About Our Scholars

In 2007, the WFIRM Summer Scholar program became nationally advertised and has been run continuously ever since. Over the many decades, more than 700 undergraduates participated in the formal, competitively-reviewed WFIRM Summer Scholars program. The interns were studying in institutions across the country. Interns' majors included biology, biotechnology, biomedical engineering, bioinformatics, pre-med, chemistry, biochemistry, psychology, computer science and mathematics.

Our purpose is to attract young people to TERM, and provide meaningful research opportunities for college students, WFIRM developed the annual Summer Scholars Program. 

  • Program active since WFIRM inception
  • From 2007-2022, WFIRM hosted over 700 undergraduates during both the summer and academic year  
  • From 2007-2022, 283 competitively reviewed Summer Scholars
  • Average >250 apps; 18-24 positions
  • 67% recruited nationally
  • 33% from institutes in NC
  • 86% have reported completion of their undergraduate college degree
  • 77% currently attending or completed graduate PhD and/or MD programs in engineering, medicine or related fields
  • 41% attending MD or PhD programs at Med School
  • 26% active in field
  • 74% remain interested
  • 35% publication rate
  • Nearly all cite the experience as pivotal in helping them determine next steps in education and career preparation 

Chart 1 
below depicts the number of WFIRM Summer Scholars currently attending or completed graduate PhD and/or MD programs in engineering, medicine or related fields.

A bar graph showing the outcomes of 203 participants in the Summer Scholars program.


Summer Scholars Spotlight

WFIRM 2022 Summer Scholar Highlight

Emma Warner (University of Miami) presented her research on microfluidic devices to mimic shear stress in capillaries and induce sickling of red blood cells under hypoxic conditions at the Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting in San Antonio, TX
Emma Warner presenting her research on microfluidic devices.

WFIRM Summer Scholars 2018 Spotlight


Zack Chou (University of California Berkeley) and Joseph Grech (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, pictured) presented posters at the South Eastern Medical Scientist Symposium in Nashville, Tennessee in November 2018

Joseph Grech WFIRM SEMSS Joseph also presented an oral presentation on his research titled "Optimization of dECM Based Bioink for 3D Bioprinting of Renal Construct."

Rawdah Elbahrawi Presents at CUR and NSF Annual Conference 2018

Rawdah Elbahrawi, a 2018 Summer Scholar participant studying Biomedical Engineering at the University of Alabama, was chosen to present at the 2018 Council on Undergraduate research (CUR) and National Science Foundation (NSF) annual conference held October 28-29, 2018 in Alexandria Virginia. This conference features presentations by students from Research Experiences for Undergraduates programs (REUs) in all disciplines funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), sessions for REU administrators and faculty, and opportunities to meet with representatives from NSF and other government agencies. Elbahrawi’s poster was titled, Local Delivery of Stem Cell-Recruiting Factor and Skeletal Muscle Maturation Factor for In Situ Skeletal Muscle Regeneration.

WFIRM Summer Scholars 2018 Spotlight

Three 2018 Summer Scholars Selected to Attend and Present at the Biomedical Engineering Society Annual meeting held in Phoenix, AZ October 11-14th, 2018

  • Boeun Hwang, an undergraduate Bioengineering student attending University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign;  Poster:  InCite Optical Tissue Clearing is Compatible with Post-Processing Staining and Analysis
  • Amit Cudykier, an undergraduate BME student attending North Carolina State University; Poster:  Fiber Optic Imaging of Colorectal Cancer Organoids
  • Erin Maloney, an undergraduate BME student attending University of Buffalo; Poster:  Immersion Bioprinting Organoid Constructs in Multi-Well Plates for Increasing the Throughput of 3D Drug Testing

Two 2018 Summer Scholars Selected to Attend and Present at the SE Medical Scientist Annual Symposium meeting held in Nashville, TN, November 10-11, 2018

  • Zack Chou, an undergraduate BME student attending University of California at Berkeley; Poster: Decellularized Human Skin-Derived ECM as a supplement to Fibrin Hydrogel for Skin Bioprinting Applications
  • Joseph Grech, an undergraduate Human Biology student attending Michigan State University; Poster: Optimization of dECM-based Bioink for 3D bioprinting of Renal Construct

WFIRM Summer Scholars 2017 Spotlight 

Margaret vanSchaayk

Margaret vanSchaayk WFIRM Summer Scholars
A 2017 Summer Scholar participant, was chosen as an applicant for the 22nd Annual Posters on the Hill competition in Washington, D.C. This popular event gives students the opportunity to showcase their research for congressional members, meet their representatives, and learn about advocacy for undergraduate research. vanSchyaak's poster was titled "Effects of Bioactive Molecules on Skeletal Muscle Development in 3D Bioprinted Muscle Constructs."

Biomedical Engineering Society 20172017 Summer Scholars Sue Zhang and Emily Long presented at the Biomedical Engineering Society 2017 Annual meeting held in Phoenix, Arizona October 11-14th, 2017.