Sixteen undergraduate students arrived on June 6, 2016, to begin their Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) under the auspices of the Gerstner Sloan Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. They were greeted by GSK Associate Dean Linda Burnley and SURP faculty director and GSK faculty member Michael Overholtzer, who congratulated the students on the strength of their applications. Dr. Overholtzer said how impressed the selection committee was with the students’ academic records and their potential to have a productive summer research experience at MSK. The program began with orientation, including lunch with their “Big Sibs,” who are assigned as graduate student mentors, and introductions to their GSK faculty mentors and lab projects.
This year’s SURP class includes eight men and eight women, all of whom are rising juniors or seniors from institutions across the US, including the College of William and Mary, Duke University, Howard University, Mount Holyoke College, Princeton University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rutgers University, SUNY College at Genesco, the University of Arizona, the University of Connecticut, the University of Oklahoma, Williams College, and Yale University. One student is from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
SURP students are matched to labs and mentors based on their research interests, which this summer include cancer, chemical, developmental and structural biology, and immunology. They benefit from working with their assigned mentor as well as other members of the lab. Along with a lab rotation, SURP provides students with weekly scientific seminars, a journal club led by GSK students, and individual works-in-progress chalk talks. Special workshops help students to hone their presentation and interview skills. An array of social activities, including a trip to the Bronx Zoo and an evening harbor cruise, offer relaxed opportunities to connect with the GSK and MSK communities.
The ten-week program culminates in a community-wide poster session and awards ceremony in August.