ASPIRNAUT - Undergraduate Research Internships on the Pathobiology of Diabetic Nephropathy

Aspirnaut™ is a K-20 STEM Pipeline with the goal of increasing the numbers and diversity of the STEM Workforce. Aspirnaut™ Summer Research Internships are hands-on and mentored biomedical science research laboratory experiences for undergraduate students interested in a career in biomedical research. The program is supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health and recruitment is targeted to underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, American Indians/Alaska Natives and those from geographically- and economically-disadvantaged backgrounds as defined by the federal government.*

Program Description

Aspirnaut™ is a K-20 STEM Pipeline with the goal of increasing the numbers and diversity of the STEM Workforce. Aspirnaut™ Summer Research Internships are hands-on and mentored biomedical science research laboratory experiences for undergraduate students interested in a career in biomedical research. The program is supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health and recruitment is targeted to underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, American Indians/Alaska Natives and those from geographically- and economically-disadvantaged backgrounds as defined by the federal government.*

There are two principle aims for this program:

1.  An intense research experience for undergraduate students involving crafting of questions, designing and conducting experiments, and presenting and arguing results on the topic of “Pathobiology of Diabetic Nephropathy.”

2. To teach undergraduate interns how to be mentors and inspirational role models for elementary and middle school students at rural schools.

Participants reside on the campus of Vanderbilt University and conduct research activities at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Research assignments are coordinated under the direction of Billy Hudson, Ph.D., Scientific Director for the Aspirnaut™ Summer Research Internship Program and Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Matrix Biology. Interns are assigned to a mentor and research lab related to diabetes. Interns are fully engaged in their research project and meet regularly to discuss their projects with scientific mentors and to interact with distinguished guest speakers. At the end of the program, interns prepare written reports and give oral and poster presentations to their peers and mentors. Activities and assignments will vary within a standard nine-to-five timeframe in laboratory atmospheres, with evenings and weekends available for the participants to complete homework assignments. In addition to the laboratory experience interns receive training in a variety of areas including research presentation skills, science outreach communication, acquiring expertise, building upon psychological principles for success in life, and art as it relates to scientific research. There is plenty of free time to explore the university, the city of Nashville, and its surrounding areas.

Time Commitment / Benefits / Costs of Program

The Summer Research Internship Program will run Monday, May 30 to Saturday, August 6, 2016. As this program is a brief ten-week experience, students will be expected to be present for the duration of the program – vacations must be taken before or after the program start and end dates; absences for non-health related reasons are not permitted. The summer research interns will receive a salary of $500 per week for the ten-week period. This salary is intended to cover all intern costs associated with participation in the program including housing, food, and travel to and from Nashville. The salary will be pro-rated for any days/weeks not completed. Interns reside in Vanderbilt University campus dormitories at a rate of $30.50 per day. Students residing on campus agree to follow housing policies determined by the Office of Conferences. At the conclusion of the program interns will participate in the 2 day NIDDK/KUH Summer Research Symposium to be held at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The internship has a total cost value of approximately $15,000 per student for the ten-week program.

Eligibility & Application

Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors with a GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale and who are in good standing at their primary institution are eligible. Applicants should have already completed biology and chemistry or biochemistry. Rising seniors should have at least one semester remaining of their undergraduate education at the start of the summer program. Applicants must have 2 letters of recommendation submitted on their behalf from college faculty (at least 1 should be from an instructor of a math or science course) and must provide a transcript at the time of application (transcript should include current courses).

Applicants who have successfully completed high school and who are matriculating into a 4-year college/university in the fall are also eligible if they have taken an advanced course in biology, chemistry, or physics in high school.

Candidates should demonstrate interest in/potential to pursue graduate study (i.e., Ph.D., M.D., M.S.) toward an advanced degree in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields and in biomedical research.

Interns must be a documented U.S. citizen or non-citizen national or permanent resident in possession of an alien registration receipt card (I-551) or other legal document of such status. International citizens studying in the United States with an F-1 visa are not eligible for these spots. Individuals seeking asylum or refugees are not eligible.

Interns must have valid, current health insurance at the start and duration of the program.

Internship recruitment is targeted to underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, American Indians/Alaska Natives and those from geographically- and economically-disadvantaged backgrounds as defined by the federal government.*

 

To fill out the application online please go to the following webpage:

https://redcap.vanderbilt.edu/surveys/?s=PA8FKTYER7

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* NIH groups that are considered to be in need of special recruitment and retention plans in order to diversify the biomedical, behavioral, clinical, and social sciences workforce: 1) Individuals from racial and ethnic groups that have been shown by the National Science Foundation to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis (see data http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/showpub.cfm?TopID=2&SubID=27 and the report Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, 2007, p. 262) and those groups shown to be underrepresented in health-related sciences on a national basis: American Indians or Alaska Natives, Blacks or African Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders; 2) Individuals with disabilities, who are defined as those with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; 3) Individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds who are defined as: (a) from a family with an annual income below established low-income thresholds based on family size, published by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, and adjusted annually for changes in the Consumer Price Index, and adjusted by the Secretary for use in all health professions programs (http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/index.shtml). These individuals have qualified for Federal disadvantaged assistance or have received any of the following student loans: Health Professional Student Loans (HPSL), Loans for disadvantaged Student Program; or have received scholarships from the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services under the Scholarship for Individuals with Exceptional Financial Need; and (b) Individuals who come from a social, cultural, or educational environment such as that found in certain rural or inner-city environments that have demonstrably and recently directly inhibited the individual from obtaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to develop and participate in a research career.