Students spend summer vacation at BCM

Aug. 1, 2011

From left to right: Christina Sanchez, Kassandra Banda, Marisa Marquez, all from Med High
From left to right: Christina Sanchez, Kassandra Banda, Marisa Marquez, all from MED High

Students from across the country are taking advantage of summer internship programs offered at BCM. They are given opportunities to work in research labs, take tours of BCM and the Texas Medical Center and learn about life as a medical student, researcher and physician.

Here are a few of the programs BCM offers to high school and undergraduate students from across the country:

SMART Program

The Summer Medical and Research Training Program is a nine-week employment/educational program for undergraduate students interested in exploring a career in scientific research. It pairs students with BCM mentors to conduct biomedical research in a broad range of areas. Students also attend daily seminars that span the spectrum of biomedical research and GRE preparation workshops and participate in various career development activities. This year, 84 students are taking part in the program.

Houston Community College Summer Science Interns

HCC partners with BCM to place six students in laboratories for an eight-week summer internship program. The interns participate in an ongoing research project, and their internship culminates with a 15-minute presentation to their lab group. This year the interns also participated in an enrichment course titled "Window into Clinical Immunology" that was organized by Dr. Lenora Noroski, associate director of the fellowship program in allergy and immunology at Texas Children's Hospital and BCM.

Saturday Morning Science Summer Research Program

Organized by the Office of Diversity and Community Outreach, this eight-week research program enables 14 high school students from the Houston area to work with BCM researchers who hold an active grant through the National Institutes of Health. Students attend weekly lunch-and-learn sessions to discuss various aspects of research, and a different faculty member makes a presentation to the students at each lunch. This year, students also heard from the president of the BCM Credit Union about financial health and preparing for the future.

Dr. Connie Mariano and NYLF CEO Richard Rossi visit the DeBakey Library & Museum.
Dr. Connie Mariano and NYLF CEO Richard Rossi visit the DeBakey Library and Museum.

National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine

This 10-day program introduces high school students to the world of medicine. BCM is one of the sites that students in the Houston program visit. While at BCM, students attend lectures on the pre-health professional pathway, an introduction to the brain and clinical neurology cases. They also take a tour of the BCM campus and participate in a medical student panel discussion where they can ask current BCM medical students about their experiences.

This July, students in the program also had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Connie Mariano, former White House physician to three sitting U.S. presidents. Mariano discussed some of her undergraduate and medical school experiences and told the students, "It's a lot of hard work, but it's worth it."


Each summer, 50 outstanding juniors and seniors from South Texas high schools are selected, along with eight teacher mentors, to participate in DocPrep, a weeklong academic enrichment program at BCM and Rice University. The program provides health professions-related activities at the Texas Medical Center, including medical lectures, college/medical school counseling, a communications course at Rice University and hands-on laboratory experiences in which students work with brains, cadavers and hearts.

DocPrep participants tour at least one hospital in the Texas Medical Center and observe surgery from a viewing dome. Program participants have the opportunity to interact with BCM medical students, faculty and staff. BCM medical students serve as DocPrep counselors and accompany students and teachers to all activities.

Baylor Elementary Summer Science Institute

Students aren't the only ones spending their summer vacation in the labs. The Baylor Elementary Summer Science Institute, through the BCM Center for Educational Outreach, provides 250 elementary school teachers from the Houston Independent School District with training on science education. The program consists of presentations by scientists and inquiry-based science lessons featuring content specific to teachers' grade levels, with a focus on the nature of science and physical science content. Each teacher receives several resources and professional development credit.