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Finkielstein Lab International Exchange Opportunities

As the world economic base shifts increasingly towards technology, student participation and achievement in science is becoming increasingly important. Students need to understand that early involvement in science can open gates into all domains of academia and employment. In turn, professors must provide quality education to prepare their students to live and work in a world transformed by technological growth, international competitiveness, economic globalization, and increasing demographic shifts. This research initiative focuses on recruiting and training high school students and college undergraduates through research internships, which will provide them one-on-one, intensive experiences. These laboratory internships will permit students to develop an understanding of science concepts and skills and will produce deeper, more personal relationships with practicing scientists who can serve as role models and mentors.

Through this project, efforts will focus on recruiting K-12 students from rural and urban areas in southwest Virginia while fostering undergraduate education. A second, and equally ambitious, goal of this initiative is to help resolve the scientific needs and technological challenges of our society and those in developing countries, specifically in Latin America. Here, the program focuses on two areas: K-12 education and graduate level training. In general, Latin American students are encouraged to enroll in short technical programs oriented towards the labor market. This propensity is partially explained by budget cuts in the public sector that resulted in restructuring scientific policies and increasing pressure on students to acquire more practical knowledge that will directly affect their occupational prospects. This approach, although needed in the short-term, compromises the competitiveness of each country’s future scientific program and leaves students and junior researchers unprepared to meet the needs of an evolving society and the demands of emerging technologies. The proposed research initiative aims to fulfill this gap by teaching and training high school and graduate students from both Virginia and Latin America in advanced technologies in molecular biology while fostering social interaction and promoting collaborations with international institutions.

High School International Internship Exchange Program Virginia-US / Argentina (Otto Krause Students Majoring in Chemistry)

Each year Dr. Finkielstein’s laboratory, Virginia Tech, U.S.A. and the Department of Chemistry, E.N.E.T N°1 “Otto Krause” (, Buenos Aires, Argentina solicit applications from senior chemistry majors who are interested in pursuing a career in the area of cellular and molecular biology. The Escuela Tecnica “Otto Krause” is one of the elite public high schools in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Upon completion of its six-year program, students are granted a degree in Chemical Science Technology. Most of these students continue their education in the areas of engineering, natural sciences, and biotechnology and are among the most competitive applicants in all major universities and best professionals in the country. As part of our international program, two high school students from "Otto Krause" (see list of awardees below) visited our laboratory and participated in the SIP Initiative. Both students learned basic molecular biology techniques (cloning, expression, and purification techniques for recombinant proteins as well as the basics of protein-protein interaction assays), biochemical assays (fluorescence anisotropy) and cell biology (microscopy and microinjection) approaches to investigate signaling pathways. Emilio and Matias combined their work at the lab with a number of socio-cultural activities on campus and surrounded areas. Both students had returned and enrolled in college at the School of Natural Sciences - University of Buenos Aires. Matias chose Biochemistry as a major.

  • Applicants must be full-time students at the E.N.E.T. N°1 “Otto Krause” at the time the application is submitted.
  • Students must be 18 or older at the time of travel.
  • The host laboratory, on a space available basis, determines placement acceptance.
  • Students are expected to write/read/speak fluent English.
How to Apply

Candidate students interested in applying should download and complete the application form (PDF) and provide Prof. S. Palomino with contact information no later than mid-September. Credential review takes place mid-November and selected students (typically two) are notified early December.

2013 Tenico Quimico Paula Borovik
2020 Tecnico Quimico Santiago Franco, Otto Krause, Argentina
2017 Student Serena Nataliccio, Colegio Nacional Buenos Aires, Argentina 
2017 Student Zoe Levy, Ben-Gurion University, Israel
2016 Ignacio Aiello, Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Argentina
2015 Maria Mercau, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina
2013 Tenico Quimico Paula Borovik (
2012 Student Nicolas Gort ( )
2012 Tenico Quimico Leandro Luis Missoni (
2012 Tenico Quimico Maximiliano Nelson Inafuku ( )
2011 Tecnico Quimico David Enriquez (
2009 - 2010 Tecnico Quimico Matias Lanus Elizalde (
2009 - 2010 Tecnico Quimico Emilio Santillan (
2008 Tecnico Quimico Victoria Tripoli (
2007 Tecnico Quimico Roxana Steinman (
2006 Tecnico Quimico Hugo Amedei (
2006 Tecnico Quimico Javier Huertas Bustos (