Vanderbilt-Sewanee Undergraduate Research Experience

The V-SURE program is designed for Sewanee students who want to pursue a career in medicine (MD, MD/PhD) to get both research and physician shadowing experiences during the summer. Once accepted, students have the opportunity to do two consecutive summer experiences. Each summer experience will consist of a minimum of eight weeks on Vanderbilt’s campus followed by a mandatory poster presentation of their research. Students will have the opportunity to interact socially and academically with the students participating in other Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy (VSSA) programs.
Students will select a research project in an area of interest to them from a menu of mentored options. This project may be either clinical or biomedical. Additionally, students will be paired with a physician and will round with hospital-based general medicine residents one morning per week. Students will attend weekly meetings to discuss the patients they see on rounds, learn about the process of medical education, and discuss issues on health care.
In addition, students will attend weekly VSSA Wednesday Seminars and Monday Enrichment Sessions. Students have the option of attending all social activities of the VSSA as well as the GRE Prep course. While not an MCAT course, make of the skill for taking a standardized exam are similar and it is recommended to attend this test prep opportunity.
Program participants will be required to attend on-site HIPAA and blood-borne pathogen training prior to beginning their clinical experiences. Prior to the start date, V-SURE interns will need to have a background check and TB test to be able to work in the hospital with patients. 
The program provides housing on campus as well as a $3400 stipend.

Eligibility Requirements:

The program is open to rising junior students who are committed to spending the summers between Sophomore/Junior and Junior/Senior years at Vanderbilt.
Students should have a GPA of at least 3.5 and have completed CHEM120/150 and one of the following BIOL courses (BIOL223 Genetics, 233 Cell Biology, or 243 Molecular Methods) by the time they participate in the program.
Preference is given to candidates with prior research experience.
Students should have a strong desire to pursue an M.D./Ph.D. or M.D. degree. 

Application Procedure:

The application deadline is February 1st. Applicants should apply through VSSA ( 
Applicants can select the V-SURE program from the list of VSSA summer programs. Note if you wish to be considered for other VSSA programs you may also select those as well.  The V-SURE program is only for Sewanee students who meet the above criteria and are chosen by Sewanee.  The other programs are run through Vanderbilt and have their own selection process.

V-SURE program application requirements:

  • A Resume or CV that lists any research, employment, internship, or other experience relevant to the program to which you are applying. Please review CLD guidelines on compose an effective Resume what a CV is and how to write on.
  • A Statement of Purpose: This statement should clearly explain your reasons for pursuing the V-SURE program and how you expect your experience to impact your career plans.  Please address how BOTH the research component and clinician shadowing fits into your overall goals. Include what you have done in your Sewanee career that supports your overall goals in medicine. (1000 words or fewer).
  • An unofficial transcript (Obtained from the Registrar’s Office – do not wait until the last day to request!)
  • Recommendation Letters. You will need two and one must be from a faculty member that has had you in a lab setting. Please have these both recommenders write a formal letters to be uploaded to VSSA.  They will receive a request from VSSA after you add their contact information to the application. These letters should address your ability in the laboratory, specifically focusing on your skill-level and independence as well as your ability to grasp literature content.  Additional criteria in selecting V-SURE interns are their ability to be independent, show initiative, know when to seek help, and their maturity in taking criticism and apply it toward their personal growth and development.