Students to Participate in CHOP's Research Institute Summer Scholars Program (CRISSP)

Students Joana Petrescu (2014), Noor Shaik (2014), and Katie Valosky (2012) have been awarded internships in the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's (CHOP's) Research Institute Summer Scholars Program (CRISSP).

Joana Petrescu is a rising junior from from Warrington, Pennsylvania. A biochemistry, French, and honors major, Joana hopes to one day conduct research in a health-related field.

As part of this summer internship, Joana said, "I will be performing research in Dr. Matt Weitzman's lab, which specializes in virology, including immune response to viruses on a cellular level (which has strong implications for production of more efficient viral vectors) and DNA repair (tied to cancer research). At the end of the summer, I will present a poster on my work."

Joana said that she was attracted to this summer internship experience because of the opportunity to do research in a hospital as large and well-known as CHOP. "I hope to not only gain experience working in a lab, but also to expose myself to a competitive research environment in order to prepare myself for my future career," she said.

Joana is looking forward to the opportunity to work with CHOP's many esteemed scientists and to spend the summer in University City.

Katie Valosky, '12, graduated in May with a bachelor's degree in psychology major with minors in Peace and Justice, and theology. Katie will spend one year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps serving as a volunter case worker in a homeless resource center. Following the year of service, Katie hopes to pursue a graduate degree. 

This summer, as part of the CRISSP internship, Katie will work under the direction of the Director of Psychosocial Services for Oncology and the Director of Psychosocial Services for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). "These scientists are running a number of studies right now that focus on three main populations: young adults and adolescents with cancer, patients with Sickle Cell Disease and their families, and families with children in the NICU," Katie said. "I will be doing a number of different tasks to help with the research in these three areas. For example, I could conduct interviews, help to implement interventions and programs to teach families and children how to cope with the illness in a healthy way, or I could conduct data analysis for the studies that have been completed. Ultimately, I will be getting great exposure to the world of psychology and the health professions with a focus on research. I will also be completing an independent study to be presented at a commencement event when the CRISSP program ends."

Katie was attracted to the many benefits that the program offers, such as invaluable training in conducting research, the opportunity to collaborate with a research team, and mentorship provided by clinical psychologists. 

"It allows me to take the theory I have learned as an undergraduate and to apply it to real-world research," Katie said. "It also gives me the chance to work with children and families in a very diverse setting. It allows my two passions to merge: psychology and making a difference in people’s lives."