A Dream Come True

Greetings to all!

My name is Francine Baker. I am a recent Public Health Science graduate from the University of Maryland, College Park School of Public Health. Currently, I am a joint intern at the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC) and J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI). SSEC is part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., which focuses on reforming science education for preK-12 throughout the nation and the world. JCVI is a genomics-focused biological science research facility with laboratories in Rockville, MD and LaJolla, CA. This unique joint internship is a collaboration between both facilities to build upon the SSEC’s upcoming “Mosquito!” Curriculum module, free for all educators and youth ages 7-18, using real time data collection and feedback from scientists conducting mosquito related research at JCVI.

I am super stoked about this internship as it provides me the hands-on lab-based research I crave, through work conducted at JCVI, and an opportunity to put my public health training to work via the development of the mosquito curriculum module at SSEC. This internship defines who I want to be as a public health scientist – educator by day, lab geek by night; and I am very comfortable and proud of being a lab geek. Anyone who has a love for science - technology, engineering, or anything for that matter - should feel the same way. I love doing lab work and scientific research and someday I will be good at them. That’s what makes this internship such a dream come true.

As a public health science major, I was given several opportunities to grow as a public health professional. I excelled in all my classes and learned a lot during my internships as a behavioral health intern at Westat - a social science research facility - and management intern at UAID a nonprofit student-led organization. However, I was lacking the professional growth and development for the science component of my degree. All the science-based internships I wanted went to students whose major was biological science. While they were sitting in a lab, I was sitting in an office dreaming about the pathophysiology of mental health illnesses. Until one Tuesday evening in October when I received an email that would provide me the opportunity to finally enter the world of bench science through this new joint internship with JCVI and SSEC.  

Follow Francine Baker's journey as she embarks on this unique joint internship through the Smithsonian Science Education Center and J. Craig Venter Institute.

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About the Author

Francine Baker
Intern, Smithsonian Science Education Center and J. Craig Venter Institute

Francine Baker is a recent graduate from the University of Maryland, College Park School of Public Health and a rising Public Health Scientist. Her interest in science began at an early age when she first learned about the tiniest particles that make up the world around us – atoms. This sparked her love for chemistry. As she learned more about the inner workings of the human body, biological science became her new love. Her interest in public health stems from having two children with sickle cell disease, a chronic genetic blood disorder. Educating herself and her children on the disease is what lead her to the University of Maryland School of Public Health. Her love of biological science combined with her desire to improve the health of her children, and others, is the driving force behind her aspirations as a Public Health Scientist.