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Student Profile: Constance Staley
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Bennett College senior interns in Graves Lab at Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering

During the summer of 2018, Bennett College senior Constance Staley participated in a prestigious internship in the Graves Lab at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, an academic collaboration between North Carolina A&T State University and UNCG.

Bennett College is one of the black colleges supported by the Black College Fund which provides financial support to maintain solid, challenging academic programs; strong faculties; and well-equipped facilities.
“During the internship, we transferred cells daily as part of an experimental evolution protocol,” Staley said. “We worked a lot with cells and learned about different lab techniques. My favorite part was when I learned how to prepare genomic libraries for DNA sequencing.”

Staley, a senior chemistry major from Ramseur, North Carolina, aspires to be a cardiologist. She said being accepted for the internship was a blessing.

“The internship lasted the entire summer, and we worked Monday through Friday from 9 to 5,” she said. “There were other student interns from UNCG, UNC Asheville and also East Carolina University. I made some friends through the internship, and we still talk to each other today.”

“The amount of information I learned was invaluable,” she said. “It was really a good internship. Dr. Graves is absolutely wonderful. We worked in his lab, and we had meetings with him every Monday. He kept up with our progress and was very nice.”

Graves, interim dean of the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering and a professor of biological sciences at A&T, said Staley was a mainstay of the genomics research group during the summer.

“Constance participated in daily bacterial culture maintenance, physiological performance assays of metal and antibiotic resistance, as well as genomic library preparation for DNA sequencing,” Graves said. “She also attended the summer research congress of Biocomputational Evolution in Action (BEACON) at Michigan State University, where she had the opportunity to meet and interact with top researchers and students in evolutionary science from five research universities. She is continuing her work with my group this fall in conjunction with Dr. Edmondson.”

Staley was also be busy Fall 2018 in her role as vice president of Bennett’s Student Government Association. No stranger to campus leadership, she served as treasurer of the Minority Association of Pre-professional Students (M.A.P.S.) during her junior year, and as president of the Chemistry Club, a position she still holds. Staley is also president of the Zeta Xi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.®

“Constance Staley is the epitome of a Bennett Belle,” said President Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins. “She’s very conscientious about her studies and manages to earn good grades while being involved in several extra-curricular activities. I am so proud of her for landing the Nanoscience and Nanoengineering internship over the summer, and I have no doubt she will continue doing well and one day become a physician.”

Laurie D. Willis, Bennett College

One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Black College Fund provides financial support to maintain solid, challenging academic programs; strong faculties; and well-equipped facilities at 11 United Methodist-related historically black colleges and universities. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Black College Fund apportionment at 100 percent.

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