For many of us, the summer of 2020 was a time to take a breath and regroup. For Fiona Howse, an undergraduate kinesiology student, it was a time to take a breath and examine breath. Thanks to the Adriano Tassone Internship Award, Fiona Howse had the opportunity to spend the summer working full-time at the Cardiovascular Health and Autonomic Regulation Lab (CHARLab), researching how slow breathing affects heartrate variability in both men and women.
“Research positions can be hard to find and this gave me financial security while allowing me to be fully involved in a research lab”, Howse explained in interview. “The Tassone Internship opened the door to me being a lead author on an abstract that was recently published and gave me the time to work on data that was presented at the annual Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology Conference this past October.”
Through her internship, Howse was also able to get her foot in the door to graduate studies, under the skilled mentorship of McGill Education’s Dr. Charlotte Usselman of the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KPE). “Charlotte is a great role model! She is motivating and really pushes you to present your best work,” described Howse. “I am excited at the prospect of continuing to work with her as part of the CHARLab team, as I’m currently in the process of applying for the Master of Science in Exercise Physiology.”
Despite the challenges of COVID, Howse describes her internship as a very positive learning and social experience, “I was able to enjoy my summer working with people who are passionate about science. It also showed me how to apply all the knowledge I’ve gained in my courses. Even with Covid-19 creating a bit of a barrier, I still got to know my lab mates very well and we have become very good friends.”
Established in 2009 by Vincent and Sabina Tassone along with close friends and family, in memory of their son Adriano Tassone, this internship award annually supports undergraduate students in the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education (KPE). With ongoing support from loyal donors, students’ gain practical experience through a subsidized summer internship. In 2020, five students were awarded the Adriano Tassone Internship Award.