The son of healthcare professionals, Jacob Kokoshka always envisioned himself following in his parents’ footsteps. As a competitive rock climber, he also saw many athletes struggle with injuries that inhibited their full potential.
“I wanted to become an orthopedic surgeon to mend damaged tissue and restore patients’ ability to engage in physical activities as they used to before injury,” says Kokoshka. He opted to attend County College of Morris (CCM) because of its “broad choice of classes, phenomenal reputation and inexpensive tuition.” Having built a solid academic record at CCM, he has been accepted at Columbia University to next earn his bachelor's degree.
As a CCM science student Kokoshka received a notification regarding an internship at Novartis. His organic chemistry professor, Dr. John Berger, referred him to Professor Anthony Di Stasio who has led the charge at CCM to develop internships for science students. On Di Stasio’s recommendation, Kokoshka visited the Office of Career Services and Cooperative Education to prepare for the application and interview process.
“The staff at Career Services was exceptionally helpful,” he notes. “I highly recommend all CCM students have their resumes reviewed, regardless of their current employment status.” Kokoshka was not selected for the position at Novartis. Two weeks later, however, Di Stasio informed him of another internship, this time with Lightening Energy Services. Kokoshka applied and was selected for the internship. “I owe my gratitude to Dr. Berger, Professor Di Stasio and the staff at the Career Service Center,” he says.
He explains that his experience with Novartis made him realize that he needed to be better prepared to answer technical questions and perform hands-on tasks as part of the interview process. “Being adequately prepared for the interview at Lightening, I was able to nimbly answer questions,” explains Kokoshka. “My lab experience from CCM also prepared me well for the practical portion of the interview.”
During his internship with Lightening Energy, he worked in a lab using tools he was familiar with through his classes at CCM. He also was introduced to new technology and acquired a vast skillset, including the ability to construct battery cells and run impedance spectroscopy. He also got to talk with visiting scientists and business leaders. “I’m thankful for the opportunity and proud my research on renewable energy at Lightening will ultimately make the world a better place,” he says. “Ultimately, I want to attend medical school where I can achieve my dream of becoming an orthopedic surgeon,” he says.
Kokoshka’s goal after CCM was to pursue a bachelor’s degree in biology at a top-tier university. “I have been accepted into Columbia University, my most coveted school and will be transferring in Spring 2017.”