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Intern Profile: Keean Kondo ’15

June 16, 2014

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Keean Kondo ’15

Major: Biochemistry and molecular biology
Hometown: Vacaville, California

Can you tell us what you’re doing this summer? What are your basic duties as an intern?
I am working in Professor Arlen Johnson’s lab at the University of Texas at Austin. His lab focuses on the large subunit of the ribosome and the maturation process of this integral machinery in yeast cells. I will be working on mutagenizing a protein called Fun12 in the hope of suppressing a negative growth mutation found in one of the integral proteins creating the large subunit, Rpl10. This project aims to propel other experiments in understanding the interactions of some proteins in the large subunit. My duties change constantly due to the needs of my project and Professor Johnson’s requests. I am in charge of this project and the experiments necessary to obtain the information the professor seeks.

How has Lewis & Clark supported you in the process of finding, securing, and funding your internship?
Lewis & Clark has been the sole reason I have this opportunity here in Texas. My relationship with Professor of Biology Deborah Lycan and her determination to assist her students in every way possible opened the door to working in this lab. She was able to set me up with an interview with Professor Johnson and put in a good word for me. She also informed me of the Miller Summer Internship Award, which has been greatly helpful in paying for my living expenses. 
How do you see this internship leading to a career in your chosen field and aiding in your overall career development?
This internship is a perfect stepping stone toward the career I desire. My goal is to work in a lab throughout my career, whether it is at an university or a biotech company. This internship gives me the experience of working in a lab every day, as well as the freedom to run my own experiments. I will learn time management and sharpen my lab skills learned in my courses at Lewis & Clark. 
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your experience thus far?

My experience thus far has been fantastic. I have been able to use all of the skills from my lab courses at Lewis & Clark, and Professor Johnson has been greatly supportive as I adjust and settle into my new environment. Overall, I don’t think I would be in this situation if it wasn’t for the connections I have at Lewis & Clark and the faculty’s commitment to helping their students succeed. I also believe that the courses I have taken have helped me succeed in this internship as I have been able to transition well in the lab without much supervision. Because this is an internship, Professor Johnson looks over my process but allows me to complete my work independently, which has not been as intimidating as I would have expected because my coursework prepared me well for this opportunity. 

The purpose of the Miller Summer Internship Award is to underwrite or supplement expenses of students at Lewis & Clark College who are engaged in scientific research internships in the mathematical and natural sciences. This opportunity is made possible by a generous grant from the Miller Foundation. 

Career Development  Biochemistry and Molecular Biology