Cancer Prevention Summer Research Experience
The Cancer Prevention Research Training Program (CPRTP) Summer Research Experience (SRE) is funded by a grant award from the National Cancer Institute-NCI (R25 CA056452, Dr. Shine Chang, Principal Investigator). Our program awards paid summer internships to undergraduate, graduate, and health professional students interested in cancer prevention research.
We are among a collective of programs in the MD Anderson Summer Experience. Our unique program is the oldest academic fellowship program at MD Anderson. We provide a curriculum of mentored research by the Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences (DCPPS) faculty, educational and career development activities, and additional funding support to present summer research findings and conferences.
Students conduct research using emerging science and cutting-edge technologies; interact with faculty and other summer interns; explore the possibility of a career in science; and engage in a robust curriculum of seminars in cancer prevention, career development, and scientific communication.
At the program's conclusion, students hone their scientific communication skills by presenting their research findings in a 90-second oral elevator speech presentation and scientific poster. Summer alums benefit from collaboration with summer faculty mentors, submit publications to leading cancer research journals, and present their summer research projects at local, national, and international conferences. Summer alumni have launched successful careers in cancer prevention research and related disciplines.
Helpful Documents for CPRTP Summer Applicants
COVID 19 Pandemic Information
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these MD Anderson travel and campus restrictions are subject to change. CPRTP summer interns may be appointed either on-campus (in-person) or 100% remote at the sole discretion of the matched faculty mentor. All required cancer prevention seminars and workshops will tentatively take place on Zoom.
|Item/Requirement||In-Person Students (On-Campus)||100% Remote Students|
|Appointment location||IN-PERSON students will conduct most of their research on-campus with some remote work.||REMOTE students will conduct research 100% remotely and will not be allowed on campus at any time.
|Identification verification (on MD Anderson campus)||IN-PERSON students must come to the MD Anderson campus to complete section 2 of the I-9 form and show your identification to the Dept. of Human Resources.||Not required.|
|ID Badge||Required and must be worn all times when on campus.||Not required.|
|Stipend||$15 per hour|
|Stipend payment frequency||IN-PERSON students will be paid on the 5th and 20th of each month via direct deposit, regular MD Anderson payroll.||REMOTE students will be paid via check request in two lump sums of
$3,000 on July 1 and August 20.
|MD Anderson COVID-19 PPE requirements||Must adhere to campus and department Personal Protective Equipment-PPE (e.g., face masks, latex gloves, googles, etc.), social distancing, entry point screening guidelines, and COVID-19 testing requirements.||Not required.|
|COVID-19 Vaccination requirements||All students (in-person and remote) must either: 1) Submit a vaccination record reflecting that two (2) doses of the COVID-19 vaccines were received, or 2) Request an exemption. The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) is allowing MD Anderson to grant limited exemptions for recognized medical conditions for which vaccines are contraindicated and for religious reasons, observances, or practices. Students must upload their religious or medical exemption request through the vaccination portal. A link to the vaccination portal will be provided to awardees by the CPRTP.|
|COVID-19 testing by MD Anderson OR Quarantine
Students traveling internationally or returning from a cruise prior to the summer program start date must comply with COVID testing at MD Anderson OR seven-day quarantine. Students traveling from outside of Texas are no longer required to test as long as they are asymptomatic.
|Non-MD Anderson COVID-19 Testing (e.g., CVS, Walgreens, doctor’s office)||Not accepted. Any required COVID screening must take place at MD Anderson.|
|Seven (7) Day Quarantine**||As an alternative to a COVID-19 test, students must quarantine for approximately seven (7) calendar days. The quarantine can take place before or after the start of the summer program. The students must remain isolated and work remotely during the 7-day quarantine.||Not required.|
|Other Immunizations (including TB tests)||Mandatory for all students (in-person and remote). Compliance report from Castle Branch must be uploaded into Slate.|
|Patient contact and patient-access areas||This may not be allowed, but please check with the CPRTP for an updated policy. Also, there may be opportunities for remote non-patient clinical research activities or remote non-patient clinical shadowing opportunities with clinicians and other research scientists.|
|Laptops||May be picked up from MDA campus by local students or shipped from the CPRTP with prepaid UPS return label. The laptop must be returned in good condition to MD Anderson in the original Dell box (if applicable) with the original power supply cable.|
|Housing assistance||Provided by the CPRTP on a case-by-case basis, based on financial need, and only for interns with an on-campus appointment location specified by the matched mentor.||Not provided.|
|Complimentary round-trip airfare to Houston||Provided by the CPRTP on a case-by-case basis, based on financial need, and only for interns with an on-campus appointment location specified by the matched mentor.||Not provided.|
|Fellowship activities||All programmatic activities will be 100% on Zoom, including seminars, workshops, final presentations, and professional development talks. There will be no in-person programmatic activities.|
|Department and research activities||On-campus and determined by mentor.||Virtual on Zoom.|
Deadlines and Important Dates
- The deadlines and important dates are subject to change.
- CPRTP NCI Summer Research Experience is a competitive program with more than 300 applicants annually.
- After the deadline, the CPRTP will conduct five rounds of reviews and applications are elimimated at each round to arrive at the final awardees.
- Awardees must complete time-sensitive onboarding procedures via email, computer, telephone, fax machine, and/or scanner between February and June.
- The summer interns must participate the entire length of the 10-week program, full-time (8am-5pm), Monday - Friday. Partial participation (i.e., early or late program start/end) is not permitted.
|Application open (for 2023)||Thursday, December 1, 2022|
|Application deadline (Phase 1)||Thursday, January 19, 2023, 11:59 p.m. Central Time|
|Application reviews (Rounds 1-5)||Friday, January 20 - Monday, February 13, 2023|
|Notification of selected students||Tuesday, February 14, 2023|
|Decision due from awardees and alternates||Monday, February 20, 2023|
|Mentor matching||Tuesday, February 21 - Friday, March 10, 2023|
|Phase 2 documents deadline||Monday, March 13, 2023|
|Phase 3 documents deadline||Friday, April 14, 2023|
|Mandatory Virtual Onboarding||Friday, June 2, 2023 (10am CT)|
|Summer program start||Monday, June 5, 2023|
|CPRTP Summer Exposition||Tuesday, August 8, 2023|
|Summer Experience Elevator Speech Competition||Wednesday, August 9, 2023|
|Summer Experience Poster Session||Thursday, August 10, 2023|
|Summer program end||Friday, August 11, 2023|
|Application open (for 2024)||Friday, December 1, 2023|
- Must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident and legally approved to be in the United States during the entire length of the summer program.
- Must have one of the following designations by the spring semester of the program year:
- Undergraduate student at a 4-year U.S. university or college (Juniors or Seniors by the fall semester of the program year preferred)
- Graduate/Master's student
- Doctoral student (e.g., Ph.D., DrPH)
- Health Profession Doctoral students (M.D. and Pharm D applicants - see below):
- First-year Doctor of Medicine student (e.g., M.D., D.O.)
- Other Health Professional Doctoral students (e.g., PharmD, DMD)
- Must be enrolled in a degree program at a degree-granting United States institution during the spring and fall semester of the program year (including postbacs).
- Must provide proof of enrollment for the spring semester of the program year.
- Must have an interest in cancer prevention reflected within the personal statement.
- Applicants graduating in May of the program year must provide: 1) proof of application OR 2) proof of acceptance into a medical, graduate, or degree-granting program in the form of an acceptance letter (this must be uploaded in the Slate system with your proof of enrollment).
- Must commit to the entire 10-week program and not be involved in other summer employment, testing, internships, or coursework.
M.D. and PharmD Students:
Students awarded this CPRTP summer internship who are beyond year one of medical or pharmacy school by the spring semester of the program year must upload a letter (please include this letter with the proof of enrollment in the Slate system) from the home institution/program on institutional letterhead stating that:
- The applicant will not be enrolled in the medical program during the summer fellowship dates (fellowship start and end dates must be listed), and
- The applicant will not be receiving credit for participating in the MD Anderson Summer Experience. See the CPRTP Summer FAQs for upload instructions.
We regret the following are not eligible:
- Previous awardees/alumni of this CPRTP NCI R25 Summer Research Experience.
- Visa holders.
- Graduating high-school seniors are encouraged to apply for the MD Anderson high-school summer program.
- Students in a GAP year or taking a break from school.
- Students with a degree and not enrolled in a degree-granting program.
- Medical or pharmacy students beyond year 1 of their program by the spring semester of the program year.
- Students attending universities or colleges outside of the United States.
- M.D., Ph.D., or other doctoral degree holders not in school (postdocs) should view these MD Anderson postdoctoral opportunities.
- Students unable to participate during the entire 10-week program.
- Students enrolled in programs which conflict with our program start and end dates (partial, early or late participation is not allowed).
Stipend and Benefits
This internship pays $15 per hour ($6,000 before taxes over ten weeks) and is funded by an R25 grant award from the National Cancer Institute (R25 CA056452, Dr. Shine Chang, Principal Investigator).
Stipend Payment Schedule
The stipend payment dates are subject to change and vary according to appointment location.
- On-campus students will be paid on the 5th and 20th of each month via direct deposit.
- 100% remote students will be set up as contingent workers and paid twice during the 10-week program via direct deposit in two-lump sums on July 1 and mid-August. The final payment will be submitted after the leased laptop is returned to MD Anderson. Taxes will not be deducted from the payments, and students will be responsible for paying required U.S. federal and state taxes during the following tax year.
Work Schedule and Benefits
- Regardless of appointment location, all students will work full-time, 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday, and 40 hours per week.
- Awardees should not participate in concurrent employment or courses during this program.
- This internship does not provide health benefits, paid sick leave, paid vacation, or holiday pay.
- Additional benefits include up to $1,000 for research support funds, complementary round-trip or one-way airfare to Houston, Texas to participate in the program, and housing assistance for qualified applicants. Applicants must indicate housing plans in the application or via email upon acceptance.
How to Apply
1. Launch the Application: Click the 'apply here' link at the top of this web page after December 1 to launch the Summer Experience Inquiry Form.
2. Read the required three (3) sections before completing the inquiry form: 1) Please Read Before You Apply, 2) Additional Documents Required If Selected As A Final Candidate, and 3) Onboarding Contingencies That Require Early Action
3. Complete the Inquiry Form and upload the required documents:
- Personal Information (e.g., name, email, etc.)
- Current Enrollment (i.e., your current school and enrollment dates)
- Upload Resume/CV
- Upload Proof of Enrollment
- Statement of Research Experience and Interest (i.e., Personal Statement). Character limit: 700 words. The statement must address the following areas:
- How does cancer prevention relate to your career interests/goals? (Please include any life experiences or motivating factors related to your career interest.)
- Describe your research interests, experience, and future goals (e.g., tobacco cessation, HPV, colon cancer)
- What are you hoping to gain or achieve from this summer experience?
Double-check these items before clicking the SUBMIT button. The Slate system will not accept revised documents.
4. Create your Slate Account. After clicking the SUBMIT button, you will receive an email from MD Anderson Education & Training (firstname.lastname@example.org), subject line: "Complete your Trainee Position Inquiry Request". Follow the instructions and click the hyperlink in the email to create a Slate account and request your letters of recommendation.
5. Complete the Application:
- Read the Application Instructions
- Two (2) Letters of Recommendation: In the Recommendations screen, enter the contact information for both individuals who will write your letters of recommendation. Ideally, recommenders should be anyone who has known you for more than a year and preferably a faculty mentor, professor, research lab manager, or other professional in academia. Important note: Please ignore any text in the SLATE system specifying that MD Anderson faculty cannot write letters of recommendation---this is false and hopefully will be corrected soon. Summer Experience applicants may submit letters of recommendation from MD Anderson faculty, including those who are current or previous mentors. After the applicant enters the recommender's information in the Slate system, the recommender will receive an email notification from email@example.com, subject line "Recommendation Request from YOUR NAME for MD Anderson Cancer Center" and a link to upload the letter of recommendation to your account. You will receive an email when the letter has been successfully uploaded.
- Complete the Additional Demographics and Future Plans form
- Complete the Internship or Graduation Requirement form
- Complete the Academic Awards and Honors form
Note: There is no submit button in the "Complete the Application" stage. To check the status of your application, log on to your Slate account and select 'Status' from the menu. Your application is complete when all sections are complete and both letters of recommendation have been uploaded to your account.
Participating Summer Mentors
The CPRTP will initiate mentor matching by emailing a link to a Qualtrics survey after notification and acceptance of the fellowship award (see Deadlines and Important Dates). Interns will use the search methods below to identify potential mentors and enter a minimum of six (6) faculty names and a short paragraph summarizing the reasons for wanting to work with the selected faculty in the Qualtrics survey.
Interns already working with an MD Anderson faculty mentor may continue as long as the proposed summer project is in cancer prevention and the other mentor requirements are met.
Mentor requirements, resources, and the matching process are outlined on the Find a Summer Mentor page.
Mentor Search Methods
1) Search by department page: The Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences (DCPPS) is comprised of the five (5) departments listed below. Each department page includes a list of faculty and a link to their institutional research profile.
- Department of Epidemiology Faculty
- Department of Health Services Research Faculty
- Department of Behavioral Science Faculty
- Department of Clinical Cancer Prevention Faculty
- Department of Health Disparities Research Faculty
2) Search our curated list of potential mentors: Use our list of participating summer faculty mentors to identify potential mentors who have agreed to mentor a CPRTP summer student. Departments in italics denote faculty located outside of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences (DCPPS), but conducting research in cancer prevention.
Frequently Asked Questions
I participated in the CPRTP NCI Summer Research Experience in 2018, may I participate again if I apply?
No. Our NCI R25E grant award allows one fellowship award per person per lifetime. CPRTP NCI Summer Research Experience alumni may apply to other MD Anderson Summer Experience programs at www.MDAnderson.org/Summer as long as they meet the eligibility requirements.
In the SLATE application system, there is a sentence saying that letters from the trainee's MD Anderson mentor/faculty will not be accepted, but I am not sure if this applies to my situation since Dr. X is not my current mentor. For my application, would a reference letter from Dr. X be acceptable?
Yes. Please disregard this text. Any faculty, including those working at MD Anderson, can write your letter of recommendation. We also encourage letters from current or past faculty mentors. Two letters of recommendation are required and should be from someone who has known the applicant in a professional or academic setting for over a year (e.g., teacher, college professor, lab manager, faculty mentor, Principal Investigator on a previous project).
Are the two (2) required letters of recommendation due at the application deadline?
Yes. Complete an inquiry form and application in the Slate system. A link to start the inquiry form is located at the top of this web page.
I currently receive funding from a NIGMS project in my mentor's lab. If I am awarded a fellowship, may I continue to receive funding from my NIGMS project (I'll be working part-time remotely) and this NCI R25E Summer Research Experience?
No. Trainees are not allowed to receive any additional federal funding from any other institution or mechanism during the CPRTP Summer Research Experience.
What is the application process?
Successful applicants must complete both phases one and two (noted below) by the application deadline noted on this web page. Applicants must complete an inquiry form in Slate, upload required documents, establish an account, log on to your Slate account and finish completing the application by requesting letters of recommendation and completing the other required forms.
Phase 1) Applicant Inquiry Form
- Personal Information
- Current Enrollment
- Proof of Enrollment
- Statement of Research Experience and Interest
Phase 2) Log on to Slate and complete the final application steps:
- Recommendation Letters (Two letters are required.)
- Additional Demographics and Future Plans Form
- Internship Questions Form
- Academic Awards and Honors
Do I need a CV or a Resume?
A CV, Resume or Biosketch may be uploaded to your Slate application. Curriculum Vitaes (CVs) and Biosketches are more comprehensive and typically used by individuals pursuing careers in research academia. Applicants may use this CV template. In contrast, resumes present a more concise snapshot of your education, skills, and work history.
May I have letters of recommendation/support emailed to the CPRTP or Dr. Chang?
No. Please follow the instructions provided in the Slate application system, enter your recommender's/referee's contact information, the referee will receive an email with a link to upload the letter. Instruct the referee to check their bulk, spam or quarantine folders for the email. Upon successful recommendation letter upload, the applicant will be able to see that the letter was uploaded in the Slate system. Please do not have letters emailed to the CPRTP or the Director, Dr. Shine Chang. All letters must be submitted in the Slate system. Please contact Discover_Support@mdanderson.org for technical issues. If issues persist or if there are unusual circumstances, please email the CPRTP.
May I include my recent publication, additional letteers of support, scientific poster, awards, and other certificates to help boost my application?
No. Please do not upload any additional documentation into the Slate system other than what is required. All applications submitted to the faculty review committee will be uniform to prevent unfair advantages. The faculty committee will review all application materials including the inquiry form, personal statement, additional demographics and future plans form, two letters of recommendation, CV/Resume, proof of enrollment, and other required forms.
I am graduating in May of the program year and will be taking a year off before I apply to medical school. Am I eligible?
No. Applicants must be enrolled in a degree granting program (Bachelor's degree or higher) during both the spring semester and fall semester of the program year. Proof of enrollment is only required for the spring semester. This fellowship opportunity are for students who are pursuing a degree during the summer program.
I am pursuing an Associates Degree at a Community College am I eligible to apply?
Applicants must be enrolled in a degree granting program (Bachelor's degree or higher) during both the spring semester and fall semester of the program year. Students receiving and Associates degree in the Spring of the program year and transitioninig to a 4-year Bachelors degree program are welcome to apply as long as they provide proof of application into a 4-year program in the Fall semester of the program year.
Are your eligibility requirements the same for all programs participating in the MD Anderson Summer Experience at www.MDAnderson.org/Summer?
No. Each participating program in the MD Anderson Summer Experience is unique. For eligibility requirements, please visit the respective program page.
May I participate partially in-person and partically on-line/virtually during the COVID pandemic? I can only work in-person/on-campus June 15-July 30. How do I discuss this with my mentor?
The matched mentor determines the appointment location. Awardees of this summer fellowship award will receive an interview guide with mandatory questions, an interview form, and a ranking form to conduct interviews with potential faculty mentors. These interviews can take place over the phone, Zoom, Skype, or Facetime. The CPRTP will not be present during the interview. During the interview, interns are encouraged to ask in-depth questions about the appointment location and expectations. Interns will rank their interviewed faculty mentors from highest to lowest, and the CPRTP will contact the mentors on behalf of the student to see if a match is made, starting with the faculty ranked highest on the submitted form. Students should not list a faculty on their ranking form that is not complimentary. In other words, if a faculty wants you to work on campus all summer and you don't feel comfortable working on campus, you should not include this faculty mentor on your ranking form. Read more about the CPRTP summer program mentor matching process. In short, a hybrid working location is allowable as long as the primary mentor, the CPRTP Director, and the CPRTP Program Manager approve of this arrangement in advance and all fellowship requirements and contingencies are met (e.g., elevator speech during the Exposition, scientific poster, attendance at required CPRTP events).
If I work in-person/on-campus how will I participate in the virtual professional development activities (e.g., workshops and seminars)?
You will use your Outlook calendar to schedule research activities around your professional development activities. Interns are permitted to log on to Zoom using their MD Anderson laptop computer or their personal phone or tablet. If working on campus, be mindful of your surroundings, use headphones, and ask permission to go to a quiet location (e.g., department conference room, lounge area).
If I am selected for the CPRTP summer internship and my matched mentor is working remotely and requires me to work 100% remotely, do I still qualify for housing assistance?
No. Housing assistance is provided based on funding availability, a confirmed in-person/on-campus appointment location, and the need and location of the student.
Read more Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS) about the application process and program expectations.
Other MD Anderson Summer Programs
CPRTP Summer Trainees in Action
2016 CPRTP Summer Exposition: Former CPRTP Postdoc Fellow & Assistant Professor of Gastroenterology, Dr. Mala Pande & Sheila Mallenhalli, CPRTP Summer Student
2017 MD Anderson Summer Experience Poster Session: Clarisa Salinas (College Student, University of Incarnate Word)
2010 CPRTP Summer Trainee Alumni, Saviour Achilike, M.D.
(Left to Right) Dr. Lovell Jones; 2012 CPRTP Summer Graduate Research Asst., Demetrice "Dee" Jordan; Dr. Ernest Hawk, Vice President of DCPPS
2016 MD Anderson Summer Experience Welcome Lunch
2017 CPRTP Summer Medical Student, Sherene Lattimore & CPRTP Postdoc Alumni, Dr. Melinda Yates (Asst. Professor, Gyn.Onc.)
MD Anderson Summer Experience Seminar Series
Kava L. Lewis, M.A.
Cancer Prevention Research Training Program
The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) guide provides comprehensive information about the summer application process, fellowship requirements, and other details.