Danbee (Sarah) Chae.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College student Danbee (Sarah) Chae has completed a six-week summer internship program in clinical oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Montvale facility. Sponsored by the cancer treatment and research center’s Clinical Oncology Open Learning (COOL) Scholars Program, the initiative encourages undergraduates to consider careers as oncology physicians. Bergen represents the first community college to participate in the COOL program, making Chae, of Old Tappan, the inaugural community college student participant.

“I am beyond thrilled to have been part of an eye-opening experience with Memorial Sloan Kettering,” Chae said. “It was a valuable opportunity, as it served as an important stepping stone toward my career goal.”

Bergen career counselor Margaret McLaughlin helped arrange the opportunity.

“When I received the call from Memorial Sloan Kettering inviting Bergen to participate, I was delighted for the College,” she said. “The COOL Scholars Program has existed for 15 years and this was the first time it was offered to any community college. We had 20 excellent applicants and Danbee was selected by the team at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Danbee was a wonderful candidate. She is friendly, very smart, dedicated and confident and the program has brought her one-step closer to her goal of becoming a physician.”

The COOL program educates students about the different types and presentations of cancer and teaches basic principles of cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment. Students participate in clinical observation, multidisciplinary conferences and one-on-one teaching with Memorial Sloan Kettering physicians. Students shadow physicians, providing them with hands-on exposure to the clinical management of cancer, including surgical, medical and radiation oncology consultations.

Chae, a natural science and math major with an expected May 2020 graduation, aspires to become a physician and wants to make significant changes in the medical field, citing her family friend’s struggle with cancer. She has participated in medical mission trips to India, Vietnam, and Cambodia and provided volunteer support to local medical centers, such as Englewood Health and the Bergen Volunteer Medical Initiative. An honors student, Chae participates in Bergen’s Phi Theta Kappa honor society and the STEM Scholars Program.

COOL program participants attended a closing luncheon at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 14,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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