Great grizzly grads: Lily Garrett selected for competitive internship, prepared by Butler biology department | Butler Community College

Great grizzly grads: Lily Garrett selected for competitive internship, prepared by Butler biology department

Image of Butler Community College 2023 graduate, Lily Garrett.
Lily Garrett (Courtesy photo)
Published: Friday, September 15th, 2023

Butler 2023 grad Lily Garrett completed a paid internship on a biology research team at Waynesburg University in Pennsylvania. Garrett credits Butler's Biology department for part of her success.

Over the summer, Butler 2023 graduate Lily Garrett (Goddard Eisenhower HS ‘21) completed a paid research internship on a biology project at Waynesburg University in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. The only sophomore on the eight-member team, her contributions focused on protein mutations and studies as they relate to cancer and cancer treatment.  

“I was one of the first people from a community college; I was the only student not attending Waynesburg,” Garrett said. She applied on a whim over winter break, assuming she would not even receive an interview. She did get the interview and within weeks was a paid intern on the project.  

Garrett learned to mutate certain DNA carried by E. coli to analyze them for specific biochemical reactions, sometimes working 12-hour shifts to abide by “bacteria’s time.” “I was actually one of the first people on the project to create a successfully mutated sample,” Garrett said.  

Garrett credits Butler’s Biology department for preparing her for this project, specifically professors Lindsey Fields and Robert Carlson. “All the science classes I have taken here, especially Organic Chemistry with Robert Carlson, were extremely helpful [during the internship], because a lot of this [required you to] understand a lot of organic chemistry,” Garrett said. 

“[What] stands out about her is her determination and inquisitive nature for science and biology,” Fields said. “The more she learns, the harder she pushes herself to accomplish her goals.” 

Garrett worked as a Biology Lab Assistant and is thankful for that experience. She believes her student worker position helped prepare her for the work she did on the project, including lab skills. 

“I trained her on lab techniques and was able to depend on her to get lab preparations done for any biology class,” Fields said. “She made things easier for me because of her work ethic and reliability.” 

Garrett is now pursuing a biology degree at Wichita State University (WSU) with thoughts of switching her major to biochemistry, aligning more with her work at Waynesburg University. She will return to Butler to take Biochemistry with Professor Carlson while at WSU.  

She intends to use this experience as the focus of a scientific research paper over her work on the project in hopes of being accepted into a PhD program, preferably at Waynesburg University. “I worked with three people who all have PhDs and they can write me letters of recommendation. They know me personally, so I can talk to them about getting into Waynesburg [for graduate school],” Garrett said. 

As an aspiring scientist, she hopes to return to the project next summer and learn more scientific theories and practice.    

By Caleb Sanderson