St. Jude Summer Plus Fellowship


Rhodes and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital work together to offer qualified Rhodes students an intensive research experience that pairs students with St. Jude scientists and places them into the hospital’s professional laboratories for period of two summers and the intervening academic year. Through this experience, students become fully engaged citizens in the scientific community of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a world-class pediatric clinical and research facility focusing on cancer and other catastrophic childhood diseases.

Students work on independent research projects, participate in lectures, group meetings, and onsite discussions. They present their work at local, national, and international venues. Many of the participants go on to pursue advanced degrees in medicine, pharmacy, veterinary science, neuroscience, genetics, biomedical engineering and other related areas. The program begins in mid-May and continues through early August of the following year. There is also an International Summer Plus experience available (see below).


  • Outstanding research experience in a world-class facility.
  • Interaction with scientists from a variety of disciplines and locations.
  • Participants receive F11 credit and research credit that can count toward their major requirements.
  • Research can be extended for elective or Honors Research credit after the two summer/two semester commitment ends.

What students say about their Summer Plus Fellowship:

  • This program exceeded my expectations in terms of the degree to which I was exposed to state-of-the-art research technologies and brilliant scientists from all over the world.
  • This experience has helped me discover myself as a person, has challenged me to become a life-long student, and has made me a better scientist.
  • I have a much better idea how I′m able to apply the science I have learned in class to meaningful scientific questions.
  • I learned many things about myself and changed how I envision my future in the medical profession.

Those eligible to apply:

  • First year students, Sophomores, and Juniors who are currently enrolled at Rhodes and in good standing.
  • Students should have at least one year of laboratory experience (research or classroom) before starting the program.
  • For the Summer Plus International position, applicants should have completed Spanish 102.

Expectations of the program:

  • Two summers, each 12 weeks of full-time work (40hrs/week). Students are paid a stipend of roughly $9.70/hr. Student summer housing on the Rhodes campus is covered by the program.
  • Two semesters of work at 8 - 10 hrs/week for academic credit to be determined by your major (typically 2 credits / semester). In most cases, this can count as upper level credit in the major.
  • Students must submit a research summary at the end of the fall semester, a formal research paper at the end of the spring semester, a reflective essay at the completion of the program, and must make a formal research presentation. Students are paired with a Rhodes faculty advisor as well as a St. Jude Faculty mentor.

Research areas (see the list of available projects (0.5MB pdf) for the current program cycle):

  • Biochemistry
  • Developmental Neurobiology
  • Genetics and Tumor Cell Biology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Oncology
  • Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Radiological Sciences
  • Structural Biology

Summer Plus International Program

Up to two Rhodes students can participate in clinical research experiences at the Calvo Mackenna Hospital in Santiago, Chile. This international program is structured in a similar fashion to the Memphis-based Summer Plus program, but has a component that is carried out at St. Jude′s partner institution in Chile. The exact structure will be determined once finalists are chosen, but past participants have spent the first summer in Chile with time split between work in the hospital and Spanish classes through Español y Cultura en LatinoAmerica (ECELA), followed by an academic year and second summer at St. Jude Children′s Research Hospital in Memphis. Two areas of recent work in Santiago have been clinical pharmacology and molecular biology (project descriptions).


When and how to apply?

  • Students interested should attend the 2014 information session: December 11, noon-1:00pm in Frazier-Jelke B lecture hall.
  • Download and complete the Summer Plus application form (MS Word doc) or the Summer Plus International application form (MS Word doc), and return it to Dr. Ann Viano by 5pm on January 21, 2015. Applicants for the Memphis-based program are asked to select St. Jude mentors in whose work they are interested, and they should look through the list of available projects (available by Nov. 30) and select up to five potential mentors. The application also asks for general and course information and a brief essay.
  • Request one faculty member (preferably a science professor) to fill out and submit the recommendation form (MS Word doc). Recommenders must complete the form and return to Dr. Ann Viano by 5pm on January 21, 2015. Applicants for the Summer Plus International program should also have one Spanish professor email Dr. Viano regarding the applicant′s Spanish language skills and ability to work and live in a Spanish-speaking environment.
  • The Rhodes selection committee, composed of diverse group of faculty, will choose finalists from the applications by mid-February. Selection is based on motivation for and commitment to the program, performance in course and lab work, and recommendation by the faculty evaluator. Those finalists selected will be interviewed by the St. Jude faculty in March. Final acceptance into the program will be announced by March 30.
  • For questions about the program, contact Dr. Ann Viano (
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