Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships are awarded every year to deserving students who are interested in exploring specific topics in research. The goal, in addition to learning alongside professional medical researchers, is to determine if the students are truly interested in persuing research as a career. The students do everything a scientist does, including presenting findings at the end of their project. Mayo Clinic's bumper crop of nuSURF students (nu for nephrology and urology) did rather well this year, according to mentor Michael Romero, Ph.D. Vanderbilt University in Nashville was the destination for Mayo's 23 SURF fellows, where they attended a two-day conference for which they submitted abstracts and presented findings in front of faculty and other SURF counterparts from Harvard, Yale and other institutions.
We tracked down a number of Mayo's students to find out what they thought of the experience.
"The nuSURF program taught me what biomedical research is really all about...I was motivated by the joy of obtaining new, interesting results, and I felt accomplished when I presented by poster to my peers in Nashville...[I learned that] obstacles in health care can be overcome by a team of intellectually diverse individuals working together." - Chris Gallo
"I learned many things, but the most important and unexpected was the excitement involved in science. Being the first to know something, no matter how esoteric...is a stunning experience. ..This sensation is what will keep me inspired to push through the monotony and bureaucratic barrios of a scientific career.....the science classroom fails to establish the excitement in science research. ..I was able to have a context for how real problems in research are attacked." - Reed LaRiviere
"Without these [nuSURF] grants from the NIH, and hosting institutions, students like myself would have never had the opportunity to be introduced to such an astonishing array of career possibilities. Without these grants, none of my realizations about myself, my future or my aspirations would have been possible, and I would never have been able to meet the incredible faculty and staff at Mayo." - Max Thoman