College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Chemistry Student Janai Walton Impresses as Intern

UM senior gained practical experience while gaining a passion for health care

AUGUST 28, 2015 BY NATHAN WEBER

Janai Walton speaking with alumnus John Lewis.

Janai Walton speaking with alumnus John Lewis.

Everybody is familiar with the satisfaction of a job well done. But for many college students, that doesn’t necessarily translate to having high spirits about their prospective careers.

Luckily for Janai Walton, her internship this summer provided both the satisfaction of good work and a career path she can be passionate about.

Walton, a 21-year-old chemistry major at the University of Mississippi, interned for the Semmes Murphey Foundation, which specializes in technology and procedures pertaining to neurological and spinal disorders.

“I’ve always wanted to be in the medical field,” said Walton, a senior from Memphis, Tennessee. “At first, I wanted to be a pediatrician, but a family member exposed me to pharmacy, which is now what I want to do.”

A family friend had notified Walton that the foundation would be offering internships for the first time this summer. She was chosen among a dozen summer interns to receive college credit while also gaining valuable experience in the medical field.

“It was a real good experience for me. This basically solidified this as my chosen profession,” Walton said. “Everything was straightforward and hands-on. I never got out of my comfort zone and everyone there made me feel very comfortable.”

Most of Walton’s work revolved around creating spreadsheets for various medications as well as shadowing the doctors and nurses. Surgical procedures are not for the faint of heart, but Walton was calm and collective throughout the summer.

“I was able to look in on surgeries and get real practical experience,” she said. “The opportunity to witness the whole surgical procedure was the biggest takeaway. For us even to be in the room, the patients had to sign off and OK it. It was definitely what I expected. It was crazy.”

Walton already knew that she wanted to a career in the medical field, but still would urge other students to take advantage of internship opportunities while still in school.

“Everyone should take the experience because areas can be so broad,” she said. “You never know until you are put in that situation.”

After such an eventful summer with her internship, Walton said she cannot wait to finish up her remaining courses and be able to apply what she learned.

“I really think this experience will give me more passion in my studies,” she said. “The journey in my studies has been hectic, but now I know it was all for a purpose. I know that journey was worth it.”

Following dreams and being satisfied with the outcomes are becoming less and less likely in this technological business climate, but not for Walton. Her dreams are on the cusp of coinciding with the ultimate satisfaction of finding the career she has wanted all along.