Two HCC students intern at Appalachian Fruit Research Station


(Release: September 14, 2011) - Hagerstown Community College students Douglas Soffe, of Mercersburg, Pa., and Samantha Yarrington, of Martinsburg, W.Va., recently finished 15-week internships at Appalachian Fruit Research Station (AFRS) in Kearneysville, W.Va.

Soffe and Yarrington are both biotechnology majors. During their internships, they worked directly with AFRS scientists to research biotic, environmental, and genetic problems and effects on fruit crops. Soffe studied drought resistance in Gala apples while Yarrington studied the genetic link between peaches and nectarines in the hopes of identifying disease-resistant genes, which could then be applied to other fruits through bioengineering.

“I think it’s wonderful that we were able to place Doug and Samantha at AFRS for their internships,” says Alicia Manfre, lead instructor and program coordinator for HCC’s Biotechnology Program. “They are bright, capable students and I was very excited that they were given the opportunity to participate in the exciting research that goes on at AFRS.  Both Doug and Samantha were able to gain valuable research skills and experience while working on their respective projects, and each of them provided essential data that will  further the research of their AFRS supervisors.”

Soffe, 36, will graduate in June 2012. After graduating in 2012, Soffe plans to find work in the area of molecular biology and research and hopes to perform lab work similar to that which he did on his internship.

Yarrington, 25, graduated in Aug. 2011. After completing her internship, Yarrington took a job with EcoLab, a company that specializes in the creation of sanitizers, cleaners, food safety, and infection prevention products, where she performs quality analysis, testing products that are in process, as well as the final product that is produced.

To find out more about HCC internships, go to learn more about HCC’s biotechnology program, go to