is definitely helping me decide whether I want to do medical research or practice medicine in the future.” His on-the-job experience so far has provided him the opportunities to think like a researcher, apply analytical problem solving skills and learn the discipline it takes to work a lab. He has found a new appreciation for the researchers’ hard work in the lab as well as a new understanding of how research works. These are things Nick is confident will help benefit him in medical school and in his future career.