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Diversity in Cancer Research Internship

A student presents a research poster to an event attendee.

About the Internship

The Diversity in Cancer Research Internship aims to increase diversity the cancer research workforce by supporting students from backgrounds historically underrepresented in the biomedical field. The yearlong program offers students the following opportunities:

  • Supportive relationships with experienced research mentors.
  • Exposure to a range of cancer research and related professional opportunities.
  • Career and academic preparation centered around cancer research.

Summer Programming

Over a full-time, 10-week period between June and August, interns gain intensive exposure to cancer research. They carry out projects across scientific disciplines under the mentorship of experienced UT faculty, participate in didactic teaching sessions two times a week, and prepare and present a research poster at the end of the summer. The internship offers a $5,000 stipend across its summer programming.

Academic Year Programming

Between September and May, interns further develop research and analytical skills, gain perspective on careers in cancer research research and prepare for postgraduate studies. Interns attend additional activities to extend their experience and interactions with the cancer research community at UT. 

Interns meet once a month, with each meeting consisting of a journal club, where participants present a paper chosen with their mentor. Meetings also include activities such as disease lectures, discussions on research, and guidance on career development and graduate admissions.

A Dell Med poster session.
Colleagues working.
A group of colleagues speaking.

Program Dates & Eligibility

  • Application opens: Dec. 16, 2022.
  • Application, letter of recommendation, transcript and statement due: Feb. 20, 2023.
  • Notice of selection via email: Week of March 20, 2023.
  • Full-time summer programming with weekly discussions: June 5-Aug. 10, 2023.
  • Summer poster session: Aug. 11, 2023.
  • Monthly academic year programming: September 2023-May 2024.
  • Applicant is at least 18 years of age.
  • Applicant is a rising sophomore, junior or senior with an interest in any STEM discipline.
  • Applicant is in good academic standing with at least a 3.0 GPA.
  • Applicant is a full-time undergraduate student at UT Austin and is not enrolled in summer courses concurrent with the internship.
  • Applicant is a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or international student on a visa. (Note: The internship is unable to sponsor visas.)
  • Applicant will not be awarded a bachelor’s degree before the program ends.
  • Applicant is from a racial or ethnic background shown to be underrepresented in biomedical research (includes applicants who are Black, Hispanic and/or Latinx, Native American, Native Alaskan, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander).
  • Applicant has not previously participated in the Livestrong Cancer Institutes’ Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

How to Apply

The Diversity in Cancer Research Internship seeks eight UT Austin undergraduate students to take part in its 2023-2024 programming. Applications are due on Feb. 20, 2023, at 11:59 a.m. Late applications are not accepted. For any questions, email the team.

Complete applications include all sections of the online form, one essay, transcripts and two letters of recommendation. Prospective applicants are encouraged to read the form and requirements thoroughly before submitting their application. Do not submit the application before all attachments and sections are completed, with the exception of letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation are to be sent directly from their respective writers.

Internship Requirements

Accepted interns are required to sign a student agreement, which commits them to the following program requirements.

Orientation is held in Dell Med’s Health Discovery Building auditorium. This is a mandatory meeting for all interns and covers program requirements, training requirements, stipends and more.

Interns are required to complete online training relevant to their individual research project prior to their arrival. Interns will be notified of these training requirements after they’ve been notified of their assigned laboratory and project.

With the help of a mentor, interns write a 2-3 page (double-spaced) report describing the goals of their research project. The report is due within 10 days of their start date, and their mentor will also sign the report. When the program receives the report, interns receive 50% of their stipend.

June-August: Interns attend two discussions per week with cancer experts. On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., discussions focus on cancer types, research and professional development.

September-May: Journal clubs and discussions take place in person during one two-hour meeting each month, continuing the conversations from the summer regarding research, cancer types and professional development. Participants are expected to meet with their mentor monthly for 30–60 minutes. The discussion series also serves as an opportunity to build networks and interact with peers and leaders throughout the university.

All interns participate in a poster session at the end of the summer. Interns who are unable to attend the poster session should contact program coordinators as soon as a scheduling conflict arises. Interns receive the balance of their stipend after they participate in the poster session and exit survey.

Interns who are unable to attend the poster session are required to write a double-spaced report of at least five pages that describes their project’s results, due at the end of the fellowship. Their mentor will sign the report. Once the report is received, along with the exit survey, interns receive the balance of their stipend.

Within the online application form, applicants select the type(s) of research experiences that they are most interested in participating in:

  • Basic and translational research (laboratory experience)
  • Clinical and community research (data-focused experience analyzing patient and/or community participant data)

Applicants select three faculty members with whom they’d like to work and create their cancer research project with during the internship. Program leaders make every effort to assign applicants to their first choice but may need to make alternative assignments based on availability.

2023 Mentors

  • Lailea Noel, Ph.D., assistant professor, Steve Hicks School of Social Work, and departments of Health Social Work and Oncology, Dell Medical School, UT Austin.
  • Adewole Adamson, M.D., MPP, assistant professor, Division of Dermatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Dell Medical School, UT Austin.
  • Lauren Ehrlich, Ph.D., associate professor and Lorene Morrow Kelley Endowed Faculty Fellowship Fund, Department of Molecular Biosciences, College of Natural Sciences, UT Austin.
  • Carla Van Den Berg, Pharm.D, co-director of the Developmental Therapeutics Lab, Livestrong Cancer Institutes, courtesy associate professor, Department of Oncology, Dell Medical School, UT Austin.
  • Tara Kaufmann, M.D., assistant professor, departments of Oncology and Internal Medicine, Dell Medical School, UT Austin.
  • Karen Vasquez, Ph.D., James T. Doluisio Regents Professor, Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Pharmacy, UT Austin.
  • John DiGiovanni, Ph.D., professor and Coulter R. Sublett Endowed Chair in Pharmacy, Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Pharmacy, UT Austin.
  • Anna Capasso, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Oncology, Dell Medical School, UT Austin.

Frequently Asked Questions

The internship starts June 5, 2023, and it ends in May 2024.

From June 5 to Aug. 11, 2023, it is a full-time experience (40 hours a week for 10 weeks).

From September 2023 to May 2024, it is a part-time experience (up to three hours a month).

Yes. Interns are expected to work full-time in labs and in discussions. Other work commitments or classes during the summer are not advised.

Yes. Interns receive a stipend of $5,000, paid in two installments of 50% through direct deposit as they complete the program.

The internship expects to hold the program on campus at UT Austin, as other Livestrong Cancer Institutes programming has done in years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. If circumstances change that do not allow the program to continue in person or at all, interns will be contacted by the program coordinators.

For any questions, email the team.