Access to interdisciplinary colleagues and supportive mentors key to internship success for AIGHD students

In a time where most people are busy preparing their vacations, AIGHD’s 2019 interns were busy finalizing their master’s theses. Since March, 18 interns have been working under the supervision of AIGHD academic staff members to write and deliver their final thesis presentations. On Friday, June 28, their hard work came to fruition. Shannen van Duijn, Tilan Banning and Dael Gunterman presented their work to AIGHD researchers and their supervisors.

“Concluding my master’s thesis took a lot of work and the guidance by Prof. Frank Cobelens gave me a real idea as to what I want to do with my thesis and it gave me insight into my career options,” said Dael Gunterman.

Tilan Banning and Dael Gunterman, both interns at AIGHD, focused their work on Tuberculosis (TB). Tilan wrote the thesis about the increased incidence of Tuberculosis (TB) in women who have just given birth, which concluded that pregnant women are more likely to show no signs of TB due to the immunological changes that ensure that the fetus is not rejected. Dael’s thesis looked at the TB vaccine BCG and its effectiveness. Their peer, Shannen van Duijn, interned with PharmAccess, a Dutch NGO also founded by the late Prof. Joep Lange, and focused her work on anti-malarial medications and innovative types of diagnostic testing.

Despite researching very different topics, the three students had similar thoughts when it came to their internship at the two organizations.

“The best thing about AIGHD is the interdisciplinary setting. There are anthropologists, medical doctors and economists working alongside each other, and we had access to these resources, which were important components to think about when it came to our work and potential future research,” described another student.

“This internship taught me a very valuable lesson that will help with my career: how to conduct research, said Tilan Banning. It also gave me good academic training, thanks to my great supervisor who guided me throughout this journey.”

Learn about AIGHD’s Master’s and PhD education.