Forging a path to excellence
The goal of the Partnership for Careers in Cancer Science and Medicine (PCCSM) is to build a network to attract, develop, and nurture young adults across the entire academic science and medicine spectrum, from high school students through faculty appointments.
The initial focus has been on high school and undergraduate students, particularly in the Houston area. The program aims to progressively include new initiatives for medical students, interested in research, and postdoctoral fellows from across the country.
Only students nominated by our area partners are invited to apply to the PCCSM (Partnership for Careers in Cancer Science and Medicine) Summer Program. Motivated students with strong interest in biomedical disciplines are recommended by partners from Houston-area high schools and universities, including HISD (EMERGE), CRJ College Prep School of Houston, UTHealth Houston’s McGovern Medical School, University of Houston, University of Houston-Downtown, University of St. Thomas, Prairie View A&M University, Howard University, University of MD Baltimore County, and The Posse Foundation (Houston). A committee of MD Anderson faculty selects the final participants, including: 1) high school students, 2) undergraduate students, and 3) first-year medical students.
The program offers:
- Hands-on research in any of the MD Anderson work areas
- Basic Science Research
- Non-clinical community or epidemiological research
- Computational research
- Translational research & more
- Career development advice and guidance
Clinical shadowing and observation are currently not available.
Our program does not accept applications directly from students.
We partner with high schools, The Posse Foundation and universities, and they nominate candidates with a strong interest in biomedical disciplines and a record of academic achievements. The final selection is made by MD Anderson’s PCCSM program leaders.
To participate, a candidate must be enrolled at a partner school and meet the following requirements:
- be at least 18 years old at the beginning of the program
- be enrolled as a junior-level student or enrolled as a senior-level student and accepted into a college or university for the fall semester or enrolled as a college or university student during the spring semester prior to the summer program
- be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or F1, J1 Visa holder
- must attend the entire 10-week program (for Summer 2024: June 3-August 9)
- Visit the CATALYST Training Program page (mdanderson.org/summer) to learn more about the program’s details.
Weekly seminars and workshops, which cover a broad range of topics, are held for all summer program trainees. However, hands-on research training, while conducting a mentored research project in an MD Anderson laboratory, is the main focus of the summer program. The student trainees work 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or as previously arranged with the laboratory mentor.
During the first week after Orientation, lectures in the basics of Cancer Medicine and intensive training sessions (the HotStart Program) are led by MD Anderson postdoctoral fellows to introduce The PCCSM participants to the basic concepts of laboratory methods, techniques and ethical conduct of research.
The students also receive guidance and advice on their career plans from experienced MD Anderson faculty, many of whom are professors and/or in leadership positions and serve as role models of success, resilience and persistence.
At the end of the program, the trainees present the results of their research as scientific posters alongside trainees from other summer programs
at the MD Anderson Summer Experience Final Event and participate in an “Elevator Speech” contest.
The Program also includes opportunities to:
- Attend weekly lectures
- Engage in career conversations
- Take workshops to improve presentation skills
- Learn how to prepare scientific posters and abstracts
Students receive a stipend of $6,800 before taxes for the 10-week program, paid twice a month. There are no paid time-off opportunities or benefits for this short-term training appointment.
Housing is provided on a case-by-case basis. For those who require it, a housing option is available by contacting the coordinating program leader after being accepted into the program.
Achievements of Our Students and Alumni
We have hosted PCCSM summer students in successive cohorts since 2017. Each cohort has seen a steady increase in size, although the 2020 summer cohort was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the noteworthy achievements of our past summer trainees are admissions to top-tier universities for undergraduate education, enrollment in medical schools, and pursuit of master's or doctoral degrees in the Houston area and nationwide. Our alumni have made significant strides, securing positions in research areas within major institutions. They have also showcased their accomplishments by presenting impressive scientific posters and contributing as co-authors to publications in scientific meetings and peer-reviewed journals.