Promise Program Overview Basic Content
PROMISE (Penn State Research training in Oncology and Medicine to Inspire Student Engagement) is a holistic internship program to inspire the next generation of cancer researchers and oncologists. Funded by the National Cancer Institute, PROMISE will provide authentic, team research experiences into cancer prevention and treatment along with workshops to support durable careers in oncology.
Experience the interdisciplinary nature of cancer research in the 21st century by belonging to oncology teams of basic, clinical and population science researchers.
Cancer research at Penn State integrates many STEM disciplines. Each potential PROMISE participant possesses unique talents and skills that can contribute to and enhance the cancer research community. We encourage applicants from a variety of disciplines, both early career scientists (undergraduates) and clinicians (medical students). Students from groups underrepresented in the biomedical workforce are encouraged to apply.
- College undergraduates who have completed one or two years (e.g., rising sophomores and juniors) in a STEM major (including engineering, computer science, statistics and biological sciences).
- Medical students from an accredited US medical school between the first and second years.
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- Contribute to advancing cancer health outcomes through collaborative research.
- "Research for Life" training focus: learn how lives can be saved through effective cancer prevention and cancer treatment.
- Experience the language, techniques, strategies and concepts used every day by cancer researchers.
- Develop networks and professional skills to support your future career.
- Interns will be full time members of an interdisciplinary cancer research team and learn first-hand how research discoveries are being translated into clinical or societal practice.
- Program mentors include PhD, MD and MD/PhD faculty with active research grants or clinical trials, and a strong history of mentorship.
- "Cancer in Real Life" events with survivors, patients and humanities faculty reinforce why we do research: to positively impact the lives of individuals.
- "Preventing Cancer in Communities" component provides opportunities to engage in outreach projects.
- Workshops focused on professional and personal skills needed for sustained research careers.
- Capstone Research Symposium, winter retreat and conference travel support provide multiple opportunities to develop oral presentation skills and create a career network.
- Program-supported day trip to the NIH Graduate and Professional School Fair provides an opportunity to explore programs leading to the PhD, MD, DDS, MD/PhD and other graduate and professional degrees.
Penn State Cancer Institute is a center for cancer research, career enhancement and clinical care within central Pennsylvania.
The College of Medicine campus in Hershey, Pa., is an ideal and stimulating environment, due to the presence of faculty mentors, near-peers and peers (graduate and post-graduate trainees) from basic, population and clinical sciences at a single location.
- Dec. 1, 2022: Applications open for summer 2023
- Feb. 1, 2023: Applications close for undergraduate students applying
- Feb. 10, 2023: Applications close for medical students applying
- May 30, 2023: Start of internship and orientation
- Aug. 5, 2023: End of internship
Note: Start and end dates for medical students are flexible to accommodate curriculum differences; however, a minimum of 8 weeks (full time) is required.
To apply, you will need your undergraduate college transcript; information from your resume or curriculum vitae; a personal statement; and the names of two references.
In the “Achievements” section, list your authorship on publications; conference presentations (oral or poster); and any honors/awards you have received.
Your personal statement is one of the most important components of the application. This must describe why you are interested in the PROMISE program and why you are motivated to explore pursuing an oncology or cancer research career.
Medical students: on the application, “College One” is the institution where you are currently enrolled in medical school; “College Two” is your undergraduate institution. For students attending a pass/fail medical school, please enter 0 as your GPA, which applicant reviewers will understand as representation of this situation.
Student Intern Selection
We will accept up to 20 students (undergraduate and medical) in the program. Participants will be selected based on scholarship, reference letters and demonstrated interest in the program. Personal statements are required and are a critical part of the selection materials. Applicants must describe their motivation for an oncology career or interest in cancer research.
This is a paid summer internship.
Interns will receive $6,000 (prior to taxes) for the 10-week summer session.
Interns can live on campus in our short-term housing facilities at an affordable rate. Additional financial support for housing of up to $1,000 for the summer is available. See more information about our housing facilities.
The PROMISE program is led by Kristin Eckert, PhD, and Gail Matters, MS, PhD.
Dr. Eckert is Associate Director of Cancer Research Training and Education at Penn State Cancer Institute and a Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.
Dr. Matters is an Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Medicine.
Advisory Committee Members
Sinisa Dovat, MD, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics and Director, Developmental Therapeutics Program in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
Bernadatte Gilbert, MD, Associate Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid, Penn State College of Medicine
Raymond Hohl, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Director, Penn State Cancer Institute (Ex officio member)
Monika Joshi, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Medical Director, Penn State Cancer Institute Clinical Trials Office
Eugene Lengerich, VDM, MS, Professor of Public Health Sciences and Associate Director for Health Disparities and Engagement, Penn State Cancer Institute
Shannon Nowotarski, PhD, Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Penn State Berks
Lisa Shantz, PhD, Associate Professor of Cellular and Molecular Physiology and Associate Director, Woodward Center for Excellence in Health Sciences Education
Gail Thomas, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Co-Director, Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute TL1 Translational Research Training Program.
Contact the Program
For questions, please contact the PROMISE team at firstname.lastname@example.org.