Regis Junior Brian Mhando ’22 was recently accepted into the prestigious Regeneron High School Mentorship Program. Working alongside scientists at Regeneron headquarters this summer, Brian will work both inside and outside the lab to develop the scientific knowledge and critical thinking skills needed to conduct cutting-edge research.
Hosting one of the most selective high school science summer programs in the country, Regeneron recognizes the need to encourage, inspire, and train the next generation of student scientists. Students from across the country are invited to Regeneron headquarters for a six-to-seven week intensive program, where they are matched with top scientists in their field to serve as their mentors for the duration of the program. With their mentor's guidance, each student work on a research question they have formulated and begin to think scientifically and conduct research in an industry setting. By the end of the summer, students prepare an internal presentation of their work, and will have the chance to publish their research to the public.
“I heard about the internship through an aunt of a freshman, who funnily enough I met during the Regis Entrance Exam Day two years ago,” said Mhando. “The application process was challenging, but manageable. Not only did I need a teacher recommendation, but I had to answer a few short essay questions that tested my interest in science. There were also two interviews: one with a scientist, and one self-interview.”
Several Regis faculty and staff assisted Mhando throughout the application and interview process, including Mr. Eric DiMichele, Mr. Xavier Simon ’05, Mr. Kurt Thiemann, and Dr. Stefano Cascapera, who provided Mhando with an array of scientific articles that helped him identify his scientific interests. “I didn't have the pleasure of teaching Brian in Chemistry when he was a sophomore, but his love for science and his wish to know more were the spark that started the adventure to Regeneron,” said Cascapera. “We are all so happy and so proud of Brian. Our students are our future, and we are looking forward to having the same feeling for many other Regians in the months and years to come.”
A leader in biotechnology that has invested in lifesaving medicines for people with serious diseases for over 30 years, Regeneron has earned particularly widespread praise recently for its COVID-19 research. In November, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted approval for the company's antibody cocktail, which has proven effective in the treatment of mild-to-moderate coronavirus cases in adults and children. Current trials are testing for use of the cocktail as a passive vaccine, which could provide immediate immunity to those at high risk of infection, in contrast to active vaccines that take weeks to provide protection.
“I hope that this internship will help me gauge my interests in science,” Mhando said. “Although I am not sure what I want to do yet in college, I know that I love science, and hopefully not only do I find a potential career through this program, but I get to learn more about the research process in one of the most elite research facilities in the country.”