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Mentor Professional Enrichment Experience (MPEE)

General Information (Student Flyer: .pdf)

Directory of Research Mentors

Mechanisms of Support
Professional Behavior

Application Guidelines (Student and Mentor)

Application Form

Please log-in to Year One D2L for the MPEE application form (or download)

Exemplars (pdf files)


2017 MPEE Participants

2017 MPEE Presentations
Friday, September 1, 2017, 10 a.m.
South Auditorium & Lindegren Hall 310


General Information

The Mentored Professional Enrichment Experience (MPEE) is an optional eight-week elective between the first and second years of medical school. MPEE is an opportunity for you (as SIU-SOM medical students) to pursue interests in research and career development that you would not otherwise be able to investigate. Regardless of the area chosen for investigation, you are expected to play an active role in the project.

Under the guidance of a faculty mentor, you will develop the initial question, design a method to obtain an answer, establish clear goals and objectives to achieve an outcome and present the conclusions of this work before an audience of faculty and peers. MPEE project areas include "traditional" laboratory research, clinical research, or investigations in health-related areas such as rehabilitation, social work, health education, public health or academic medicine. MPEE projects could involve empirical data gathering or they could be more oriented toward library research. You may join an ongoing faculty research project; however, random "shadowing" of physicians performing their usual clinical activities is not an acceptable project.

The location for MPEE may be in Carbondale, Springfield, or another approved site. "Out-of-country" (i.e., some place other than the United States) projects are not permitted.

MPEE projects should describe distinct activities for the summer period. A mentor may sponsor multiple students, but the proposals should be distinct, have separate titles, and focus on a different aspect of a larger project.

  • Table of previous MPEE participants

There are many rewards associated with participation in the MPEE program. One example is publication of the results of your investigations. For example, Craig Wilson (Class of 2015) had his MPEE work with Dr. Khaled J. Saleh and Brooke Robinson, MPH accepted for a poster presentation at the 126th annual meeting of the American Orthopaedic Association. Eliza Davis, Kristina Lynch, and Stephanie. Shinn (all Class of 2012) were coauthors with Dr. Lisabeth DiLalla on Longitudinal Associations Among Peer Victimization and Physical and Mental Health Problems. Alexander Claussen (Class of 2012) worked with Dr. Kathleen Campbell during his MPEE experience and was the first student from SIU-SOM to be awarded a fellowship in the Clinical Research Training Program (CRTP) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Here is one perspective of MPEE, as it appeared in the Spring 2003 issue of The Generalist (a former newsletter of Family and Community Medicine at the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine):

"It's a nice way to spend a summer. It was good to be up in Springfield early to get a handle on the town, hospital and school. I also really enjoyed the people in the division. I also was in a place where I could get a lot of experience with the two hospitals. I also really liked the variety of potential projects, everything from not so rigorous clinical research, to more rigorous clinical research and bench research. There really is something there for everyone if they take the time to look." - Cecelia Powless, Class of 2005

For those of you interested in carrying out projects in other medical schools in the U.S. or Canada, use the following link to their individual web sites in order to find potential faculty mentors:

Specific Project Information

The Directory of Research Mentors provides a listing of SIU-SOM faculty members and the specific areas of their research. Look for the MPEE Mentor Checkbox to determine if a faculty member is willing to participate in the MPEE program. This directory is frequently updated but it is always a good idea to inquire about potential opportunities even if a faculty member has indicated not to serve as a mentor. The MPEE Program Coordinator may make suggestions or give input about potential projects but does not find or set-up mentors or projects.

Information about special approvals such as for laboratory animals or human subjects also differs, as approvals for freshmen medical student projects are obtained via the Office of Sponsored Projects Administration (OSPA), a division of the Graduate School in Carbondale. Please check their web site for important information if the project you are considering might involve special compliances. The SIU-SOM human subjects (SCRIHS) office may be contacted at the following phone numbers (217- 545-2172, 217-545-7602, or 217-545-2184). As a general rule, IF you are working with somebody who has human subjects approval at their home institution and IF the work you are doing will NOT result in a solo publication, such as a dissertation, securing the distant institution's approval number and the P.I.'s name and phone number should be all we need. If you are developing an independent project, you will need to seek this approval early in the process (i.e., submit your proposal to OSPA at the same time you submit it to MPEE. You will submit a copy of the approval letter to us prior to the end of the Year One curriculum (ERG unit) in May/June.

  • Proposals must be in your own writing. You may use material provided by a mentor but the writing must be your own.
  • Proposals from those of you wishing to work for the same mentor must describe separate distinct activities. Working with the same mentor as someone else is acceptable as long as each of you has described a distinct aspect of the mentor's larger project and have separate titles to the proposals.

The following are a few potential sources of funding for summer research projects (search the Internet for additional opportunities):


You must be a Year One student in good standing and not in summer remediation during the weeks of MPEE activities at SIU School of Medicine. You will identify a mentor with established credentials in the area of the planned experience. The mentor will work closely with you as you design, implement and complete the project. Project applications will be reviewed anonymously by teams of faculty members and the MPEE Committee. Approved participants in the MPEE must enroll as full-time students and pay fees. Tuition will be waived; however, you are responsible for paying the fees. You will receive three hours credit for the eight-week elective block. Please note, however, that you will still be expected to complete 31 hours of elective credit during your fourth year.

Mechanisms of Support

Medical Student Support

For those projects that are approved by the MPEE Committee, there is the possibility of obtaining funding of up to $2,000 to defray expenses during the summer session (plus an additional amount to cover summer fees). Typical expenses may include, for example, room and board, transportation, and actual project costs. Be sure to evaluate the cost of your project activities and the amount of support that you will receive from MPEE and your mentor. Projects may be approved but not funded, approved and partially funded or approved and funded to the maximum level. Awards are allocated from a limited pool of funds, so funding will depend upon the number of approved applications.

Any scholarship awarded becomes part of your financial aid package. Funds will be distributed to you via your Bursar account early in June (you will want to contact Leslie Fry in the Student Affairs office (217-545-2223) to discuss your summer financial aid packages). Once summer fees are deducted, any residual will be paid out to you. Should you require funding beyond the MPEE allocation, other funding should be pursued through the Medical School Financial Aid Office in Springfield.

Please note the following:

  • If you will receive a stipend or pay from another source, MPEE takes this amount into account in determining the scholarship.
  • If you receive federal loans as part of your financial aid package, MPEE funding may be limited because of existing federal rules. This becomes important if you apply for and receive external funding to support your activties.
  • If you will be involved in clinical studies with patients AND will receive a stipend or pay from another source (a stipend from another institution), you will not be eligible for malpractice insurance through SIU-SOM. Please check with the outside institution concerning malpractice insurance.

The SIU-SOM statement concerning liability (malpractice) coverage within the United States reads as follows:

"General and Professional Liability coverage is afforded to any enrolled student acting in the scope of an approved unpaid program for which academic credit or the equivalent my be awarded."

Please note that paying summer fees covers you for malpractice while pursuing MPEE activities at SIU-SOM.

Mentor Support

You should indicate to your prospective mentor (this only applies to SIU mentors) that they may submit a separate request for reimbursement of up to $1,000 for project expenses such as laboratory supplies or subject expenses used during the course of the MPEE project (please indicate amounts in the usual budget lines). This request for funds is generally included in the letter from your mentor confirming agreement to serve as your mentor (see below), but must be submitted by the end of February. Not all mentors will be funded, as support funds are limited.

Please note that you and your mentor are responsible for ordering items for project related activities. MPEE does not get involved in the ordering process.


The MPEE site selected for the project should have library facilities and institutional resources suitable for the proposed field of study. You will describe how you will maximize the use of relevant research and educational resources.


There are three inputs for evaluating your MPEE activities.

  • Your mentor(s) will evaluate your performance at the completion of the MPEE project. (We will send a form to your mentor at the completion of the experience.)
  • You will provide an oral presentation (typically <10 minutes in duration; many students use MS Powerpoint slides for this), along with the other MPEE participants, of the project activities to peers and faculty (generally on a Friday in early September of Year Two that will be videoconferenced to the Carbondale campus). (We will contact you during the early part of August for the title of your presentation.)
  • You will submit a completed MPEE questionnaire. (This will be e-mailed to you after completion of the oral presentation).

Successful participation in the MPEE, as assessed by the above input, will be noted in the official Dean's letter.

Professional Behavior

You should remember that you are arranging and participating in a professional experience. Your interactions with faculty at SIU and at other institutions should demonstrate a high level of professional behavior. Be polite, plan ahead, and keep in contact with your mentor. Advise your mentor of any updates and changes in your plans as soon as possible. Remember that your actions may impact others.

Application Guidelines


  • All applications will be submitted electronically (attach an Office Word document, .docx, to an e-mail) to the MPEE Program Coordinator listed below. No Adobe pdf files will be accepted. Use OpenOffice or Microsoft Office software.
  • As soon as you have identified a mentor, please present a copy of the MPEE Mentor Notes (.pdf) to your mentor.
  • Proposals must be your own writing. While your mentor may provide background material to get you up to speed on the topic, the writing contained in the application (proposal) must be your own. The review process is focused on finding outstanding well written proposals that present a strong justification for the project and demonstrate that you understand the goals, design, approach, and implications of the proposed study.
  • Proposals from those of you wishing to work for the same mentor must describe separate distinct activities. Working with the same mentor as someone else is acceptable as long as each of you has described a distinct aspect of the mentor's larger project and have separate titles to the proposals.
  • The maximum length of the application is three pages. Please use Times font size of 12. Applications that exceed this length will not be accepted. Please keep references or footnotes to a minimum.
  • You will ask your mentor to submit information described in the Mentor section below.
  • Deadlines:

Submission of application: 5 p.m. Thursday February 1, 2018

Submission of mentor letter: before the end of February 2018

Submission of mentor project expense support request: before the end of February 2018

Notification of approval and awards: ~Wednesday February 28, 2018

Obtain Human or Animal Subjects approval: no later than end of ERG unit in May/June 2018 (submit copy of approval letter)

Security ID badge and Conflict of Interest forms: for SIU-SOM participants, you will be notified of these activities in May 2018
Medical Records for Human Resources: for SIU-SOM Springfield participants, you will present a copy of your medical records to Bree Schmulbach (Employee Health Nurse, 327 West Calhoun, 217-545-8970)


  • Failure to follow the procedures outlined above or to meet the appropriate deadlines may result in disqualification for MPEE.

Application Exemplars (pdf files)

Metalloprotein Clinical Database (88K)

D-methionine Delivery and Hearing Loss (116K)

Weight-Based Peer Victimization (208K)

Benefits of Vascularized Skin Substitutes (144K)

Treatment Efficacy for Travelers' Diarrhea (76K)

Immunology of Preeclampsia (96K)

Apoptotic Potential of Peritonealcarcinomatosis (172K)

Fitness to Drive and State Law (80K)

Osteocalcin, Vitamin K, and Bone Mineralization (108K)

Risk of Early Revision of Primary TJA in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome (84K)


Each mentor must submit a letter confirming his/her agreement to serve as a mentor for the applicant and, if project expense support funds are desired (for SIU mentors only), a brief budget request (indicating amounts in usual budget lines). The agreement to serve as mentor and project expense support request may be combined in one letter. Information should be sent before the end of February 2018 to:

Joseph L. Cheatwood, PhD
MPEE Program Coordinator
SIUSOM; Department of Anatomy
1135 Lincoln Dr, MC 6523
Carbondale, IL 62901

 or  e-mail me  618-453-1591
  • Proposals must be written by the student applicant. You may provide background material for the student to use as information during the writing process and offer advice and proofreading. Do encourage the student to learn to write a focused proposal.
  • You may sponsor multiple students but each student written proposal must describe separate distinct activities. Working with multiple students is acceptable as long as each student has described a distinct aspect of the larger project.