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Student spends summer researching in Spain

Victoria von Saucken ’16 conducts research in Spain.

This summer Smith student Victoria von Saucken ’16 had the opportunity to conduct stem cell research at the University of Córdoba in Córdoba, Spain for two months under the tutelage of Dr. Teresa Roldán-Arjona, Vice Dean of Sciences at the University of Córdoba. Smith already had collaboration with the university; the Program of Hispanic Studies in Córdoba (PRESHCO) is a study abroad program for Smith students that was founded in 1981.

In addition to 40 hours of research work in a laboratory at the University of Córdoba and the Hospital Reina Sofía, Victoria also immersed herself in the Spanish culture by living with a host family, participating in local traditions, and traveling to museums, concerts, and historic sites. Beforehand, Victoria had taken Spanish classes at Smith and had participated in other research internships, but unlike those experiences, her opportunity in Córdoba required her to act independently. In addition to her Spanish language skills, the lab skills Victoria gained—like pyrosequencing, nuclear transfection, quantitative methylation-specific PCR, and DNA/RNA quantification techniques—are highly valuable to her learning as a future scientist.

Research projects like Victoria’s—which she has titled The Epigenetic Reprogramming of Differentiated Cells—are one of the many ways Smith students are broadening their horizons abroad.

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