Our 2015 Summer Undergraduate Research Program Kicks Off

SURP 2015 summer student class

Our 2015 summer student class with SURP Faculty Director Michael Overholtzer (front row, center) and GSK Associate Dean Linda Burnley (back row, left).

Today the 2015 Gerstner Sloan Kettering Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) welcomes 20 students hailing from 18 different institutions across the nation as well as outside of the United States. Each SURP participant is assigned a GSK faculty mentor and will intern in Sloan Kettering Institute labs throughout the ten-week program, which comes to an end on August 7. Michael Overholtzer, GSK associate professor, is the SURP faculty director.

The 2015 SURP class includes men and women interested in pursuing careers in biomedical sciences. Participants range in academic year from freshman to junior and are studying a variety of undergraduate majors, including neurobiology, biochemistry, bioengineering, and chemistry.

The areas of interest that each student submitted determine which lab he or she will join for the summer. These subjects cover a variety of research topics, including developmental biology, chemical biology, and immunology. In addition to their mentor, SURP students also learn from postdoctoral fellows and graduate students in the labs.

Current GSK graduate students have volunteered for the role of “Big Sibs” to assist the SURP undergraduates with the transition to New York City. Their role is to be available to mentor and advise throughout the summer experience. Ideally, the bonds formed between the GSK graduate students and their undergraduate trainees will continue long after the program ends. Many SURP alumni have returned as applicants and even students at GSK, and we hope to see that continue.

In addition to a productive lab rotation, the summer program includes weekly scientific seminars, journal clubs run by GSK students, and individual works-in-progress meetings in the format of chalk talks. The program culminates in a community-wide poster session in August during which four outstanding students will be named the 2015 Rubin and Sarah Shaps Scholars. The program also includes workshops to help the students sharpen their presentation and interview skills, as well as social events such as a visit to the Bronx Zoo and an evening harbor cruise.

The institutions of the 2015 SURP class include Barnard College, Clarkson University, Cornell University, Emory University, Harvard University, Ithaca College, Johns Hopkins University, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Mills College, National University of Singapore, New York University, North Carolina State University, Swarthmore College, Syracuse University, University of Georgia, University of Iowa, University of Notre Dame, and Yale University.