As a summer intern at the Mayo Clinic, Honors College student Sydney Phu spent 10 weeks in Rochester, Minnesota researching regenerative medicine ethics. She is the first student from Oregon State to be accepted into this prestigious Summer Undergraduate Program in Biomedical Ethics Research.
Sydney worked on a research team under the mentorship of Dr. Zubin Master at the Mayo Clinic. Their project aimed to determine whether or not consultation can be an effective intervention in the practice of unapproved stem cell therapies. Along with summer students, she participated in a bioethics curriculum, which included educational sessions on research methods and bioethics topics, clinical shadowing, and career development sessions with Mayo Clinic faculty.
“The best part of the experience was getting to meet and learn from so many accomplished professionals,” she says. “Whether it was through clinical shadowing with physicians or didactic meetings with researchers, it was inspiring to hear about their passions and learn from their experiences.”
This fall, Sydney will work on her honors thesis project with Dr. Megan McClelland at the Hallie E. Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families. Because her thesis involves working with children, the ethical considerations of research involving human subjects that she learned while working on Dr. Master’s team and attending the research ethics lessons will particularly support her thesis work. She also took away important lessons about solidarity between medical professionals when competing ideas about the best course of patient care arise.
“This internship inspired me and gave me the confidence to pursue a career as a physician. I plan to apply to medical school after a gap year, and I hope to incorporate my passion for biomedical ethics, social justice, and patient care in my future practice.”