The V-SURE program is designed for students who want to pursue a career in medicine (MD, MD/PhD) and would like to get both research and clinical shadowing experiences during the summer. This is a highly regarded experience in that students will be able to get in-depth research experiences that will allow for a broader understanding between medicine and scientific advancements that relate to patient treatment and care. Once accepted, students have the opportunity, and are expected to commit, to intern for two consecutive summers. Each summer experience will consist of a minimum of eight weeks on Vanderbilt’s campus followed by a poster presentation of their research. Students will have the opportunity to interact socially and academically with the other students participating in Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy (VSSA) programs.

Once selected, V-SURE Interns will work with VSSA administrators to select a research project in an area of interest to them. The number of project selections is expansive and covers a wide variety of biomedical science disciplines. 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. Each summer intern will work closely Dr. Walter Merrill, a Sewanee alum and pre-health advisory board member, who will do his best to match you with your clinic specialty shadowing experiences. 

V-SURE 1 (V1) students are rising juniors (eligibility details can be found below) who will undergo the selection process by completing the VSSA application due Feb 1st. V1 students in their first summer will work closely with the clinical UCRIP program at Vanderbilt in additional to their biomedical research and clinical shadowing. 

V-SURE 2 (V2) students are returning V-SURE interns (upon successful and positive reviews from their V1 summer) and will not have to undergo the selection process again. However, all V-SURE interns must apply via VSSA each year and update the required information asked for in the application. V2 students may have the option to work in the same lab as before or choose another lab. V2 students in their second summer will work closely with the MSTP program at Vanderbilt, learning more about the role of physician-scientists in medicine in addition to their biomedical research and clinical shadowing. 

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. They will also complete other documentation required by Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Thus, it is important to respond promptly to all Vanderbilt and OMHP email regarding this internship; failure to do so can jeopardize your placement in the V-SURE program. 

The program provides housing on campus as well as a $3000 stipend. 

Eligibility Requirements 

  • Sophomore pre-medical student with goals of getting M.D, D.O., or M.D.+ Ph.D.
  • Committed to spending the summers between sophomore/junior and junior/senior years at Vanderbilt
  • GPA of at least 3.5
  • Completed by the end of the second semester sophomore year: Chemistry (CHEM201) + Biology (BIOL223 Genetics, BIOL233 Cell Biology, or BIOL243 Molecular Methods)
  • Preference is given to candidates with prior research experience
  • Students underrepresented in medicine are strongly encouraged to apply 

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 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 Career Center guidelines on composing an effective resume and what a CV is and how to write one. The information you collect for this resume/CV will be part of the EXPERIENCES section of the VSSA application.
  • 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 clinical shadowing fit into your overall goals. Include what you have done in your Sewanee career that supports your overall goals in medicine. (1000 words or fewer.) Some ideas for what should go into a statement of purpose can be gleaned from the Career Center guidelines for cover letters, though the format will obviously be different.
  • 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 who has had you in a lab setting. Please have both recommenders write 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 applying it toward their personal growth and development.