12 Jan Sophie Karolczak
My Story, By Sophie Karolczak, 2015 Regenerative Medicine and Disease Modeling Program alumna, 2017 Teaching Research Intern (by invitation).
Attended undergraduate at Wesleyan College.
Each year, college students from across the country compete for internships with leading biotech research firms. Unlike university lab placements, these coveted private sector positions are extremely rare and virtually impossible to secure – even for the most accomplished science students.
Beating the odds, Pathways alumna Sophie Karolczak was awarded a summer internship with Boston-based firm, CRISPR Therapeutics. This unique entrepreneurial start-up uses cutting-edge CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology to develop transformative medicines for serious genetic diseases.
Sophie’s inaugural internship with CRISPR Therapeutics was so successful, she was asked to return for a second summer in 2019. Sophie credits the skills and experiences she gained at Pathways to Stem Cell Science (Pathways) as being “essential” to finding and retaining such an “amazing” internship opportunity:
“Interning at CRISPR Therapeutics was an amazing opportunity where I gained research experience while working on projects with the potential to change people’s lives. I would not have had the opportunity or drive to pursue stem cell science without my experiences at Pathway’s. As a high schooler, the Regenerative Medicine and Disease Modeling Program allowed me to jump headfirst into stem cell biology where I learned stem cell science was something I wanted to pursue. Since then I have focused my academic and extracurricular learning towards this goal, making me a competitive applicant for future internship opportunities. Returning to Pathway’s as a teaching assistant was a unique experience that strengthened my skills and knowledge because it required me to understand science well enough to explain things to other students. I am excited for this summer and the future opportunities it will lead to” – Sophie Karolczak – 2015 and 2017 Alumna
Sophie’s position with CRISPR Therapeutics was not the only internship she secured since graduating from the 2015 Regenerative Medicine and Disease Modeling Program. In 2017 Sophie interned for eight-weeks during the summer as a teaching assistant with Pathways, helping to inspire future generations of scientists. Prior to this position, she attended Pathway’s Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Techniques Course, gaining advanced industry-level training in human stem cell techniques.
Outside of summer, Sophie also researched yeast genetics in the laboratory of Dr. Amy MacQueen at Wesleyan University, where she completed her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Since graduating from college, Sophie is now seeking employment in the biotech sector, while she applies to PhD research programs.
The value of internships in providing real-world skills and experience cannot be overstated. At Pathways to Stem Cell Science we actively encourage every student to pursue ongoing real-world training throughout their post-secondary education.