Brainstorming for Summer Medicine Experiences

Whether College of Medicine students are interested in research, externships, shadowing experiences or community service opportunities, the fall semester is not too early for them to start planning for next summer.

In a recent summer experience planning session, Anita Pokorny, College of Medicine assistant dean of students, guided first-year College of Medicine students through the steps and timelines to follow.

Pokorny shared with students that  a wide variety of experiences — from research to travel — are designed for the summer when students are approaching their second year of medical school.

“You may be thinking, ‘If I don’t do research next summer, I’m never going to match into residency. FALSE! Go by your own goals,” says Pokorny.

While research may be important for highly competitive specialties, like dermatology, urology and ophthalmology, it doesn’t define all careers in medicine.

For specialties like pediatrics or OB-GYN, Pokorny notes that residency programs often look for demonstrated interests in the field, such as working at shelters for children and women.  She encourages students to explore options like summer camps and medical missions, where they can volunteer and gain community experience at the same time.

“Use these summer experiences as an opportunity to explore, rather than a way of committing yourself to a specialty,” says Pokorny.

Below are a few of Pokorny’s recommendations for summer career development opportunities.

Research opportunities

  • National summer research fellowship programs
  • NEOMED summer research fellowships
  • Non-funded research

Summer camps

  • Fresh Air Camp
  • Camp Hamwi
  • Camp Boogy Creek

Medical missions

  • Christian Medical and Dental Association
  • Unite for Sight

For more ideas and information, contact Anita Pokorny at

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