Luther senior James Conway interns at the Center for Sleep Medicine at Mayo Clinic

October 25, 2018

Examining sleep study records and sleep behavior disorders, Luther College senior James Conway spent the summer working at the Center for Sleep Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Conway, son of Pat and Deb Conway of Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, is a 2015 graduate of Mount Horeb High School. He plans to graduate from Luther in 2019 with a major in neuroscience.

Working alongside Erik St. Louis, M.D. and fellow Luther students Jack Jagielski and Emma Veum, Conway spent the majority of his time analyzing polysomnograms, sleep study records, and working with a team to quantify cases of Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Without Atonia, a feature of sleep behavior disorders. He also began his own project by studying the methods used to score and working with the lab to create a common source troubleshooting manual to increase inter-rater reliability, or the degree of consensus among judges, for future projects. Shadowing doctors across the medical field, Conway appreciated the time he spent with an aerospace psychiatrist and the opportunity to observe a full day of brain surgery.

Spending a summer at Mayo Clinic, Conway is grateful for the opportunity to “take a step away from the world of academic science and see how those who practice medicine every day use the knowledge I am learning here at Luther to help patients and advance our understanding of medicine,” he reflected. Immersing himself in his environment, Conway especially enjoyed “waking up each morning, biking into work and doing my best to live the Mayo Clinic life. I definitely learned to be more confident in asking questions and embraced the stance of not knowing,” Conway said.

Being introduced to many avenues in the medical field, Conway spent time with people “who were so happy they chose the career they did and they encouraged me to figure out what area of medicine would bring me the same joy they get to experience every day,” he said. Even though Conway has not decided on a definite plan for after graduation from Luther, he said that he has “made so many valuable connections this summer and [he] has so many people to thank for it being as great of an experience as it was.”

Approximately 10 percent of Luther students take an internship for academic credit each academic year. The Luther College Career Center assists students with their internship search through resume preparation, networking, online internship searches, career fairs, on-campus interviewing and connecting the student to alumni through the college’s Alumni Internship Program. Students also meet with a faculty adviser prior to the internship to create an internship learning plan that includes learning goals and assessment benchmarks.

An internship work supervisor assists in the process by writing an evaluation of the student at the end of the internship. Students also complete a self-reflection form to help finalize the learning experience.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,005, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college’s website: