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Honoring our Interns

Today is National Intern Day. It’s a chance to spotlight our interns and fellows and celebrate their tremendous contributions to Research!America. Interns are an essential part of our team, helping us stay fresh, stay challenged, stay innovative. We are continually impressed and inspired by their passion, intelligence, and curiosity.

Over the years, Research!America has welcomed more than 130 science policy and science communication interns. It’s impossible to measure the value they’ve added to our work, or all the outcomes improved and accelerated through their involvement. 

We also extend our tremendous thanks to the Burroughs Wellcome Fund for its long-standing support of the Research!America Internship Program.

Read on to get to know our current interns:

Science policy intern Ashni Dhruva is a professional science master’s candidate in Rice University’s bioscience and health policy department. She received her bachelor’s degree in biobehavioral health with a minor in psychology from The Pennsylvania State University. During her time at Penn State, she was on the women’s golf team and was a four-time All-Academic Big Ten honoree. She plans to get her doctorate in public health to make an impact in disadvantaged populations in low-income communities. In Ashni’s free time, she teaches golf, travels, and works with a non-profit organization based in Southeast Asia.


Science communications intern Samantha Theresa Mensah is a doctoral candidate in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at UCLA. She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with a minor in nanoscience and technology at the University of Central Florida. She carried out her undergraduate research for the improvement of electrochemical clinical assays under Professor Karin Chumbimuni-Torres. She is currently co-advised by Professors Anne M. Andrews and Paul S. Weiss for work on aptamer-based field-effect transistors, with the goal of neurotransmitter detection in vivo. Samantha aims to pursue a career in entrepreneurship and science policy. She loves playing video games, surfing, and cosplaying in her free time.



Science policy intern Catherine Murphy received her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Virginia Tech with minors in medicine & society and chemistry. While in school, she studied salamanders and turtles in a wildlife research laboratory. She was also a member of the Virginia Tech rowing team and the Environmental Coalition. She plans to complete a master’s degree in public health, and looks forward to a career in improving health care equity and access. In her free time, she enjoys running (especially ultramarathons), hiking (especially in the Rockies), and volunteering (especially with animals).




Former science communication intern turned science policy fellow Jessica Scott received her doctorate from Baylor College of Medicine, where she investigated the role of the nuclear receptor constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma. While at Baylor, Jessica led science outreach efforts and served on several student committees. She plans to continue her career in science policy. In her free time, Jessica enjoys running, learning and teaching Tae Kwon Do, and working with dogs at the local shelter.