Thinking about a research career? Try SPUR at Sanford first

Sanford Research program for college students offers invaluable hands-on experience

Thinking about a research career? Try SPUR at Sanford first

So, you or someone you know are interested in a career in research? SPUR (Sanford Program for Undergraduate Research) at Sanford Research is a great way to see if the microscope life may be for you.

What is the SPUR program?

The SPUR program is a unique opportunity for college students to gain hands-on, real-world experience in a laboratory. The 10-week summer program also helps students build presentation and communication skills through scientific presentations.

Students are also provided the opportunity to attend weekly career and professional development workshops.

Potential enrollees must apply to the program, and the selection committee invites the top candidates to do virtual interviews. They’ll make acceptance decisions after the interviews are concluded.

The program is open to all students, said Lorraine Tabales, a 2022 SPUR program participant who lives in Las Piedras, Puerto Rico.

Apply now: Start your SPUR internship at Sanford Research

“Considering where I’m from, I would have never worked with top equipment simply because there is no budget for that, or to pay talented employees. This type of opportunity is hard to find especially out of the United States, which is why I feel extremely grateful for this life changing experience,” she said.

“The equipment was new to me, the work environment was very good, and the quantity of information I learned was incredible. Not only did I learn a lot science-wise, but I also had fun and met some amazing people doing so. This has definitely helped me in my studies, and in my personal growth as well. I am definitely more confident in everything I do,” she added.

‘Everyone wants you to succeed’

Ashley Nettifee, also a 2022 SPUR program participant, echoed Tabales, saying she’s more confident after going through the program.

“Everyone wants you to succeed. The program allows you to gain professional connections, teaching you new skills, and providing you with professional development. This experience allowed me to feel like I really do belong in science because everyone was very welcoming and encouraging,” she said.

Both Nettifee and Tabales feel great about continuing toward a future in research after this program.

Tabales studies at the University of Puerto Rico-Humacao. She’s majoring in general biology and microbiology, and said she plans to pursue her Ph.D. in cellular biology.

Nettifee, who studies biochemistry and environmental sciences at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, said her ultimate career goal is a career “where I will contribute and make a difference.” She became interested in research after her uncle was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2014. Nettifee volunteers as a corner coach at Rock Steady Boxing, an exercise program specifically for Parkinson’s patients.

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Posted In Research, Sanford Stories, Undergrad College Resources