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Student Matt Bavelock Makes Discovery at Vermont Genetics Network

by Solvegi Shmulsky

BURLINGTON, Vt.--In summer 2016, Landmark College Life Science student Matt Bavelock completed in an internship at the Vermont Genetics Network (VGN). He was one of ten Landmark College students doing internships over the summer. Bavelock worked in the laboratory of Matthew Wargo, Ph.D., at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont, where he was involved in a study investigating biofilms (bacterial communities).

“In a post-antibiotic era, we need different ways to eliminate bacteria,” said VGN’s Janet Murray, explaining the significance of the work in which Bavelock participated. According to Murray, “Matt isolated a previously unknown phage… This discovery may provide scientists with a way to target bacteria within biofilm communities.”

Bavelock valued the experience of working on real-world problems. “Every aspect of my internship was valuable to me, but if I had to choose one it would be the hands-on experience,” he said. “I’m a kinesthetic learner, so getting the hands-on experience of working in a lab enabled me to understand and retain more than any lecture could teach.”

This is the second year Landmark College has placed an intern at VGN, and the program will continue in summer 2017. “We are thrilled for the internship connection with VGN,” said Jan Coplan, director of Transfer, Career, and Internship (TCI) Services. “VGN has provided great oversight and supervision to our students.”

Bavelock’s internship and others like it are part of VGN’s Summer At-large Internship program. The goal of Summer At-large is to “expand opportunities for VGN undergraduates and increase the diversity of undergraduates entering the biomedical research pipeline.” VGN is an IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) program funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS).

A goal of TCI is to let students know about internship opportunities early in their time at Landmark. “We want students to have greater awareness of opportunities like VGN, so they can work toward them while they are here,” said Coplan. Information about internship opportunities can be found on Landmark College's Careers and Internships page or by contacting Jan Coplan.

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