Pelotonia PartnerGAMBIER, Ohio (August 8, 2012)
Kenyon's partnership with Pelotonia has placed Kenyon students at the front lines in the fight against cancer at research labs at the Ohio State University.
Pelotonia is the long-distance bicycle ride that has raised more than $25 million for cancer research in three years and this year selected Kenyon as the destination for riders who will start in downtown Columbus on Saturday. The Ohio State University (OSU) has welcomed six Kenyon interns this summer in a nine-week, hands-on program. The six students gave a public presentation of their work on Wednesday to Kenyon and OSU officials.
Olivia L. Sabik '14 of University Heights, Ohio, is a chemistry major who has spent the summer working in the OSU College of Pharmacy Division of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy. She has helped conduct research into a protein that suppresses genes that suppress tumor development. Sabik has helped rank and synthesize compounds.
"I'm trying to decide between graduate and medical school," she said. And she may pursue both a medical degree and a doctorate. "I'm really getting a feel of how my life would be if I decided to go to graduate school, which is something I've really needed. We've been getting a lot of exposure to so many careers."
Her work in Kenyon's Organic Chemistry Laboratory course helped prepare her for the summer research. "I got used to being very independent in the lab course," she said. "That prepared me for this."
Medical school is the target for Daniel C. Akuma '14 of Abakaliki, Nigeria, who is a neuroscience major and another Kenyon intern in the program. Akuma has been working with a physician in tracking breast-cancer patients who have received the chemotherapy drug Herceptin since 1999. He helps collect and classify patient outcomes.
"I have always had the passion for being in medicine," he said. "I'm working with a practicing physician. She has a clinic and sees her patients and she has me shadow her. It's daunting. It's amazing. And I have shadowed other doctors. Every undergraduate would long for this great opportunity."
The Kenyon interns also include Kari N. W. Deininger '13 of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania; Emily G. Grenen '13 of Pittsburgh; James "Harry" Hurley Jr. '14 of Maplewood, New Jersey; and Ainsley A. K. Lockhart '13 of Piedmont, California. OSU provides a stipend for the Kenyon interns, and Kenyon covers housing in Columbus.
Pelotonia is a nonprofit, Columbus-based organization that is fully funded by corporate partners and generates money through donations to riders for cancer research at the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center-the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and the Richard J. Solove Research Institute. All of the money raised through rider sponsors goes to cancer-fighting research.
"This provides a new learning experience for students at one of the world's leading cancer research centers," Kenyon Provost Nayef Samhat said. "It can be the foundation for a new collaborative relationship between the faculty at the James and at Kenyon. And it enhances our relationship with the state's flagship university."
Pelotonia has created an energized community throughout the OSU Wexner Medical Center and the city itself, Sabik said. "I can't get on my bike without talking to someone who is riding or who wants to know more about it," she said.