Cancer Research Internships for Undergraduate Students

Partnership for the Advancement of Cancer Research Project

Cancer Research Internship for Undergraduate Students

Underrepresented undergraduate students at New Mexico State University are invited to apply for a summer research internship at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Fred Hutch) in Seattle, Washington. Fred Hutch has an international reputation for its pioneering research in biological sciences, bone marrow and stem cell transplantation, cancer prevention, and epidemiology.  

Photo by Dean Forbes

About the Cancer Research Internship for Undergraduate Students

This intensive, nine-week program is designed to provide research experience and mentorship for underrepresented undergraduate students attending NMSU who are interested in biomedical research. Under the guidance of a faculty mentor, interns will complete an independent research project and present their findings at a competitive poster session. 

The program runs from Monday, June 17 through Friday, August 16, 2019. Students must be able to commit to this entire period in order to participate.

An online application for the 2019 SURP is available now. Click here to apply!

Areas of Research

Photo credit Jordan Cañas

Interns will be paired with a faculty mentor after selecting one of the following areas of interest:

  • Basic Science: Conducts structural, genetic, molecular, cellular, developmental and evolutionary biology;
  • Human Biology: Interdisciplinary research; conducts lab-based and computational research at the interface of basic, clinical and population sciences;
  • Public Health: Uses large populations as a "laboratory" to look for links between cancer and its possible triggers, from diet and lifestyle to environmental and genetic factors. Conducts statistical, epidemiological and prevention studies around the world;
  • Clinical Research: Works to develop and analyze new treatments for cancers and other diseases; and
  • Vaccine and Infectious Disease: Integrates computational, laboratory and clinical research method to advance the understanding of microbial pathogenesis and infectious disease processes.

To learn more about the specific research interests of Fred Hutch faculty, please visit the Labs / Projects page.

Program Components

In addition to completing a mentored research project, interns will participate in professional development workshops designed to facilitate the preparation of competitive applications for graduate/medical school.  Workshops include:

  • Preparing a personal statement, resume, and abstract;
  • How to successfully apply to graduate or medical school; and
  • Preparing and presenting a scientific poster. 

Interns will also attend weekly research seminars regarding a broad array of scientific topics. The program culminates with a competitive poster session.

The program also sponsors a number of social activities to foster interaction among interns and their mentors. Activities may include:

  • Attending a Seattle Mariner's MLB game OR Seattle Sounders FC match;
  • Riding the Seattle Great Wheel OR touring the Theo Chocolate Factory;
  • Taking a ferry to scenic Bainbridge Island; and/or
  • Hiking the trails on Mount Rainier

Eligibility Requirements

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident;
  • Enrolled at NMSU at the time of application submission;
  • Entering the summer BEFORE the final year (or semester) of undergraduate studies;
  • *Underrepresented student; and
  • Strong background in the sciences or related area of interest.

*This includes racial and ethnic groups traditionally underrepresented in health sciences, persons with disabilities, and persons raised in economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Compensation, Travel, and Housing and Local Transportation

Photo by Clayton Hibbert

Interns will receive $4,794 (minus taxes) for participation in the program.

Roundtip travel costs (up to $450) to and from Seattle are provided. Travel arrangements will be coordinated by program staff unless otherwise requested. If the cost of airfare is less than $450, interns may request reimbursement for the cost of luggage fees and/or ground transportation to and from the airport.  A receipt denoting the cost of these items is required for reimbursement.  Internswho drive to Seattle may receive mileage reimbursement (up to $450). 

Interns are responsible for their housing, meals, and local transportation.  Housing is available at the University of Washington’s Stevens Court for approximately $2,300 (*in 2018) for the duration of the program. Housing applications for Stevens Court will be sent to students who are selected to participate in the program in early March.  For more information about the amenities offered at Stevens Court, please visit UW Student Housing.  Interns are welcome to make their own housing arrangements.  Participants are eligible to purchase a subsidized transportation pass for $45. There is a free shuttle between Fred Hutch and University of Washington campus that departs every 15 minutes.

How to Apply

The Cancer Research Internship for Undergraduate Students is fully integrated with the Fred Hutch’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP). An online application for the 2019 SURP is available now. Click here to apply!

The application consists of:

1) A 1-page Statement of Research Interests and Career Goals outlining your scientific background, current research interests, and how participation in the SURP will advance your academic and career aspirations;

2) Transcripts;

3) Up to two letters of recommendation;

4) *Identifying up to two faculty who you would like to work with and a short description of why those particular faculty members’ research is of interest to you. 

*To streamline the process of identifying three faculty members, we suggest prospective applicants review the Recent Interns page, which identifies intern placement in various labs/research groups by research division.  This could serve as a starting point to identify faculty whose research is of interest to you, understanding that all Fred Hutch faculty are potential mentors. 

Alternatively, if you have a general sense for the type of research that interests you, i.e. basic science versus clinical research or public health versus infectious disease, go to the Labs/Projects page to explore faculty who are conducting research within your scientific area of interest. 

The application deadline is midnight Pacific Standard Time (PST) on Friday, January 11, 2019.  Letters of recommendation from up to two references are due by midnight Pacific Standard Time (PST) Friday, January 18, 2019. Notification of acceptance will occur in mid- to late-February.

*Students are strongly encouraged to submit their application before midnight Pacific Standard Time (PST) on the date of the application deadline to prevent inundating the application portal, which may result in a failure to upload.  The same suggestion applies for references when uploading their recommendation letters.  The application and recommender portals close promptly at midnight Pacific Standard Time (PST).  Given the number of applications received and in fairness to other applicants, the program is unable to accept late materials.

Contact Us

If you are an NMSU student who has questions or would like more information about the Cancer Research Internship for Undergraduate Students, please contact Dr. Michèle Shuster at: at NMSU.  Students who do not attend NMSU should direct their inquiries to the Fred Hutch SURP co-director, Dr. Julian Simon at:

Tips for Submitting a Quality Application

Due to the competitive nature of Cancer Research Internship for Undergraduate Students, applicants are strongly encouraged to review Tips for Submitting a Quality Application.

About Fred Hutch

students at Pike Place Market

Photo by Jennifer Anderson

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is a world-renowned nonprofit research institution working to improve the prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer, HIV, and many other diseases.  To learn more about Fred Hutch, visit our About Us page.

To view the story of professional baseball coach and player Fred Hutchinson and his brother Bill, a medical doctor and cancer researcher who founded the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, click here.

Biomedical Research Internships

To learn about other biomedical research internships for high school, undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, graduate, and first-year medical students offered nationwide, please visit this catalog.

In addition, Pathways to Science hosts a website that enables users to search for undergraduate summer research opportunities, graduate fellowships, and post-doctoral positions. 

Guide to Life Science Careers

The Guide to Life Science Careers helps you to explore and choose what career is best for you. Starting with an assessment of who you are and how you work best, this guide takes you on a journey that extends from a survey of possible careers through the steps necessary to get there. Interviews with professionals about how they chose their career paths are included so you can learn how others became successful and understand the positive and negative aspects of various career choices. Strategies for networking, overcoming shyness, and building your résumé are also discussed to help you lay the groundwork for success and present the best you to potential employers. This guide is a must read for anyone embarking on a career in the life sciences.

The Cancer Research Internship for Undergraduate Students is supported in parts by NCI grants: 5 U54 CA132381 (Fred Hutch) and 5 U54 CA132383 (NMSU).