Allison Snider, a Central Michigan University senior, is getting an indispensable experience this summer as she embarks on an internship at one of America’s premier historical museums and research institutions.
Snider, a natural resources and biology major, has landed a 10-week paid internship at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. More than three weeks into her internship, Snider said she is slowly acclimating to the culture shock and the stark reality the “incredible opportunity” presents.
“I’ve never been to D.C. until I got out here for this,” Snider said. “I’m getting used to the constant sirens and little pigeons that you can walk up to and practically pet. This all hasn’t really set in.”
During her time not dedicated to adjusting to the nation’s capitol, Snider collects and then studies various DNA samples from assorted marine life animals as a part of her internship.
“This is exactly what I want to do,” Snider said. “I’m learning so much and getting a chance to do some pretty interesting work. I’m really trying to appreciate each moment. I’ve always loved all the little critters running around, so this is right up my ally.”
With exposure to science majors from across the country, Snider has been provided with a valuable perspective she said she wouldn’t have had otherwise.
“Everyone has a different story to tell,” she said. “We have such a diverse group. I’m the only one from Michigan. The other day I saw someone wearing a (Detroit) Tigers shirt. I’m getting ready to yell ‘Fire up, Chips’ at someone.”
The native of Novi said her “biggest help and advocate” is Dr. Andrew Mahon, an assistant professor in CMU’s Biology department and the Institute for Great Lakes Research.
“Allison is a rock star,” Mahon said. “She had a goal and she is living it right now. This (internship) will springboard her to great things. She has always done great (research) work.”
Snider’s pure appetite for scientific knowledge is what sets her apart from other students, Mahon said.
“Her passion (for science) is awesome,” he said. “She’s an amazing student. Her hard work is the reason she is where she is this summer.”
Snider’s sister and fellow CMU student, sophomore Jessie, traveled with the girls’ mother, Sue, to Washington D.C. to help her move.
“It was honestly a little scary for all of us,” Jessie said. “She had never been that far away from all of us, but I think we all know how good this is going to be for her. This is going to help her continue to do great things.”
Allison’s involvement with CMU’s biology program is something Jessie hears about “all of the time.”
“I know she has so much respect for Dr. Mahon and the department,” she said. “I love bragging about her internship to people. I’m just so proud of her.”