While each component of this experience has its own purpose, all are connected in an effort to bolster social and intellectual connectedness and sense of belonging as a biomedical researcher, linking social and academic integration.
Cancer is a disease of complexity, and engineering principles are developed to study, model, and solve complex problems. Biomedical Engineering is uniquely poised to make a significant intellectual contribution to solving this complex problem. BME CUReS Cancer Scholars address nationally identified key challenges in cancer research using an engineering approach.
Each Scholar will have both a faculty mentor and a graduate-student mentor (GSM), a mentoring system that has proven effective. The faculty mentors chosen for this project are professors who routinely mentor undergraduates in their labs and have a strong record of supporting undergraduate publication. These faculty mentors will likewise choose GSMs who are enthusiastic about mentoring undergraduates and have undergone mentor training.
Ten weekly 90-minute CUReS Cancer Seminars will address professional development and exploration of BME careers. Seminars will include invited guests, including professors, BME alumni, local industry professionals, former/future Texas 4000 riders and graduate students. Some of the Seminars will include local UT Austin students, and some will be for Scholars only.
Topics will include:
- applying to graduate school
- social impacts of research
- research ethics
- ethics of reporting on research
- balancing research and family
- practical skills for presenting research, and interpersonal communication
- reflective activities on research experiences, learning processes, and personal career goals
This summer program will reinforce and enrich the community of undergraduate researchers through partnership with a Texas based philanthropic organization, Texas 4000. Texas 4000 riders go on a 10-week, 4000-mile journey from Austin, TX to Anchorage, AK “to share hope, knowledge and charity in the fight against cancer.”
BME CUReS Cancer Scholars will be on a parallel 10-week journey to become researchers in the fight against cancer. This program forges a connection between the riders and the Scholars allowing them to share their struggles and inspire one another.
Presentations at BMES Annual Meeting
In addition to presenting their summer accomplishments in a university-wide summer research poster session in August, a real-world capstone experience will be especially useful to the Scholars as a way to authentically experience the “culture of research”. For this purpose, each Scholar will prepare and submit an abstract for the undergraduate research poster session of the annual meeting of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES).
Travel funds are available to the Scholars whose abstracts are accepted to enable them to present their posters at the BMES Annual Meeting. The faculty and graduate student mentors who also attend the BMES annual meeting will organize a reunion party with the Scholars in conjunction with an annual BMES reception hosted by the Department of Biomedical Engineering.
Field Trips and Social Events
Our undergraduate research community establishes connectivity with both the new Dell Medical School at UT Austin and the local community. Scholars will participate in field trips to the current Seton hospital where the Medical Center will be erected. Scholars in this program will have the opportunity to catalyze discussion of cancer patient care and develop and an understanding of both patient’s needs and the standard of care for disease.
In addition, Scholars will go on at least two social field trips based on Scholars’ interests. Possibilities include seeing the bats fly out from under the Congress Avenue bridge, swimming at Barton Springs Pool, and going to the annual Summer Hillside Musical at Zilker Park. Other social activities, such as a tour of the UT Tower, are planned with other visiting undergraduate researchers across campus.