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Intern Profile: Hannah Cohen B.A. ’14

June 18, 2014

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Hannah Cohen B.A. ’14

Major: Biology
Hometown: Salem, Oregon

Can you tell us what you’re doing this summer? What are your basic duties as an intern?

This summer, I’m working at the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC), under Kris Coleman, Ph.D., in the behavioral services unit. Right now, I’m helping out on a project to understand the underlying reasons why some primates at the ONPRC have more alopecia, or hair loss, than others. We just sent in hair samples from about 600 primates to be measured for cortisol stress hormone, and we’ll see if and how the cortisol levels in a monkey correlate to its hair loss. Some of my basic duties as an intern have included recording behaviors of primates, scoring alopecia in individual primates, and observing how primates react to different enrichment or toys. 

How has Lewis & Clark supported you in the process of finding, securing, and funding your internship?

The Miller Summer Internship Award was fundamental in securing and funding my internship. After I learned about the award, I started looking for a researcher who was doing something in which I might be interested. I contacted a lot of labs at the ONPRC, but Coleman’s research interested me the most because it deals directly with improving the psychological well-being of primates at the ONPRC. Without the Miller award, I would not have been able to work with Coleman because I wouldn’t be able to stay in Portland this summer or drive out to Hillsboro where the center is located. I am extremely thankful to the Miller Foundation for giving me such an interesting summer experience! 

How do you see this internship leading to a career in your chosen field and aiding in your overall career development?

In the fall, I plan to apply to veterinary school. In addition to my interest in maintaining and improving the physical health of animals, I’m also extremely interested in understanding how to improve the psychological health of animals. Oftentimes, animals that present fewer signs of stress are generally healthier physically, and animals can be trained to minimize their stress in captivity—for example, by being trained to come up willingly for a blood draw. I think it’s a really intriguing aspect of caring for animals, and very relevant to my ambitions of working in a field with animals. 

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your experience thus far?

On one of my favorite days so far, I went out with a couple of trainers to a corral that houses a lot of rhesus macaques. I filmed while they blew bubbles for the monkeys to play with—it was adorable to watch the youngsters jump up to pop bubbles!

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 Biology Department