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Simmons Cancer Institute Now Accepting Summer Internship Applications

January 16, 2018
Applications for the 2018 summer lab internships at Simmons Cancer Institute (SCI) at Southern Illinois University Medicine are now being accepted through March 15. The cancer institute will award four positions to qualified undergraduate college students who plan a career in medicine or biomedical research with a focus on cancer. The paid summer internship provides hands-on experience for college undergraduates and are awarded on a competitive basis.
Past recipients of the internship program, established 2009, say being touched by cancer, the love of science, and wanting to give back are reasons they participated in the research laboratory program. 
“The same year my grandma was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, I began research in that same field,” said past intern and second-year SIU medical student Kevin Schrader of Collinsville. “Seeing my grandma’s struggle to be diagnosed always proved a motivating factor in my research.” Schrader interned on the Carbondale campus, working for Dale “Buck” Hales, PhD, professor and chair of the physiology department and a member of the SCI research team. Hales was awarded a five-year, $1.8 million federal grant for his work on ovarian cancer.
One internship is based on the SIU Carbondale campus; the others are located in Springfield at the SIU School of Medicine. To date, 34 students have participated. Thirteen of those students, including Schrader, have continued on to medical school and seven have applied. 
Former intern Jackson Graves, a Springfield native and third-year SIU medical student, credits his SCI internship and undergraduate education with preparing him for a career in health care and medical research. “Understanding and appreciating the scientific process of research is imperative for future health care providers,” said Graves. “Cancer is everywhere. The prospect of working with people who want to eliminate a primary source of pain and suffering was too significant to pass up.”
Jacksonville native and former intern Jeff Gross agrees. A third-year SIU medical student, Gross worked with Andrew Wilber, PhD, whose research involves renal cell carcinoma, or kidney cancer.
“The experience had a huge impact on my career path,” said Gross. “The internship allowed me to learn the basic skills needed to be successful in a laboratory setting. I knew I wanted to get back into Dr. Wilber’s lab once I found out I was accepted into the School of Medicine. There is nothing more rewarding than working for a cure.”
Like Gross, second-year SIU medical student Emily Chesser says the internship solidified her desire to pursue a career in medicine and cancer research. The Sherman native had the opportunity to investigate the Epstein-Barr virus while interning at SCI.
Qualified undergraduates are defined as individuals who have completed their freshman year of college by June 2018 and will enter their sophomore, junior or senior year in fall 2018, and who are legally qualified to work at SIU School of Medicine. Preference will be given to applicants from Central and Southern Illinois who are interested in performing cancer research in graduate or medical school.
Applicants are required to submit a current college transcript, resume and a personal statement letter describing current studies, activities and future career goals. Applicants must also arrange to have two letters of reference from college instructors submitted prior to the deadline.
Applications should be submitted as a single PDF document and emailed to Theresa Casson at Instructors should email their reference letters directly to Theresa Casson. Contact Theresa with any questions or for additional information at 217-545-2220.
The mission of Simmons Cancer Institute at SIU is to serve the people of central and southern Illinois by addressing their present and future cancer needs through education, research, patient care and community service. Its website is
Schedule an interview or request more information by contacting SIU Medicine's Office of Public Relations and Communications:

Karen Carlson
Cindy Davidsmeyer