Nathaly Vasquez and Brianna Reid were going to cross paths … eventually.
They attended high schools five miles apart. They came to St. Joseph’s College for its small class sizes and generous scholarship opportunities. And they both majored in biology.
Fate finally took over this summer – in the form of an impressive internship at Vitamix Laboratories in Commack. Ms. Vasquez, a junior at SJC Long Island, was the intern. Ms. Reid, a 2014 SJC Long Island graduate and Vitamix’s leader for quality, was her supervisor.
Under Ms. Reid’s tutelage, Ms. Vasquez performed lab work concerning assays on the growth of bacteria – working to determine the growth of important bacteria, such as E.coli, salmonella, staph, yeast and mold. Ms. Reid also taught her SJC intern how to utilize a full laboratory’s state-of-the-art equipment, providing vital real-world experience to support the concepts she was learning in school.
“Mentoring allows me to provide Nathaly with real-world application, something that I wish was a little more prevalent in schools,” said Ms. Reid, a graduate of Deer Park High School who founded the internship program at Vitamix. “I love that this opportunity allows me to instruct Nathaly on some of the techniques and topics that may not be covered in a typical class, that I feel to be imperative to certain biological or chemical fields.”
“The chance to learn under a motivated and successful alumna has helped keep me ambitious,” said Ms. Vasquez, who graduated 12th in her class at Brentwood High School. Not just for her undergraduate career in biology, but with her future. With lab experience and Ms. Reid’s advice under her belt, Ms. Vasquez has already formulated her next steps.
“I wish to pursue a career in medicine, surgery specifically,” she said. “That’s why I’m working toward my certification as an EMT, and volunteering at Central Islip and Hauppauge Volunteer Ambulance.”
It’s the guidance of one summer internship and one alumna that have made the difference, said Ms. Vasquez, a native of Peru who emigrated with her family to New York in 2002.
“Brianna has so much knowledge,” she said. “She gave me wonderful tips, and I am so thankful for her for this opportunity.”
The mentor/mentee relationship is one long emphasized by St. Joseph’s. With a growing alumni base, SJC students can form personal and long-lasting relationships with alumni, both local and afar, that often lead to employment opportunities.
This article originally appeared in the Fall/Winer 2017 edition of SJCNY: St. Joseph’s College Magazine