UWF in the Community

Kugelman Honors Program, Andrews Institute Research and Education Foundation partner to create internship opportunities for UWF’s best and brightest

The Kugelman Honors Program and Andrews Institute Research and Education Foundation are collaborating to offer the University of West Florida’s brightest students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity through a flagship internship program.

Nathan Thrower, senior professional accountancy and finance double major, accepted an offer for an accountant position at Andrews Research and Education Foundation upon completion of his Fall 2020 internship.

Each semester, between four and seven UWF students in the Kugelman Honors Program are selected for internships in biomedical research, marketing or accounting. Dr. Gregory Tomso, director of the Kugelman Honors Program, partnered with Ashton Hayward, president of the Andrews Research and Education Foundation and Dr. Peter Cavnar, chair of the UWF biology department, to launch the program in Fall 2019. Tomso said UWF alumna Hong Potomski, former executive director for the Andrews Research and Education Foundation, was also instrumental in getting the program off to a successful start.

“The unique biomedical research opportunities available at Andrews Research and Education Foundation make these internship opportunities unlike any other,” Tomso said. “The Andrews’ team is known internationally for their cutting-edge care in the areas of orthopedics and sports medicine, and they are pushing the envelope on applied research to improve outcomes for patients. These flagship experiences have been truly transformative for our students.”
Biomedical research internship positions are open to Honors students in any health-related major. For one semester, the student interns spend 10 hours a week working on a clinical research team engaged with Andrews’ patients, assisting with procedures or patient visits, gathering patient adverse events and concomitant medications, managing data and records, and other relevant tasks.

Junior or senior accounting majors with at least six hours of upper-division accounting coursework are eligible for accounting internship positions. They work in the accounting department at Andrews Research and Education Foundation, gaining hands-on experience in real-world accounting tasks and projects.

Students in communications, marketing or graphic design programs can apply for the marketing internship position, where they assist the foundation with social media management, as well as other marketing or graphic design projects.

Hayward said he saw an opportunity to tap into talent from UWF.

“When I served as Mayor of Pensacola, one of our top priorities was to create a place that attracts and retains young talent,” Hayward said. “Programs and partnerships like this one are exactly what our community needs to develop, support and retain our young people. On behalf of Dr. Andrews and all the members of AREF, we’re grateful for the opportunity to work with these students from the Kugelman Honors program.”

As a mentor, Hayward has experienced first-hand the rewards of engaging with and educating the next generation.

“I can’t say enough about the amazing staff of research professionals who mentor our students,” Tomso said. “Every semester, the vast majority of our students rate their Andrews’ experience as a ‘10 out of 10’ because of the incredible, caring and brilliant staff at the Andrews Research and Education Foundation. I know that our benefactor, Jane Kugelman, would be enormously proud and excited by this partnership.”

Jane McMahon Lauter, Kugelman’s granddaughter and president of the Kugelman Family Foundation, echoed Tomso’s sentiments about what her grandmother would think about the partnership between the Honors program and Andrews.

“She was very proud of the Honors Program and its students,” she said. “She loved to meet them, and she loved knowing their hopes and dreams. That’s the importance of creating opportunities like this internship partnership – we all have hopes, dreams, goals. To have a place where you have the ability to achieve that success, that maybe you wouldn’t have been allowed otherwise, is exactly what my grandmother loved.”

The program also aligns with the ethos of Dr. James Andrews.

“One of the cornerstones of Dr. Andrews’ career is his ongoing commitment to research and education,” Hayward said. “This partnership with UWF and the Kugelman Honors Program is a great example of that mission. The Andrews Research and Education Foundation is proud to host these outstanding students from UWF and we look forward to helping them continue their education and development.”

The organizers of the internship program celebrated an important milestone after the fall semester, when an intern was offered a full-time, permanent position for the first time. Nathan Thrower, senior professional accountancy and finance double major, accepted an offer for the accountant position at Andrews Research and Education Foundation upon completion of his Fall 2020 internship.

“When Dr. Tomso mentioned the opportunity to me, and how this accounting internship would be the first of its kind, I was immediately interested in participating,” Thrower said. “Since I was planning on graduating in the next year, I was eager to accept any opportunity I was offered with the intention of building connections, gaining experience and beginning to find a potential career for myself. The internship at Andrews helped to fulfill all of these objectives.”

Thrower said the biggest lesson he learned during his time interning for Andrews was the importance of building relationships.

“Being considered for this internship opportunity and being offered my new position at Andrews Research and Education Foundation are direct results of the connections I’ve made and my intentional goal of remaining in good standing with everyone I meet,” he said. “My biggest piece of advice to anyone looking for internship and job opportunities, especially in the business world, is to create connections with your professors and faculty because they have even more connections with people all throughout the community and nation. You will have even more opportunities to grow and advance in your career.”

Lauter said the internship program is a perfect example of what makes Pensacola shine as a community.

“We have this small town feel with the beautiful heart of a community, but the innovative businesses and organizations are taking it to the next level,” she said. “People come and they don’t leave, and the pairing of things is where the magic happens. You know you can come here, meet people and get involved with different organizations that lead you on to bigger and better. It comes full circle when we create opportunities for the next generation, who will go on to do even greater things than we can imagine now.”

To learn more about the Kugelman Honors Program, visit uwf.edu/honors.