Alex Sundermann (G3)
June 29, 2017
Posted in Workshop News

Student Advisory Committee 2016-2017 Recap

The 2016-2017 academic year marked the first Student Advisory Committee (SAC) in its new format. The committee was restructured to emphasize the importance of student leadership by relying on students’ concerns, complaints, and ideas to generate committee agenda items. Below, we detail a list of this year’s accomplishments and initiatives:

  • Enhanced Student Engagement: This past year, we sent out monthly Google Forms soliciting general comments and ideas for MSTP programming. This survey had over thirty responses representing every class in the MSTP. We encourage all students to continue to use this resource in the upcoming year:

  • Committee Directory: We realized it may be difficult for new students to identify ways to best get involved in all of the programming opportunities in the MSTP. As a result, we compiled the “MSTP Committee Directory” describing the mission, activities, and leadership of existing committees. We aim to update this document every year to represent current undertakings and membership:

  • SAC Q&A Web page: We created a page on the MSTP website that answers common questions for current students. This page is a living document that will be updated with relevant information as questions are submitted to the Google Form:

  • Standardized Minutes: We introduced the distribution of standardized minutes for the SAC committee meetings. This guarantees that all members of the MSTP receive the same information. Class representatives have the liberty to add to the standardized notes and emphasize the points that are most relevant to their class.

  • New Committees: While the SAC facilitated the creation of these committees, their accomplishments are the product of the hard work of the student committee founders:

    • ​​​Alumni Committee: This committee focuses on strengthening the MSTP’s relationship with alumni to keep informed with the accomplishments of past graduates, facilitate reunions, and provide a means for current MSTP students to connect with predecessors who have become successful in a range of fields.

    • Wellness Committee: The goal of this committee is to address the mental health needs specific to the MSTP community. The committee facilitated an ice cream social, a CAB wellness day, and a wellness talk and wellness breakout sessions during this year’s MSTP retreat.  The committee is developing a curriculum focused on transition periods during training and plans seminars focused on the major stressors of MSTP students.

    • Study Section/Grant Workshop Committee: This group coordinates a grant workshop and an internal grant review panel of students and faculty who review F30 and other fellowship applications prior to their submission. The goal of this committee is to provide feedback to fellowship writers and provide senior students the opportunity to practice reviewing grants in parallel with faculty.

    • Physician-Scientist Career Pathways: The purpose of this committee is to expose MSTP students to the diverse career opportunities available to physician-scientists. Students on the committee will help organize seminars, facilitate mentor-mentee pairings, and explore training and mentorship opportunities for interested MSTP students.

    • SWAG: Last but not least, the MSTP was handsomely outfitted in monogrammed jackets. We look good!

We would like to thank Ben Fensterheim (M3) for doing an excellent job as the first SAC Chair, the representatives who served on the committee this year, and the students who contributed ideas that powered our work. Next year, Alex Sundermann (G3) will be serving as SAC Chair and Caleb Ford (G2) will begin his term as SAC Chair-Elect. Please don’t hesitate to share your ideas on how we can help make Vanderbilt’s MSTP the best it can be.