Growing up in California, Flagler psychology major Daphne Pariser probably never imagined that one day she’d be working in a lab on a Japanese island, conducting molecular biology research for immunology. But that’s exactly what the Flagler College senior was up to last summer, when she completed an internship with the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST).
She didn’t have to search too far to find the internship. In fact, the opportunity found its way to her after OIST researchers saw her give a presentation at a neuroscience conference and were impressed with the depth of her work. They invited her to apply to the program, and within a matter of months she was headed for Japan. Professor Terri Seron, department head of Flagler’s new Environmental Sciences department, said she’s not surprised that Daphne is finding herself pursued for her work. “She has to keep outdoing herself,” Dr. Seron said. “She’s made such strides every year.” Daphne worked closely with Dr. Seron in molecular biology research at Flagler, in a discipline that was new to the College when she started, and “which will hopefully carry on after I leave,” Daphne said.
Even with a busy schedule of internships, conferences, and research, Daphne will graduate Flagler in only three and a half years. Next up? She’s looking at Ph.D. programs (Mt. Sinai, NYU, and Sweden’s Karolinska are on the list) and exploring the job market. “I’ve got a few options I’m looking at,” she said. “I’m just waiting to see what happens.”
Wherever the future takes her, Daphne will remain indebted to the undergraduate experience she has had here at Flagler College. “Flagler has provided me with an opportunity to be in a lab, working independently quite a bit. I’ve learned how to be on my own—how to manage a lab, how to manage time, how to design research,” she said. “I’ve had close contact with my professors when I wanted it, but also I learned how to figure out problems by myself. I think that’s been an invaluable skill to learn. Flagler really provided me with a great foundation for what I will do in the future.”