Different people have different preferences regarding the mix of research versus clinical parts in their career. This is a great time for you to get exposed to biomedical research and see what is involved. Even if you eventually decide that you do not want to pursue a research-oriented career, exposure to some research early on will help you appreciate and keep up with the evolution of clinical care later on in your practice. Research experience also improves your chances of landing your preferred residency and/or fellowship later in your training.
Frequently Asked Questions
You do not have to participate in the formal SKMC Student Summer Research Program to become involved in summer research. Many students find mentors/advisors and work on projects outside any formal program. Other students carry out summer research through various other programs, such as College Within The College and Bridging the Gaps, or even at non-Jefferson environments. Participation in the SKMC Student Summer Research Program, however, will allow you to take advantage of other program components, such as the seminar series and interactions with fellow students. Furthermore, many Jefferson faculty look to the structure of the program to help them identify and select students for their projects. Finally, financial support is also awarded to many of the program participants.
First, think about the type/field of research that you may be interested in (e.g., anesthesiology). Then, identify a faculty member who might have a project on which you can work. If you need help identifying potential advisors, approach the departmental director or research contact and he/she will point you to one or more faculty members who may be a good match for you (e.g., Dr. Joseph is the director and primary contact for anesthesiology). You may also approach faculty members who served as advisors to recent student summer research projects and check for opportunities among posted/advertised projects. If all else fails, you can contact the SKMC Student Summer Research Program director or coordinator for help.
In some instances, this is not possible, as noted in the description of particular programs (e.g., Emergency Medicine, see Research Programs). However, in most other cases, having talked to a departmental research contact and possibly having identified an advisor is highly desirable. Having outlined a specific project is not required but a general discussion of potential projects is strongly encouraged. Students who have already identified an advisor and have discussed possible summer projects with him/her by the time of their application to the program receive priority in the selection process (both for program admission and funding support). So, please approach potential advisors (if appropriate) as early as possible to discuss your interests and research projects on which you might be able to work during the summer.
This is is not necessary. An appropriate advisor for you may be based at a Jefferson-affiliated institution (e.g., Wills Eye Institute, Rothman Institute, Methodist Hospital, or Nemours/duPont Hospital), or even in an environment that does not have a formal connection to Jefferson, including other academic institutions and programs (e.g., UPenn, Vanderbilt), federal, state, or local government agencies, or community organizations. However, if you are planning to work outside Jefferson and/or with a mentor who is not a Jefferson faculty member, you must discuss those plans with the SKMC Student Summer Research Program director before submitting your application. Keep in mind that Jefferson financial support is generally not available to students who conduct their summer research off-campus.
This is not recommended. Program duration is short and you need to have a tangible product (abstract, presentation) at the end of the summer. Involvement with multiple projects runs the risk of none of them completing successfully. Therefore, you should focus on a single project as your primary one for the summer. Choose the one that is most likely to progress sufficiently and to yield some results by the end of the summer. In practice, you may actually be able to work on additional secondary side projects, as time permits. Note that the advisor and project you specify in the application are provisional; they may change as circumstances change, and they need not be finalized until June.
This is not necessary. However, students who have already had some research experience at the time of their application to the program receive priority in the selection process (particularly for funding support). Therefore, if you have identified a potential summer advisor, you are encouraged to start preparatory/orientation work and familiarize yourself with the environment where you will be conducting your summer research. For example, you may want to obtain IRB training and certification, or JeffChart training, if those will be required for your project. Furthermore, some preparatory research work in the spring before you start your summer project will greatly improve your chances of being productive and successful.
No. The application itself is an expression of interest and intent. A preliminary decision needs to be made upon notification of acceptance into the program and provisional funding support (typically in late March) and a final commitment needs to be made upon notification of the finalized funding decision (typically in late April). For details, see Application & Admission.
Not necessarily. Selection into the program and award of federal work study funding or other financial aid are two separate processes. You may be accepted into the program but may not be awarded any financial support. Jefferson tries to provide some financial support to most students who are accepted into the program, but this is not always possible and depends on the availability of funds each year. For details, see Financial Support.
Yes. The program period typically includes provision for 1 week of (unpaid) vacation. You must consult with your advisor to make sure that your vacation plans do not conflict with any requirements of your research project. You must also make sure that your vacation fits in with all the other program requirements. For example, your vacation should not lead you to missing more than 3 seminars and it should normally not be taken during the last week of the program when oral presentations occur.
Yes. After you have accepted a slot in the program or even after you have started research work, your health, family, financial, or other circumstances may change. Please discuss the relevant issues with your advisor (if you already have one) and the SKMC Student Summer Research Program director. If you so desire, ways can often be found for you to restructure your research work and complete the summer research program successfully. Alternatively, you can always withdraw from the program and there is absolutely no academic penalty or consequence attached to your withdrawal. Note, however, that your financial support may be discontinued if it was tied to the performance of your summer research work (this may not hold if your financial support was a scholarship). Please discuss the particulars of your situation with the SKMC Student Summer Research Program director and the Financial Aid Office.
Certainly. Discuss your interests with your advisor and the JMC Student Summer Research Program director. If you know beforehand that you are ready for a longer commitment than just the 7-10 weeks in the summer, you may want to consider the College Within The College program which includes research during the summer between your first and second years in medical school but also additional follow-up work in subsequent years.