Summer Academic programs for Medical Students (SAMS)

Summer Academic programs for Medical Students (SAMS)

  • Explore careers in cutting edge biomedical research and academic medicine
  • Gain research tools applicable to clinical practice
  • Add distinction to your medical school CV
  • Develop mentoring associations with faculty preceptors

Students actively participate on a research team supervised by MCW faculty, and gain opportunities to observe how new discoveries translate into the development of new drugs, devices, and treatment modalities, and to explore basic science, clinical or translational research and potential research careers. Publishing and presenting are two program goals.

A limited number of 6, 8, 10, or 11-week paid, full-time (40 hours per week) summer fellowships are awarded competitively to MCW medical students wishing to participate in a rigorous research or academic experience during the summer between the M1 and M2 years.

Contact Us

Program Directors
Ramani Ramchandran, PhD
Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Patrick J. and Margaret G. McMahon Endowed Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology  |  (414) 955-2387

David R. Harder, PhD
Kohler Company Professor of Cardiovascular Research and Associate Dean for Mentoring  |  (414) 955-8200

Program Manager
Chamia Gary, MS  |  (414) 955-2522

Steps in Applying for a Summer Research Fellowship

STEP 1 – Join CTSI

Join us as we strive to advance clinical and translational science by bringing together CTSI and the community in a multidisciplinary research and training environment to improve the health and well-being of the citizens of Wisconsin and people worldwide.

STEP 2 – Identify Your Project & Preceptor

STEP 3 – Submit Your Intent to Apply

Deadline: December 20, 2018 @ 5:00 p.m.

In order to access the “Intent to Submit an Application” form you will need to register as a  CTSI member.

The “Intent to Submit” form should be formatted in MS Word and submitted electronically to Chamia Gary, Clinical & Translational Science Institute,; (414) 955-2522

STEP 4 – Submit Your Application & Research Proposal

Deadline: February 1, 2019 @ 5:00 p.m.

Once “Intent to Submit an Application” form is complete the “MSSRP Application” form will be emailed to you directly.

The “MSSRP Application” form should be formatted in MS Word and submitted electronically to Chamia Gary, Clinical & Translational Science Institute,; (414) 955-2522

Funding decisions are announced on or before April 15, 2019.

Summer Research training will start on May 29, 2019.

Evaluation Criteria for the Research Proposal

Research projects must meet the following criteria in order to be accepted into the program:

  • Does the project area align with the primary research interests of the available grant resources?
  • Has the project received all IRB/IACUC approvals, if needed?
  • Is the problem clearly stated?
  • Is the hypothesis testable?
  • Is the proposal complete?
  • Can the research reasonably be completed during the 8, 10 or 11-week training period?
  • Does the proposal clearly define the roles of the student and the preceptor? Are the roles appropriate?

Ineligible Research Projects

  • Students may not participate in projects lacking IRC/IACUC approvals (UNLESS EXEMPT), nor work in the capacity of an administrative assistant to write IRB’s during any part of the training weeks. Any IRBs required to conduct the research must be in place and documented prior to the start of training.
  • Stand-alone, student-driven projects, which are not integral to the preceptor’s investigation, are ineligible for grant-funded fellowships provided by this program. Instead, students are expected to take a meaningful role in some aspect of the preceptor’s existing investigation. The summer research program is not a “make work” program. Such projects will not be competitive for funding.
Training Terms and Conditions

The research training must be conducted contiguously within the 8, 10 or 11 weeks of the training appointment as specified by the various funding sources. Students and preceptors are expected to develop a 40 hour per week work schedule corresponding to the length of the training appointment and the specific needs of the laboratory and research project. Students accepting a fellowship must agree to fulfill the requirements below:

  • Complete all training weeks supported by the fellowship
  • Attend an orientation program, a scientific integrity and ethics course and all didactic seminars presented during the course of the summer
  • Complete the online CITI course in human subjects protection and/or the online course in the humane use of animals in research (as applicable to the research)
  • Complete a series of brief program assessment questionnaires
  • Attend all departmental programs and activities designated by the preceptor or required by specific funding agencies
  • Submit a written abstract of their research
  • Prepare a poster of their research and present it at the Medical Student Research Day Poster Session held in the fall of the year
Expectations for Students and Preceptors

The Medical Student Summer Research Program is designed to provide students possessing varying levels of research experience with a hands-on laboratory exposure to research and careers in research and academic medicine. The program is not intended as a means to fund summer jobs for students without a keen interest in research or to support students working in administrative assistant roles. Summer research trainees are expected to exercise the same decorum and professionalism as expected in the regular medical education program.

Developing a close mentoring relationship is an essential objective of the program. The preceptor’s ability to commit mentoring time and engage the student in the overall research environment is essential. Therefore, faculty who anticipate conflicting obligations during the training are discouraged from making mentoring commitments. Likewise, students anticipating time conflicts during the training weeks should discuss these circumstances with their preceptors and the Summer Research Program Managerprior to applying for a fellowship. Due to the brief training time available during the summer, no vacation weeks are allowed during the funded training period. Preceptors are not obligated to accommodate time-away requests. No make-up dates are offered for the required didactic sessions.

Training Stipends

Pending the availability of funding, a stipend is provided to help offset basic living expenses during the training period. The total amount of the stipend is divided into equal monthly installments and paid by direct deposit only on July 1 and August 1 (for 8-weeks of training), and on July 1, August 1 and September 1 (for 10-11 weeks of training). The rate is approximately $450 per week; however, the actual amount varies by resource and is subject to change annually.

Although a stipend is typically regarded for tax purposes as “other income,” it is not a wage, and students are not considered to be employees of the Medical College of Wisconsin or the federal government. Students will receive year-end tax letters documenting the amount of the stipend they received during the training program.

Honors in Research Distinction

The Honors in Research Program is an optional research training opportunity that enables Medical Student Summer Research trainees to extend their summer research experience forward throughout their education program.

The receipt of a summer fellowship does not guarantee approval for the Honors program. Students wishing to apply for the Honors in Research Distinction must complete 16 weeks of research and write a research thesis due in the fall of their M-4 year. The Medical Student Research Affairs Committee must approve both the thesis proposal and the final thesis product. Typically, 10-11 weeks of research is completed during the summer, with the additional 4-6 weeks completed as an M3 honors elective or an M4 honors elective (available only in July and August of the M4 year), and during noncore Pathway time. The Pathway time and electives are graded; no financial compensation is provided.

Time spent on research following the completion of the summer program (including noncore Pathway time) will not count toward the 16-week honors requirement until the project has received Honors approval; therefore, students are advised to apply for Honors as soon as possible following the conclusion of the summer research training.

Only students whose projects are approved for Honors are eligible to apply for the 4-week M3 or M4 Honors electives. The M4 Honors elective is only offered during June, July or August of the M4 year. Students should contact the Registrar’s office for the timetable for enrolling for these electives.

Students who successfully fulfill these Honors requirements will be recognized with the MD with Research Distinction at graduation.

NIH Funding Acknowledgment: Important Reminder – Please acknowledge the NIH when publishing papers, patents, projects, and presentations resulting from the use of CTSI resources by including the NIH Funding Acknowledgement.


Zablocki VA Medical CenterMedical College of WisconsinMSOE