Success Stories

2013 Summer Interns

Haydan Smith, Clemson University

An abstract by Haydan Smith, a participant in Penn State College of Medicine's  Summer Undergraduate Research Internship Program this past summer, placed first place at the 98th Pennsylvania Radiological Society meeting.

The internship program is designed for college students considering careers in biomedical research.

Smith, working with Penn State Hershey scientists Dr. Alison Chetlen and Dr. Susann Schetter, researched ways to better predict, prior to a biopsy, if an abnormality on a breast MRI is malignant.

Smith's work has also been submitted for publication. She is a student at Clemson University.


Patricia Theard, Florida International University, MARC U*STAR Fellow - QBIC Scholar
Outstanding Scientific Poster Presentation at the  2013 Annual
internBiomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in Nashville, Tennessee.

ABRCMS is the largest, professional conference for biomedical and behavioral students, including mathematics, attracting approximately 3,300 individuals, including 1,700 undergraduate students, 400 graduate students and postdoctoral scientists and 1,200 faculty, program directors and administrators.


Alicia Miggins, Long Island University, MBRS RISE Program Scholar

n Saturday, November 2, 2013, Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute held its fourth annual Harrisburg Cancer Education Summit at the Zion Assembly Church, Harrisburg. This year's theme was Breast Cancer: Families Taking Control. The program was developed and coordinated by the Harrisburg Community Health Workers, a cadre of trained community members dedicated to reducing cancer in Harrisburg.

The primary purpose of the annual summit is to provide participants with evidence-based strategies to reduce the impact of cancer on individuals and the community of Harrisburg. The event was attended by more than 90 people, mostly community members. One of the high points of the program was the panel discussion from a team of Penn State minority physicians. The physicians discussed the latest breakthroughs in cancer diagnosis, treatment and survivorship, as well as the importance of physical activity for cancer survivors and genetic testing to understand family cancer risk. Ms. Miggins presented her research at this summit.


Melissa Nelson

Melissa Nelson - Winston-Salem State University

Melissa was a SURIP student with Dr. Jill Smith in the Summer of 2004.  As a result of that experience, Melissa presented a poster presentation at the 2004 ABRCMS Conference in Dallas, TX.

Melissa Nelson graduated magna cum laude in Molecular Biology from Winston-Salem State University in 2005, and was granted a Master in Public Health degree in Maternal and Child Health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in 2007. Throughout her career she has worked in a variety of maternal and child health settings. Her experience comes from working in both the United States and other countries including Mali , Kenya , Zambia , and Trinidad & Tobago. In 2008, Ms. Nelson came to the UAB Shaken Baby Prevention Program to pursue her interests in injury and violence prevention. She is a public health practitioner who is not only responsible for the overall productivity and operation of the program, but also conducts training sessions on Shaken Baby Syndrome and the Happiest Baby on the Block Infant Calming Techniques. She works both tirelessly and passionately to increase education and awareness on Shaken Baby Syndrome prevention throughout the community.

The UAB Shaken Baby Prevention Program is operated through the UAB School of Medicine in the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. There are two people responsible for management of the program: Dr. Amanda Soong (pediatrician and program director) and Melissa Nelson (program coordinator). Together, the two are working to prevent shaken baby syndrome/abusive head trauma throughout Alabama.

Ms. Nelson can be reached at or 205-939-6967.