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Virtual VSSA | Summer 2021

Due to Covid-19 in 2020, the Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy developed a seminar series focused on individuals on different post-undergraduate paths (PhD, MD/PhD, and MD). Our 2020 program was so successful that we will be offering a similar program in 2021! It is open to any undergraduate interested in pursuing one of these paths, regardless of if they applied to the VSSA or not!


The focus of our Virtual VSSA program is to enhance your exposure to the STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine) community. To accomplish this goal, we have planned seminars from individuals in PhD, MD, and MD/PhD paths. The presenters will discuss both their personal journey, explaining their motivations, goals, and reasons for pursuing their path, as well as a professional story that illustrates their passion. During each seminar hour, two individuals will present so that you build an understanding of the diversity of the community. We will complement these seminars with professional development seminars to help you know how to prepare for your next step! 


Seminars are at 12:00-1:00 CST each day below. Mondays will have a focus on PhD programs, Wednesdays will focus on MD programs, and Fridays will focus on MD/PhD programs. By registering below, you will receive a link to access the live seminars. We will also post recordings of the videos on the website below within a week of the session if you cannot make this time. 



2021 Virtual VSSA Introduction, June 14th

PhD Focus

PhD Program Introduction, Beth Bowman, June 14th

Early Career PhD student, Zach Sanchez, June 21st

Early Career PhD student, Dearnisha Arceneaux, June 21st

Late Career PhD student, Emilio Rivera, June 28th

Late Career PhD student, Slavi Goliva, rescheduled to July 9th

Post-Graduate PhD student, Rhoda Caston, July 12th

Post-Graduate PhD student, Zach Lonergan, July 12th

Career PhD, Katie Hutchinson, July 19th

Career PhD, Mariana Byndloss, July 19th

PhD Program Applications, Beth Bowman, July 26th

MD Focus

PhD Program Introduction, Jennifer Kimble, June 16th

Early Career MD student, LeAnn Lam, June 23rd

Early Career MD student, Matt Nettles June 23rd

Late Career MD student, Hannah Kay, June 30th

Late Career MD student, Santiago Angaramo, June 30th

Post-Graduate MD student, Debra Dixon, July 14th

Post-Graduate MD student, David Xiao; make up from July 14th

Career MD, Andre Churchwell, July 21st

Career MD, Joy Cox; recording to be posted soon

MD Program Applications, Jennifer Kimble, July 28th

MD/PhD Focus

MD/PhD Program Introduction, Megan Williams, June 18th

Early Career MD/PhD student, Yasmine Pettway, June 25th

Early Career MD/PhD student, Candace Grisham June 25th

Late Career MD/PhD student, Ayesha Muhammad, July 2nd

Late Career MD/PhD student, Courtney Edwards, July 2nd

Post-Graduate MD/PhD student, Kristen Nobel, July 21st

Post-Graduate MD/PhD student, J-N Gallant, July 21st

Career MD/PhD, Patrick Hu, July 23rd

Career MD/PhD, Heather Pua, July 23rd

MD/PhD Program Applications, Megan Williams, July 30th


We would like to evaluate the Virtual VSSA as a resource in helping guide your career pursuits. To do this, we have created a pre- and post- summer program survey. Please spend 10 minutes to take the pre-program survey by June 7th.  None of your answers will be used in a discriminatory fashion. In the post-program survey, we will ask which seminars you viewed.  While we don’t expect everyone to attend all of the seminars offered, we’d appreciate if you keep track of the ones you viewed for the purpose of the survey. We will be following up to remind you to complete these surveys. 



Registration: (please do not register until after taking the survey below) 

Pre-program Survey Link: 


Thank you for participating; we are excited to get to know you and look forward to a wonderful summer! 

Please email with any questions!