2014 Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Program
Keck Graduate Institute, June 9th - August 15th 2014
Overview and Key Dates
Monday, June 9 - Program Start
Please arrange to be at KGI at 9:00 am. We will start the program with an informal welcoming reception, followed by a tour of the campus. The afternoon of the first day is devoted to meetings with advisors, to discuss your summer research project. During the first two days you will also participate in a safety training session, and computer orientation.
The first two weeks:
You will start to do research right away, to quickly learn the necessary lab techniques and become familiar with your project. In order to place your project into a larger context, you will spend time reviewing the relevant scientific literature. Since ten weeks is a very short time, it is crucial for the success of your project that you and your advisor(s) will discuss and agree upon realistic goals, milestones, and a rough timeline for your project.
Friday, June 20 - Initial Presentations
At the end of week two, you will share the background and relevance of your project, plus your goals and milestones, with fellow students and other advisors and researchers through an initial presentation (do not fear - this is a very low key informal event).
The majority of your summer will be spent doing original research under the guidance of your faculty advisor(s), alongside with other researchers at KGI. The goal of this research experience is to help you develop new skills and knowledge, and to provide you with a realistic understanding of what graduate-level research is like, with all its ups and downs. (Note: although graduate students often put in long hours, SURE participants are expected to work for 40 hours per week, no more, no less). Proper time management and frequent discussions /interactions with your advisor(s) will greatly enhance your overall research experience. However, do not drive yourself crazy if you cannot meet every single goal by the end of the summer, research is very unpredictable. The key to a productive and enjoyable summer is to be curious, attentive to detail, open-minded, and to approach every new challenge with a positive attitude.
We will have weekly SURE meetings to touch base on how your project is going. We will also go over oral and written communication skills to help you prepare your initial / final presentations and your final project abstract / report. We will discuss career tracks in academia and the biotech industry, plus different graduate school options (PhD, MD, MS, MBA, MBS), and helpful hints for the graduate school application process.
Wednesday, July 16 - Project Update Poster Presentations
In week 6 of the program, we will host an informal poster session as an opportunity for you to present an update on your progress. At this point, you will have a clearer understanding of what you will likely be able to accomplish by the end of the summer, and will present updated goals and milestones which frequently are different from what you presented in your initial presentation (remember: research is unpredictable).
The Last Week
The last week of the program is dedicated to wrapping up your experiments, and consolidating your data into a presentable format. Each participant prepares a 20 min final oral presentation. A final written report in the form of a technical paper is sometimes required by the student's home institution if students continue the project as senior thesis, or use this experience to receive independent research credit. We encourage participants to start working on this report by the end of the program, and provide assistance in the process.
Thursday, August 14 - Final Presentations
You will be able to present your research findings to your peers, advisors, and other researchers during the final oral presentation session.
Friday, August 15 - Program ends, Wrap up and check out
At the last day of the program, you need to take care of a few final housekeeping items. You will consolidate / hand in your lab notebook and other materials, clean up your workspace (unless you plan to continue the project during the semester), and submit your final abstract. We will have a check out session early Friday afternoon.
Students sometimes have to start the program late, have to end early, or need to take time off during the summer. While it is desirable to attend the full program, we are willing to accommodate your scheduling constraints to a reasonable extend. Your time commitment needs to be substantial enough to make the effort worthwhile for all parties (9 weeks total is ok, 8 weeks total is borderline). Please let us know if you need to start after or end before the official start and end dates, so we can make alternate arrangements for orientation and for program wrap-up and check-out.