MURFREESBORO — Brigette Thompson called it a wonderful experience. For David O’Brien, it was fantastic.
Thompson and O’Brien were two of 14 MTSU Master of Science in Professional Science students who served internships with Tennessee companies for parts or all of the past two semesters and are expected to be degree candidates during Saturday, May 10, commencement ceremonies in Murphy Center.
The program, commonly called professional science masters or PSM, is an award-winning two-year master’s degree in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM disciplines that equips students for work in public and private business and academia.
Offered in conjunction with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the interdisciplinary program is a partnership among the MTSU colleges of Basic and Applied Sciences, Behavioral and Health Sciences, Liberal Arts and Jones College of Business. To learn more, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/msps/about.php.
Thompson, a Murfreesboro native, said she was able to work on several projects at the same time — one in science and one in business — with Brentwood, Tennessee-based Encapsula NanoSciences that “exemplified the interdisciplinary properties of the MSPS program,” she said.
“I was able to learn coding and marketing, which, as a biology major, you don’t experience,” the biotechnology student said, adding that she also was able “to learn about the molecule delivery system used for research.”
Thompson earned her undergraduate degree in biology from East Tennessee State University in Johnson City.
O’Brien drove 360 miles round trip from Murfreesboro to Knoxville, Tennessee, two days a week to fulfill his Siemens Healthcare Molecular Imaging engineering management commitment, which ends in mid-May. He often had to return to campus in time for a Tuesday night class.
“This program is very challenging,” said O’Brien, a Jackson, Mississippi, native now living in Murfreesboro. “You have to be willing to grow and be willing to learn.”
While serving in the internship, O’Brien was a full-time graduate student and graduate teaching assistant.
All of the students made presentations Thursday, May 1, in Cason-Kennedy Nursing Building. They include:
• Fatima Abdouni (biotechnology) of Smyrna, Tennessee. She performed her internship with Encapsula NanoSciences;
• Tiffany Goodman (biotechnology) of Murfreesboro. She served her internship with Encapsula NanoSciences;
• Ramin Heidari (biotechnology) of Tehran, Iran. He conducted his internship with Encapsala NanoSciences;
• Suzanne Hicks (biotechnology) of Murfreesboro. She served her internship with Nashville-based GenHunter Corporation;
• Julian Smith (biotechnology) of Pulaski, Tennessee. He served his internship with Encapsula NanoSciences;
•Lu Zhang (actuarial sciences) of Knoxville, Tennessee. She performed her internship with SIGMA Actuarial Consulting Group in Brentwood;
• Ali Alataiwi (healthcare informatics) of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. He completed his internship with Rama Medical Group of Nashville;
• Jennifer Griffin (healthcare informatics) of Dawson Springs, Kentucky. She fulfilled her internship with the Tennessee Department of Health in Nashville;
• Seyedhamed Jafarianmoamady (biostatistics) of Murfreesboro. He served his internship with Incell DX Inc. of Franklin, Tennessee;
• Julius Kirui (biostatistics) of Murfreesboro. He accomplished his internship with Vanderbilt University’s Center of Quantitative Sciences in Nashville;
• Bryan Lange (biostatistics) of Murfreesboro. He fulfilled his internship requirements at the Sarah Cannon Research Institute in Nashville; and
• Heena Shah (healthcare informatics). She served her internship with HCA in Franklin, Tennessee.
Griffin said she will soon have an interview with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, all based on her internship with the Tennessee Department of Health this semester.
Various corporate mentors and members of the program’s advisory board attended the presentations.
Under the direction of Saeed Foroudastan, professor and College of Basic and Applied Sciences associate dean, MTSU launched the program in 2005. It has an outstanding retention rate and witnessed an extremely large increase in the graduation rate between 2005 and 2009. In 2010, the Tennessee Board of Regents honored the program with the Academic Excellence Award.