University of North Carolina in Charlotte and UAB SURE student Symonne Martin discusses the breast cancer research she performed under the mentorship of Dr. Rachael Lancaster and Dr. Catherine Parker this summer at the PRISM and SURE presentation reception in Wallace Tumor Institute 101 on Thursday, July 26, 2018.University of North Carolina in Charlotte and UAB SURE student Symonne Martin discusses the breast cancer research she performed under the mentorship of Dr. Rachael Lancaster and Dr. Catherine Parker this summer at the PRISM and SURE presentation reception in Wallace Tumor Institute 101 on Thursday, July 26, 2018.

The Surgery Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) offered by the Department of Surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) provides promising undergraduate students who are interested in a medical career with research experience and knowledge that 1) increases their competitiveness for admission to medical school and 2) encourages them to consider careers in academic medicine, particularly the field of surgery. The program builds on a solid foundation of undergraduate research that already exists at UAB. 

Up to 10 students are selected for our program annually. Over the 8-week experience, participants complete a mentored research project. Participants are mentored by UAB faculty and senior research staff on research projects. Basic science, clinical, and outcomes research experiences are available. Research projects often involve a team approach with trainees at other levels involved (including high school students and medical students). The experience also includes learning experiences through seminars and workshops, and supplemental activities including clinical shadowing to expose students to clinical practice and surgical careers.

Students learn the rewards of combining research with clinical practice. They gain an understanding of the importance of basic, translational, and clinical research discoveries to improving patient care and outcomes. Participating students are encouraged to write an abstract and submit to a national meeting (Academic Surgical Congress). Students also present their research at the UAB Summer Undergraduate Expo and an event in the Department of Surgery.

Important Dates

Application Deadline: 5 p.m. CST, February 14, 2020
Latest Notification of Acceptance Date: Late March 2020
Program Begins: June 1, 2020
Program Ends: July 24, 2020

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Strong interest in research as well as a career in medicine.
  2. Sophomore or junior undergraduate student status preferred.
  3. U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status required.
  4. Grade point average of at least 3.2 recommended.

Students who are from underrepresented racial or ethnic groups as defined by the National Institutes of Health are encouraged to apply, including the following groups: African American, Hispanic, Native American, Native Alaskan or Native Pacific Islander. First-generation undergraduate students are also encouraged to apply.

What Past Participants Have to Say

"Well-performing surgery departments value innovation..."

"For me, the SURE program was an excellent introduction into how well-performing surgery departments value innovation, research and quality control. I am grateful for the skills, mentorship and friendships that this experience provided me, and I look forward to using these skills as I apply for medical school and residency."

— Lauren Moradi, SURE Class of 2019

"What it means to be a surgeon-scientist..."

"The SURE program strengthened my interest in surgery and introduced me to what it means to be a surgeon-scientist. Not only was I able to hone my writing and presentation skills, but I also got to observe very interesting and complex cases! I am thoroughly impressed with the UAB Department of Surgery as a whole and am forever grateful for the opportunity!"

— Chiemela Izima, SURE Class of 2019

"The clinical side of research..."

"Prior to SURE, my research experience was limited solely to basic science – I had previously worked with cancer cells and bacteria but never with real patients. Interning with SURE opened my eyes to the clinical side of research; my outcomes project required that I review more than 10 years of patient charts, through which I learned a lot of medical terminology and developed skills for reading medical literature.

"I also really enjoyed the non-research activities which the program organized for us, from the weekly biostatistics seminars to the patient airlift transport tour at Children’s! Overall, I’m fortunate to have interned with SURE this summer, and I’m glad to have made lasting connections through the program with many mentors during this enriching experience in the hospital."

— Adithya Menon, SURE Class of 2019

"Allowed me to generate publishable results..."

"The SURE program took my history at the bench, enhanced my technique and problem-solving abilities and allowed me to generate publishable results, all while being introduced to a fulfilling career in academic medicine."

— Yazen Shihab, SURE Class of 2019

"My eyes have been opened..."

"I loved being a part of the SURE program. It not only gave me valuable research experience, but it also allowed me to shadow surgeons. Through this experience, my eyes have been opened to the possibility of a career in surgery and in research."

— Callie Walls, SURE Class of 2019

"The clinical side of research..."

"Prior to SURE, my research experience was limited solely to basic science – I had previously worked with cancer cells and bacteria but never with real patients. Interning with SURE opened my eyes to the clinical side of research; my outcomes project required that I review more than 10 years of patient charts, through which I learned a lot of medical terminology and developed skills for reading medical literature.

"I also really enjoyed the non-research activities which the program organized for us, from the weekly biostatistics seminars to the patient airlift transport tour at Children’s! Overall, I’m fortunate to have interned with SURE this summer, and I’m glad to have made lasting connections through the program with many mentors during this enriching experience in the hospital."

— Adithya Menon, SURE Class of 2019

How to Apply

SURE Application Submission

The submission deadline has past.

SURE Recommendation Submission

The submission deadline has past.

Frequently Asked Questions


Eligibility and Application Process

I’m a sophomore. Can I apply?
Yes. Preference is given to juniors, but you are welcome to apply and can reapply in the following year if you are not selected.

Is preference given to students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups?
Diversity is a priority for the SURE program and the program strives to accept students from a wide variety of racial and ethnic groups.


Program Focus and Requirements

I need to take some summer courses. Can I still participate in the program?
SURE requires a full-time commitment from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday. Participants may not be excused for classes during these hours. Evening and online classes that can be completed outside of these hours are acceptable.

Will I be able to shadow a surgeon?
Research is the primary focus of the program, but students will be allowed to shadow for a maximum of 4 days.

I have a family vacation planned in June. Can I be excused for a week?
No. The program requires a full-time commitment for eight weeks. Vacations need to be planned before or after the program dates.


Program Logistics

Will I be paid if I am selected?
Yes. Participants will receive a stipend of $2500 for completion of the program.

Will housing be provided for participants?
Students from outside of the Birmingham area will have the option to stay in campus dorms.

If I am commuting, where can I park?
Remote parking is available for students who will drive to campus at a cost of less than $25/month.

Will meals be provided?
No. Students are responsible for purchasing their own meals while on campus. Students should expect to use part of their summer stipend to pay for their meals. Occasionally (approximately 1 day per week) lunch will be provided with a research seminar.

Will transportation be provided for participants?
No, students are responsible for their own transportation to UAB.

Questions about how to apply? Email SurgSummerPrograms@uabmc.edu

Contact

If you have questions about the program, please contact SurgSummerPrograms@uabmc.edu.

Rachael Lancaster, M.D.
Program Co-director
rlancaster@uabmc.edu

Karin Hardiman, M.D., Ph.D.
Program Co-director
khardiman@uabmc.edu