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Programming and Student Committees

This Vanderbilt MSTP has a variety of programming to aid in the professional development of our trainees and encourage community building. The majority of this programming is coordinated through student committees that give our trainees experience in leading and working with teams.

Camella Carlson, Neil Chada, Drew Kittleson

The mission of the Vanderbilt Chapter of the American Physician Scientists Association (APSA) is to develop the careers of physician-scientists via networking at the local, regional, and national levels and to inspire others to pursue careers in research through community outreach and undergraduate mentoring. During their two-year commitment, the APSA representatives meet monthly to invite innovative and engaging speakers to the Physician-Scientists Speaker Series, spearhead Vanderbilt’s APSA undergraduate-mentoring program, and attend the annual AAP/ASCI/APSA Joint Meeting in Chicago. The MSTP student body elects the incoming Representative-Elect during the annual MSTP retreat.

Megan Tigue (APSA Representative) and Neil Chada (APSA Representative-Elect)

megan(dot)l(dot)tigue(at)vanderbilt(dot)edu (substitute symbols where appropriate)

Each year, the members of the G2 class assume the responsibility for planning the upcoming MSTP retreat. The goal of this retreat is to welcome in the new M1s, to celebrate program transitions (G1 white coat ceremony, graduating students), and to learn about the science of upper level graduate students. The members of the G2 class decide the retreat location, theme, and keynote speaker, and are able to alter retreat programming to reflect the values and interests of their class. As such, each MSTP retreat reflects the members of the G2 class, and illustrates how each individual class integrates with the entire program.

Victor Borza and Megan Tigue


victor(dot)a(dot)borza(at)vanderbilt(dot)edu, megan(dot)l(dot)tigue(at)vanderbilt(dot)edu (substitute symbols where appropriate)

The mission of the Vanderbilt MSTP Anti-racism, Diversity, and Inclusion Council is to help ensure that the MSTP is a diverse and inclusive community where we can all belong for who we are. We work to synergize with ongoing campus wide efforts, establish new programming or initiatives within the MSTP, and consider improvements to existing programming to better align with these values. The statement developed by the ADI Council can be found here.

Co-Chairs: Lourdes Estrada, PhD and Megan Williams, PhD
Student members: Samantha Beik, Xavier Bledsoe, Candace Grisham, Jeewoo Kim, Ansley Kunnath, Matthew Loberg, Kaitlin McKernan, Casey Nichols, Sarah Reed, Ariel Thorson, Kevin Zhang


The College Advisory Board (CAB) is the cornerstone of the MSTP College System and is responsible for organizing the activities with the goal of developing strong relationships and vertical mentorship within each college. An elected G2 and G1 representative from each college organize CAB Days for ~5 days per academic year that facilitate group discussions centered on a broad range of topics spanning from faculty/mentor led career talks to skill workshops.  Representatives also help plan college outings and social events. A CAB President coordinates the efforts of the CAB Committee by organizing an annual meeting with faculty mentors and the MSTP leadership team, and maintaining open lines of communication throughout the year as needed.

CAB President – Clara Si
Avery-Cohen CAB leaders – Jeewoo Kim and Kevin Zhang
Edwards-Goodpasture CAB leaders – Nada Elsayed and Duby Okonkwo
Stahlman-Thomas CAB leaders – Kyle Enriquez and Taryn Dunigan
Sutherland-Watkins CAB leaders – Ericka Randazzo and Mark Petrovic

clara(dot)d(dot)si(at)vanderbilt(dot)edu (substitute symbols where appropriate)

Data, Ideas, & Beverages (DIB) is our weekly summer seminar series that features graduate phase students giving 30-45 minute TED style talks on topics including research in progress, exciting side projects, a review of core facilities at Vanderbilt, scientific topics of interest, didactics like biostatistics and personal journeys. DIB serves as a way to introduce new students to various labs and all that Vanderbilt has to offer (core facilities or other helpful resources during the graduate phase). This is also a time to allow fellow G-phase students to update colleagues on a couple of pieces of data, seek out advice on how to interpret a tricky figure or curious result, and tell their story.

Clara Si and Raymond Zhang

clara(dot)d(dot)si(at)vanderbilt(dot)edu, raymond(dot)j(dot)zhang(at)vanderbilt(dot)edu (substitute symbols where appropriate)

The MSTP Communications Committee is responsible for generating content for the Vanderbilt MSTP website, managing MSTP social media accounts, and publishing the monthly MSTP Newsletter. Our content supports the larger goals of the MSTP: fostering critical thinking, broadening scientific backgrounds, providing career development advice, and maintaining a work-life balance. Another goal of the Communications Committee is to bring the MSTP together as a community by involving MSTP alumni and prospective students.

Newsletter: Stephanie Cajigas (Editor-in-Chief), Jeewoo Kim (Managing Editor), Riley Bergman, Emily Chu, Landon Clark, Anvith Reddy, Dayle Wang
Social Media: Jeewoo Kim, Landon Clark
Website: Thomas Li (Website Chair), Matt Loberg, John Shelley, Victor Borza, Jeewoo Kim, Neil Chada
Founders: Rachel Brown, Abin Abraham, and Maggie Axelrod



The goals of the MSTP Individual Fellowship Mock Study Section are (1) to provide actionable feedback on central fellowship documents to students applying for grants and (2) to provide a training opportunity for senior MSTP students to learn how grants are reviewed at study section. Grants are reviewed by at least one senior MSTP student and one faculty member according to NIH guidelines and discussed in a formal study section. Mock study sections are convened for each of the three major NIH individual fellowship submission deadlines.

Matthew Loberg and Jen Peek (co-chairs)

matthew(dot)a(dot)loberg(at)vanderbilt(dot)edu, jennifer(dot)peek(at)vanderbilt(dot)edu (substitute symbols where appropriate)

The MSTP Leadership Workshop I Committee is responsible for the curriculum development and organization of the biennial Leadership Workshop for G1/G2 students. The goal of this workshop is to provide formal instruction on leadership competencies fundamental to the physician-scientist career path. The committee forms an academic year prior to the event.

Avery Bogart (Chair) and Clara Si (Co-Chair)

avery(dot)m(dot)bogart(at)vanderbilt(dot)edu, clara(dot)d(dot)si(at)vanderbilt(dot)edu (substitute symbols where appropriate)

The MSTP Leadership Workshop II Committee is responsible for the curriculum development and organization of the biennial Senior Leadership Workshop, a half-day workshop for senior level MSTP students (M3/M4). The goal of this workshop is to revisit leadership concepts introduced in Leadership Workshop I and focus on leadership skills necessary for the next steps in the physician-scientist career path (clinical team dynamics, leading a team, career transitions).

Seth Reasoner, Matthew Loberg, Kimmy Bress, Kaitlin McKernan

seth(dot)a(dot)reasoner(at)vanderbilt(dot).edu (substitute symbols where appropriate)

The goal of the Outreach Committee is to introduce children in Nashville and the surrounding areas to science and medicine topics and careers.  We host the annual Mini-MSTP and booths at various local events, including Brain Blast, MEGAMicrobes, and STEM Night. We have also begun conducting outreach events at local schools.

Ericka Randazzo (Chair) and TBD (Vice Chair)


ericka(dot)j(dot)randazzo(at)vanderbilt(dot)edu (substitute symbols where appropriate)

The MSTP Seminar Series is the flagship course of the Vanderbilt Medical Scientist Training Program. It is a student-driven seminar course guided by Advising College faculty preceptors. The seminar series is interdisciplinary in scope, with topics drawn from all areas of biomedical research. The primary focus is on cutting-edge, discovery-based and hypothesis-driven research. Guided by the faculty preceptors and topic-specific experts, students in the MSTP have primary responsibility for choosing the publications to be presented as centerpieces of the seminars. More advanced students are asked to serve as mentors before, during, and after the presentations.

The Seminar Series Planning Committee coordinates with the MSTP Leadership Team and College Leaders in organizing, scheduling, and managing weekly seminar events while developing and introducing new initiatives within the MSTP Seminar Series. Members meet several times during the summer and once in the winter to complete planning activities, and actively respond to issues and feedback that arise within the Seminar Series during the year.

Avery Bogart (Chair) and Kaitlin McKernan (Vice Chair)

avery(dot)m(dot)bogart(at)vanderbilt(dot)edu (substitute symbols where appropriate)

Check the MSTP Calendar for upcoming seminars

The Southeastern Medical Scientist Symposium (SEMSS) is an American Physician Scientists Association (APSA) regional meeting that brings together aspiring physician scientists from schools around the southeastern United States. The focus of this event is to provide networking opportunities and expand upon the career development knowledge of MSTP students, educate undergraduate students interested in MSTP programs, and share the interesting science that both undergraduate and MSTP students are involved in. We feature outstanding plenary and keynote speakers, representing the best and newest ideas in fundamental, clinical, and translational science. We are proud of eight years of fostering a collaborative and interdisciplinary educational environment for biomedical science trainees within the region.

Kaitlin McKernan and Kevin Zhang (Co-Chairs)

kaitlin(dot)e(dot)mckernan(at)vanderbilt(dot)edu and kevin(dot)j(dot)zhang(at)vanderbilt(dot)edu(substitute symbols where appropriate)

The MSTP Student Advisory Committee (SAC) is a student-run board that meets monthly with the mission to resolve arising problems, address important questions, and to facilitate programming in the MSTP. It is comprised of the MSTP Leadership Team and three student representatives from each MSTP class.

Chair: The individual who served as Chair-Elect during the previous academic year will serve as Chair of the SAC for the next academic year.

Chair-Elect: The Chair-Elect will ideally begin this position during their G1 or G2 academic year and will serve a two-year term (first year as Chair Elect, second year as Chair).

Representatives: There are three student representatives per class. Each representative is expected to serve a two-year term. These positions are appointed by MSTP Leadership for M1 students and then are appointed by representatives at the end of their term. Approximately, all students in the MSTP are expected to serve on SAC at some point.

Sarah Reed (SAC Chair) and Drew Kittleson (SAC Chair-Elect)

sarah(dot)c(dot)reed(at)vanderbilt(dot)edu (substitute symbols where appropriate)

The goal of the MSTP Wellness Committee is to address the mental health needs specific to the MSTP community. The committee serves to enhance the wellness of the student body through programming aimed at decreasing stigma, increasing exposure to resources, and educating about the challenges facing physician-scientist trainees.

Kimmy Bress (Chair)

kimberly(dot)s(dot)bress(at)vanderbilt(dot)edu (substitute symbols where appropriate)

The Women in Training Series (WITS) committee is dedicated to supporting women training in the physician-scientist career pathway. Through the lens of service, advocacy, and leadership, this sub-committee organizes events to foster connection among students and identify career opportunities and obstacles, with the goals of increasing retention among female physician-scientists and promoting long-term career success.

Megan Tigue

megan(dot)l(dot)tigue(at)vanderbilt(dot)edu (substitute symbols where appropriate)

Vanderbilt Resources for Women

Organization Contact/Email Activities
Association of Women Surgeons Please see Anchorlink page/emails for most updated contact info Mentorship Program
VU-WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) Regular luncheons, outreach,
and book clubs. Contact to be added to listserv.
American Medical Women's Association Please see Anchorlink page/emails for most updated contact info AMWA at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine aims to advocate for, support, and mentor women in medicine through peer mentorships and community outreach projects.
Owen Women's Business Association Workshops, lunch and learns, social events.
Graduate Women in Science (Nashville chapter) Networking and professional development, mentorship and outreach, research fellowships offered by the National Chapter, National GWIS Conference, join a community of women in STEM!
Women in Academy Offers Ph.D. students a chance to reflect on the ways that gender affects their experience as they begin their professional journey in the academy
Margaret Cuninggim Women's Center Counseling and workshops
Office of Women's Concerns Discussion groups, yoga classes, office hours.
Women on Track
(Women in Academic Science)
Auda Hutto
Monthly seminars. Contact Auda to get on listserv
(Moms in medical training)
Rachel Apple
Facebook group, Box folder with resources, bi-annual events. Contact Rachel to get on listserv
Women of VISE Michelle Bukowski
Monthly events include round table discussions, speaker series, career workshops, social gatherings and outreach