Research Opportunities

Research Opportunities

Pictured left:  Destini Smith (Class of 2020) presents during the 2017 Medical Student Research Day .  Pictured right: Jordan Nickols (Class of 2018) is participating in the M.D. with Research Honors Program.

The Summer Research Program at USA provides research experiences for medical students prior to the freshman year of medical school and during the summer between the freshman and sophomore years. In 2017, forty-nine medical students participated in the program, which provided stipends to participants and culminated with a Medical Student Research Day.

The program also serves as a foundation for medical students who are interested in gaining additional research experience during the subsequent years of medical school. These students are eligible to participate in the M.D. with Research Honors Program.  Participants in the program have cited numerous benefits gained through their involvement.

Jordan Nickols (Class of 2018) got involved with the Summer Research Program to gain experience in the laboratory and expand his own skillset.  He says, “…the experience, as with all research, had its ups and downs.” The ups included working with an excellent mentor - Dr. Sarah Sayner, winning the Clyde G. Huggins Research Award for his oral presentation, and achieving his first publication. The downs included occasional equipment malfunctions and becoming accustomed to the trial and error nature of research. Jordan continues, “The M.D. with Research Honors Program presented me with a challenge and an opportunity to further my research - I did not hesitate to accept it.”

Carmen Lopez (Class of 2017), had no intentions of pursuing a long term research project when she first entered medical school, but a summer research project changed all that.  After finding a project she truly enjoyed and deciding she wanted to "see it through", she discovered the M.D. with Research Honors.  She believes the program supplements the overall medical student experience, and will contribute greatly to how she practices medicine in the future, adding,  "Without this opportunity I would not have been exposed to the process of how medical research occurs and how discoveries are made. It's been a fantastic experience and I would strongly recommend others also pursue research honors."

Dr. Hayden Hundley (Class of 2015), now a resident in Anesthesiology at UPMC, Pittsburgh, wholeheartedly recommends the program to "all students regardless of future medical specialty or research aspirations. Even a project outside of your specific area of interest will broaden your horizons and teach you critical planning, analytical, and communication skills that will enhance a career in any specialty of the medical field."

In the video at left, Haylie Reed, Class of 2018, discusses her experience with the Summer Research Program.

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