While students around the state are spending their days sleeping in and relaxing, rising Milton Hershey School senior Lucas Sproule is participating in an internship at the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute and setting a course for his future. It’s a personal endeavor for the student who lost his grandmother to kidney cancer.
“I have learned a lot this summer,” said Lucas. “I have learned correct lab procedures and how to prevent contamination of substances that are sterile. They have also taught me how to correctly culture cells and how microscopy works. Most importantly, it feels good to know that this research could help improve survivability in cancer patients so no one would have to go through what my grandmother did.”
During his internship, Lucas is getting to work with cutting-edge cancer treatments and with doctors who are experts in medical science, like Dr. Raymond Hohl, director of the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute. The program has allowed him to study a new anti-cancer agent, testing its effectiveness on cancer cells. The compound, which is a synthetic version of a plant originating in Africa, inhibits cancer cell growth without targeting healthy cells.
“The interns from MHS have been functioning at the same level as our undergraduates,” said Nancy Lill, assistant professor of pharmacology at the Penn State College of Medicine. “Lucas has a fabulous work ethic and we are able to rely on his lab results.”
Lucas noted that working in the science labs at Milton Hershey School helped to prepare him for his work at the cancer institute.
Lucas says the internship has helped to solidify his career goals and he is thankful for the experience, which will put him ahead of the competition for coveted college lab openings. He is considering Brown University and Penn State University.
The Spartan Summer Internship is another way that Milton Hershey School students stay engaged and focused during the summer.