This summer, Kathryn Bezbatchenko ’15 participated in a 10-week cancer research program at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y. Her research culminated with a presentation of her findings that earned her the program’s “Best Scientific Talk” award.
“It feels great to have accomplished this,” says Bezbatchenko, a biochemistry major, of her award. “Giving my talk at the end was actually a fun way to show my peers what I had been working on and I put in a lot of work this past summer so it was nice to see that it had all paid off.”
Chosen from a competitive pool of applicants from across the country, Bezbatchenko’s research was part of the Roswell Park Summer Research Experience in Cancer Science Program. The project she worked on was titled “PIM2 Kinase as a New Therapeutic Target for Treatment of Triple Negative Breast Cancer” which involved testing a new drug on triple negative breast cancer cells.
As a part of the program, all of the summer interns were required to give a 10-minute PowerPoint presentation of his or her research. Presenters were graded and quizzed by judges who chose two of the best talks to be given again the next day at the graduation ceremony. Bezbatchenko explains that she ended up winning the competition and receiving the “Best Scientific Talk” award.
Though her presentation was largely based on her laboratory research on the new drug, Bezbatchenko explains that there were several other components to the program. She calls the program “unique” because it went beyond strictly conducting scientific research.
In addition to weekly tasks assigned to her by her mentor, Dr. Mateusz Opyrchal, the program also allowed Bezbatchenko to gain invaluable insight into the realm of professional scientific research. Weekly networking meetings with interns and professionals in the region as well as various seminars on writing a scientific paper and the “ins and outs of graduate school” were also integrated into the program.
“The biggest thing that I got out of this program was that I was given insight into my future,” Bezbatchenko says. “This program has given me a new perspective as I’ve realized that as much as I love research, I missed the patient care side of medicine. I realized that I now want to work hands-on with patients.”
Already an experienced researcher, Bezbatchenko attributes her research last summer at HWS with Professor of Chemistry Walter Bowyer not only for giving her the skills needed to conduct research, but also for improving her presentation skills through required weekly presentations on her research.
“She is so talented and so enjoyable to work with that I wanted Kathryn to work with me again,” Bowyer says, “But, I encouraged her to go elsewhere to broaden her experience by spending time at a large institution.”
As a dance minor, Bezbatchenko is actively involved with the dance program on campus. She serves as president of the Koshare Dance Collective, participates in the Junior/Senior Dance concert and the Faculty Dance Concert, and is also an Orientation Leader.