LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes opens summer 2020 research fellowship applications

Bithia Dantoumda

The LIVESTRONG Cancer Center Institutes recently opened its applications for a summer 2020 research fellowship, which introduces 20 undergraduate students to laboratory cancer research.

Nick Smith-Stanley, LIVESTRONG’s fellowship founder and associate director of administration and strategic planning, said the fellowship first began in summer 2018 with 19 students. Since then, he said the fellowship has grown to offer opportunities in laboratory, translational and clinical research. The deadline to apply for the fellowship — which begins May 26 and ends Aug. 7 — is Jan. 5, 2020.

Smith-Stanley said fellows come from universities across Texas and the United States with a variety of majors. He said participating students will spend 10 to 11 weeks in basic science laboratories for clinical research at the Dell Medical School.

“It just made sense for us to have an undergraduate program as part of our educational pipeline,” Smith-Stanley said. “I think one of the strengths that we had coming in and building a new cancer center was how much amazing cancer research has already been ongoing at UT Austin for quite some time.”

Smith-Stanley said applicants will be asked to select their top three choices of what they would like to work on during the fellowship. He said the fellowship will do their best to make sure that students get into their first choice project.

Lavender Hackman, a nutritional sciences graduate student, who was a summer 2018 fellow, said the fellowship gives students the opportunity to help one of multiple professors further their research on a specific cancer, its effects and how researchers plan on finding a cure. 

Maile McQuaid, a summer 2018 fellow and biochemistry senior, said students will either be placed on campus or at the Dell Pediatric Research Institute.

“Everyone I met was so encouraging,” McQuaid said. “It opened up so many doors and connections for moving forward in my career.”

The institute gives a $3,500 stipend to each student in two installments as they complete both parts of the program, according to the website. 

“At the beginning of the program, the people in the lab that you are assigned to are helping you get acquainted to the lab,” said Hackman. “You’re meeting everybody and learning about the techniques that the lab uses. Over the next week or two, they will get you started on the project you’re supposed to be working on.”