Q & A

Kaitryn Ronning '15

Kaitryn Ronning '15, double major in biology and music departments

Sophomore Kaitryn Ronning, a biology and music major from Davis, Calif., spent the summer getting a unique glimpse into her prospective field by working side by side with Susquehanna alumna Marie Burns, professor of ophthalmology and vision science at the University of California at Davis. Ronning served as a lab assistant in The Burns Lab at UC-Davis, named for the 1992 Susquehanna graduate.

Calling Ronning “a joy to have in the lab,” Burns says: “It is quite remarkable that someone finishing their first year at any institution would be able to so easily assimilate into a lab environment and work so well with a team of PhD’s. It will be great fun to watch Kaity’s career develop, and I hope she will come back over future term breaks to continue the work.”

SC: How did you land your internship?

KR: Marie reached out as an alumna in my hometown before I had even decided which college I was going to attend. It was great to hear from someone on the West Coast who had a lot of success after Susquehanna. We continued sending some emails, and with a letter of recommendation from my adviser, this internship really fell into place.

SC: What did your work entail?

KR: I investigated the localization of proteins in different regions of photoreceptor cells of the retina. I have never studied photoreceptors, or even the retina in general, so most of what I worked on was new to me. I think I was most surprised at how beautiful and almost art-like much of the work is.

SC: What sort of bond developed between you and Burns during the internship?

KR: While I did some independent work, Marie and I often met to touch base, start projects together, and take images of slides. Besides discussing projects, we’d find ourselves chatting about Susquehanna quite a bit.

SC: How did Susquehanna help prepare you for the internship?

JH: Even after only one year at Susquehanna, I feel much more prepared for not only this position, but for any others to come. Having such a solid foundation in both biology and chemistry proved invaluable in helping me understand the new material I was presented with. Outside of my specific science courses, Susquehanna has helped me look at information from multiple vantage points and to “think outside the box,” which really allowed me to learn about the retina more quickly and thoroughly.

Kaitryn Ronning ’15, a biology and music major from Davis, Calif., spent the summer working with Marie Burns ’92, professor of ophthalmology and vision science at the University of California, Davis.

Contributing writers to The ’Grove section are Karen Jones, assistant director of media relations; Megan McDermott ’14, a creative writing and religion major from Lewisberry, Pa.; Dalton Swett ‘13, a creative writing major from Effingham, N.H.; and Elise Tomaszewski, a creative writing and German major from Selinsgrove, Pa.



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