Building a pipeline through hands-on experiences

Ariadna Covarrubias Ornelas, a rising junior at Portland State University, is helping OHSU researchers understand the roles of peptide systems in alcohol dependence. As part of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion’s (CDI) Equity Research Program, she is one of the 15 students selected from a competitive national pool of over 200 applicants.

Since June, Ariadna has spent her days working as a research assistant in Dr. Andrey Ryabinin’s lab in the Department of Behavioral Neuroscience. While she has had exposure to scientific and research methods through college-level biology and chemistry classes, Ariadna appreciates the hands-on and experiential learning afforded in the lab. And Ariadna’s research mentors appreciate her eagerness to learn; thus far, she’s collected over six week’s worth of data – more than most interns collect in a summer, says Juan Gomez, Ph.D., who is working closely with Ariadna on her research project.

(from left to right) Juan Gomez, Ariadna Ornelas & Dr. Andrey Ryabinin

CDI hosts research interns every summer to work alongside faculty and clinical mentors across different tracks: Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing and Research. CDI also hosts interns though the Ted R. Lilley Cancer Continuing Umbrella of Research Education (CURE) Program, a paid research internship that is co-sponsored by the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.

Each intern is paired with faculty and clinical mentors for academic advising and shadowing opportunities. In addition to hands-on laboratory work, interns attend weekly seminars, lectures and other enrichment opportunities.

CDI starts recruitment for the 2014 cohort of interns later this year. Click here to read more about this year’s cohort of Equity research interns and CURE interns.


Maileen Hamto is Communications Manager for the Center for Diversity & Inclusion, which leads and supports university-wide initiatives to create a culture of respect and inclusion for all people. CDI offers a wide range of services and resources: student pipeline programs, cultural competency lectures, help with recruiting and retaining diverse talent, support for diverse employee resource groups, and more. Get connected at