Our 2014 Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) came to an end on August 8 after a stimulating and successful summer. Twenty-four students were immersed in the scientific community at Memorial Sloan Kettering, strengthening their basic research skills and giving them a taste of life as a graduate student before they apply to medical and/or graduate school.
“We had an outstanding group of students this year who really dived into their research,” said SURP Faculty Director and cell biologist Michael Overholtzer. “It was a great summer.”
SURP students worked in Sloan Kettering Institute labs of Gerstner Sloan Kettering (GSK) faculty throughout the ten-week program. To ensure the most beneficial experience possible, each student was assigned to a lab that matched his or her interests.
Looking back, SURP student Brandon Ng said, “I felt completely comfortable in the program and believe it was an environment where learning and research were really fostered in students.”
The SURP program also took students out of the lab. In order to give them a complete sense of what it means to be a graduate student, they had the opportunity to take part in journal clubs, chalk talks, and seminars.
“I liked that our lab work was supplemented with required seminars and journal clubs. It gave the program a greater depth,” said Isabella Gaeta, a SURP student and Rubin and Sarah Shaps Scholar. “As an undergrad it is important not only to focus on your own research but also to expose yourself to different types of research and techniques.”
A Summer of Work — and Play
In addition to exploring the biomedical sciences, SURP students had time to socialize with each other and current GSK students during various events. These included a trip to the Bronx Zoo, a reception at the house of MSK President and CEO Craig Thompson and his wife, clinician-scientist Tulia Lindsten, and a Hudson River boat cruise. “The other SURP students were both brilliant and humble,” remarked SURP student and Shaps Scholar Peter Larson. “The program provided us with numerous opportunities to interact with each other both socially and professionally, and we also made an effort to explore New York City together.”
The program culminated with a poster session the SURP students presented to the MSK community to explain their summer research. The awards ceremony recognized each student in addition to four Shaps Scholars: Isabella Gaeta, Peter Larson, Brian Randall, and Kelsey Roberts.