The Alton and Dianne McEwen and Family Internship Program is focused on assisting our students in finding the best internship placements around the world that will help forward them in their academics as well as their real-world experiences. Our students are like no other – driven, focused and determined – they seek out internships that will challenge and inspire them. They want to take all of their academic knowledge and years of education and put words into motion, in a practical, hands-on work experience. More than anything else, students look to internships to help them establish a professional path for themselves.
From some of our interns...
Hands‐on Outdoor Internship - Bieler Cranberries Farms
During a 13‐week internship, Carina Dumais worked on a cranberry farm with the technical team in the agronomy department. She was responsible for keeping track of data by entering it in computerized spreadsheets as well as assisting the technical team of the agronomy department and the hydrology engineering department with tasks such as insect scouting, bud observation, and testing water coverage uniformity of irrigation systems.
Carina learned how to sweep net a field and to recognize insect species that are harmful towards the cranberry plant. She can calculate density and percent cover of uprights in a field. She is able to observe a field and notice areas that are affected by pests and weeds. She has general knowledge on the drainage and irrigation systems. She knows about optimal soil water tension level and ground water level. She can properly sample soil with a probe as well as dissect and identify healthy buds and fruit under a microscope. She knows how to install a Hortau system and to use a granulometry system with the Mastersizer 2000 program to analyze soil samples for their composition.
In the future, this experience will help Carina in terms of her knowledge surrounding hydrology engineering since this is related to what she wishes to do for work after graduation. This includes being informed about soil sampling and soil analysis, the pressure differences within irrigation systems and the setting up of drainage systems as well as the infiltration rate of water in land.
Gene cloning internship in Quebec with Medicago
First-year McGill Life Science student, Étienne Mathieu, spent the summer in Quebec city working in the labs of the biopharmaceutical start up company Medicago. Medicago uses the bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens as a vector to express genes of interest inside of the plant Nicotiana
benthamiana, a close relative of tobacco. Their main aim is to create commercial influenza vaccine thus they express hemagglutinin, which is the antigene protein present at the surface of the flu virus that is recognized by our immune system. This is a completely new vaccine-making technology that has massive advantages over the conventional method. The most obvious one is production time as it takes only a few weeks using plants compared to 6 months using eggs.
Étienne started off in the lab by taking care of solution making. For the first 2 weeks it helped him familiarized with the environment and the strict method of procedure documentation. Once he got more confident, he was assigned as a support on the cloning team. There he was introduced to the whole process of gene cloning and engineering. He took care of tasks such as starting bacterial culture, petri dish preparation, DNA purification,PCR, DNA gel electrophoresis and more.
Étienne gained a lot of hands‐on experience by repeating the protocols everyday and deepened his understanding of gene cloning. It was his first working experience in a lab so it was definitely very enriching and eye opening. It helped him confirm he was in the right field and he became very
interested in plant immunity mechanisms as it is a central issue at Medicago. He is now better oriented and more focused for the future.
Interested in getting involved or learning more about the