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Published on May 22, 2018

The William A. Agger Student Bioscience Internship now has its first intern, Corina Valencia from UW-L. She is pictured here with retired physician and director of Medical Research, William Agger, MD, and benefactors Dr. Seuk and Rita Kang and Rebecca and James Naugler.

Tick-borne infections focus of first microbiology research intern

Gundersen's Microbiology Laboratory is pleased to welcome Corina Valencia, a junior from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UW-L) and the first recipient of the William A. Agger, MD, Student Bioscience Internship. She will be working with medical researcher Steven Callister, PhD, in our Medical Science Laboratories in the Health Science Center at UW-L.

Corina's internship is for the summer with a focus on viral infections associated with tick bites. Other internships will be developed annually and will vary in length.

"It's fully funded, so we'll be able to offer an annual internship with research opportunities for an undergraduate student to further his or her post-graduate career in infectious diseases and public health," Dr. Callister explains.

"This internship was made possible thanks to generous donations from Dr. Seuk Kang (retired Gundersen anesthesiologist) with his wife Rita, and Rebecca and James Naugler," says Vicki McHugh, director of Medical Research. "Both couples directed their donations to this Gundersen Medical Foundation fund to honor Dr. Agger's retirement in January after years of service as both an Infectious Disease physician at Gundersen and the medical director of Medical Research through the Foundation."

"This internship was created to support students pursuing careers in a biomedical field. It is for non-cancer laboratory-based research—the type of research that has traditionally had less funding and support," says Vicki.

In April, Corina was able to meet her benefactors and Dr. Agger during a reception and tour of the microbiology laboratory. At the event, Dr. Agger provided the history of the microbiology research laboratory and Dr. Callister shared how the lab functions and the nature of the research project. Corina introduced herself and gave an overview of her schooling, previous research experience on influenza virus and her intent to pursue a graduate degree in infectious disease epidemiology.

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