In 2012, Ishak participated in a three-month-long internship in Washington, D.C. where he assisted Dr. Vanja Lazarevic in the laboratory for the Experimental Immunology branch of the National Cancer Institute.
“My assigned task during this time was to test whether a particular gene (Cd97) was responsible for pathogenesis in autoimmunity using a Multiple Sclerosis (MS) model,” writes Ishak. Ishak spent 30 to 60 hours per week in the lab, devoting his days to cutting edge research under the supervision of Dr. Lazarevic. He participated in rigorous seminars, a journal club that reviewed newly published works, and witnessed firsthand how scientific research provides hope for the absolution of our world from disease.
Ishak’s participation in a challenging internship brought his critical analysis skills to a whole new level. Ishak notes, “I can credit my ability to critically analyze literature to the Honors Program at PSU; from my time [in my internship], I truly learned how to critically analyze scientific works.”
Additionally, Ishak notes how his participation in a valuable internship experience shaped the course of his future. “[My internship experience] has shown me what it is like to work in the sciences. I have always assumed I would be pursuing a medical degree, but since my time here, I am truly considering MD programs, or perhaps even pursuing a Ph.D.,” he writes.