Upon graduation in May, senior biochemistry major Sara Lamcaj will be the only intern selected for the Department of Energy and Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship program at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
Lamcaj recently completed research on the use of amino acids in therapeutic drugs and at Los Alamos she will be researching algae as a possible alternative to petroleum-based fuels.
On March 5, Lamcaj presented the findings she, Professor Stephen Kelty and a team of graduate students discovered after conducting their amino acids research at the Liberty Science Center.
To apply for the internship at Los Alamos, Lamcaj had to commit many hours of her time. After submitting multiple essays and her transcripts, Lamcaj had to pick her top two choices for internship, Los Alamos being her first.
Lamcaj said the entire application was 15 pages and took her a few days to complete. “Being selected for this internship is so meaningful to me because I have worked extremely hard in my academics and research,” Lamcaj said. “Also, considering that my family emigrated from Albania for me and my sister to prosper and follow our dreams in the land of opportunity makes it such an important achievement to have been selected for this internship.”
Lamcaj is an advocate for the environment and is most excited about researching replacing petroleum-derived fuels and products and reversing the harm humans have had on the environment.
Lamcaj says that at Seton Hall she has developed some wonderful friendships and opportunities to work with and be taught by some of the best professionals in the biochemistry field.
“My experiences at Seton Hall from conducting research for two years to taking rigorous courses like physical chemistry have inspired me to use my curiosity for science to pursue a career in research,” Lamcaj said.
Lamcaj reminds students in her major to do their best and says that mental health is more important than an “A”.
Stephen Kelty was the professor on the project involving amino acids and worked closely with Lamcaj. He said Lamcaj quickly grasped concepts and methods, becoming an integral part of the team. Kelty said that Lamcaj’s appointment to Los Alamos is a perfect fit for her and her research desires.
“Sara clearly has the enthusiasm and perseverance to tackle challenging problems,” Kelty said. “She is a most talented young scientist.”
Junior biochemistry major, Marta Suazo said that she was not surprised when Lamcaj was accepted to the internship.
Lamcaj had started applications over winter break, and when students returned to SHU she started telling Suazo about all the places where she had applied.
Suazo said with Lamcaj’s good academic standing and accomplishments it was no shock to her.
“This will be an amazing learning experience for her to apply in her future graduate research and career,” Suazo said. “This experience is absolutely invaluable.”
Veronica Gaspa can be reached at email@example.com.