Jessica Espinosa, MHC’s “internship queen.”

All Mount Holyoke College students are guaranteed one paid internship. This biology major landed lab work each semester, and paid research jobs every summer.

Hometown: Danbury, Connecticut

Major: Biological sciences, with a minor in music

Claim to fame: She landed scientific research positions every academic year and paid science internships each summer. The Lynk experience guarantees each student one paid internship; Espinosa's skills and MHC connections got her four.

In the MHC lab: For four years, Espinosa has worked with biology professor Renae Brodie on the effects of climate change on fiddler crabs. They are documenting how the animals' size and body fat percentage vary by location, and how that may be affected by a northward shift in the animals' habitat as the earth's temperature increases. This year, Espinosa is using the research as the basis for her senior thesis.

As a senior, Espinosa is training three underclasswomen to take over her part of the research after she graduates. 

Her mentor's view: "Jess is highly respected for her intellect and competence and also happens to be 'social super glue.' She can focus for hours and has the steadiest, fastest hands that I have ever seen," says Renae Brodie, associate professor of biological sciences. "And when she says something, it is insightful, interesting, really funny, and often all three."

Off-campus opportunities:  She was chosen for two highly competitive programs sponsored by National Science Foundation-REU: studying the aerobic diving capacity of Weddell seals at the University of Alaska and investigating the stress response of sea anemones at Boston University.

Why she loves lab work: "I like setting my own schedule and trying new experiments rather than following a set thing. And Mount Holyoke is a good environment for students in the sciences."

Downtime fun: Naginata (Japanese martial arts), Mount Holyoke Symphony Orchestra, Outing Club

Future plans: A year off—perhaps with City Year or doing wildlife rehabilitation—then pursuing a PhD in biology for a possible college teaching career.