Internships can lead to jobs, offers for master’s ...

Internships can lead to jobs, offers for master’s students

With commencement just two days away, Ken Gendrich had a moment to reflect on a busy year before making his MTSU master’s internship presentation.

Drs. Becky Seipelt, left, Bruce Cahoon and Lisa Bloomer Green, Master of Science in Professional Science program coordinators at MTSU, and graduate student Cliff Bowman, front right, listen to one of 15 participants discuss their internship experience. (photos by News and Media Relations)

Gendrich, 49, a Murfreesboro resident, made his Aug. 9 presentation on his healthcare informatics internship with Woodbury, Tenn.-based Sim Interactive Inc. His work with Sim included building a software product for an iPad.

Six weeks ago, the married father of three landed a full-time job with HCA Healthcare in Nashville. This spring, he and other engineering-technology students were in a solar-boat initiative that participated in a national competition in Iowa.

Gendrich also has been an important member of Dr. Charles Perry’s plug-in hybrid retrofit kit project, which is generating international interest because of its gas-saving capability.

“This has been a great experience,” Gendrich said of the Master of Science in Professional Science program, which earned a Tennessee Board of Regents’ award of excellence in 2011 and led the state to consider similar programs across Tennessee.

“As a whole, it’s a great way to get introduced to healthcare informatics and the business acumen as well,” Gendrich added. “It prepares you for entry-level as well as management opportunities.”

The program is a combination of business and science and prepares students to work in leadership roles in scientific businesses and agencies. It was established in 2004 and includes four concentrations: biostatistics, biotechnology, healthcare informatics and actuarial science. Two new concentrations — geosciences and engineering management — start this fall.

Gendrich was one of 15 students making presentations from their 250-hour required internship with an industry partner. Nearly half of this year’s presenters either have landed jobs or are considering job offers.

Dr. Vince Smith, a professor of business communication and entrepreneurship in MTSU’s College of Business, speaks with students, faculty, staff and guests attending the Aug. 9 Master of Science in Professional Science internship presentations.

“My internship was amazing,” said Cherise O’Connell of Dickson, Tenn., adding that her work in health care informatics in Nashville has led her to several job opportunities. Doing all her coursework online also has been beneficial, and the program “is a fabulous way to network.”

Dr. Saeed Foroudastan, associate dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences and director of the MSPS program, told the group how special they are.

“You are the shining stars of the graduate program,” he said.

Foroudastan also introduced Dr. Bud Fisher, the new College of Basic and Applied Sciences dean, to the group.

Drs. Lisa Bloomer Green, biostatistics; Don Hong, actuarial sciences; Rebecca Seipelt, biotechnology; Vincent Smith, business core coordinator; and Karen Ward, health care informatics, serve as coordinators in their respective disciplines.

Other faculty from the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, College of Business and College of Behavioral and Health Science serve as mentors, too.

Representatives from several industry partners also attended the presentations.

In addition to Gendrich and O’Connell, the presenters, their disciplines and the industry partners included:

• Scott E. Gillespie, biostatistics, Emory University in Atlanta;

• Bryan H. Hendrix, biostatistics, Vanderbilt University in Nashville;

• Weon H. Kim, biostatistics, Murfreesboro City Schools;

• Abdulrahman Alturaifi, biotechnology, Genomo Exploration Inc., in Memphis;

• Sneha Chatterjee, biotechnology, Aegis Sciences Corp., in Nashville;

• Erica L. Wagner, biotechnology, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Ala.;

• Joshua McCoy, health care informatics, Community Health System in Franklin, Tenn.;

• Eugenia L. Moore, health care informatics, Health Spring in Franklin;

• Brent Ostantowski, actuarial science, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee in Chattanooga;

• Ying Peng, actuarial science, China Life Insurance Co. Ltd., in Changsha, China;

• Janet Tracy, health care informatics, Health Trust Purchasing Group, in Brentwood, Tenn.;

• Harold Tuthill, actuarial science, Department of Commerce and Insurance for the State of Tennessee in Nashville; and

• Bruce Williams, actuarial science, state Department of Commerce and Insurance, Nashville.

For more information about the Master of Science in Professional Science program at MTSU, visit

— Randy Weiler (