Summer in the lab: Reflecting on student and mentor experiences

Education and research are central to the missions of the University of Wisconsin Department of Pediatrics and the School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH). This summer, fifteen faculty shared their knowledge and enthusiasm for research by mentoring eighteen SMPH medical students through the Shapiro Research Program. Over the course of ten weeks, these medical students participated in eighteen research projects. Today, we highlight some of the key takeaways from the faculty mentors and their students.

Faculty who participated in the Shapiro Research Program shared it was inspiring to see the student’s curiosity and eagerness. Working with the students also gave them new perspectives. Here’s more of what our faculty said:

“Students are curious and fearless, and willing to question dogma that most of us accept as fact.” – James Conway, MD, professor, Global Pediatrics and Infectious Disease
“One of the joys of working with Shapiro students is getting to know them on a personal level and keeping in touch during the rest of their medical school experience. It has been amazing to see what lovely physicians they become.” – Mary Ehlenbach, MD, associate professor, Hospital Medicine
“The student I mentored was enthusiastic, motivated, and proactive. I was inspired by her creativity and energy.” – Emily Ruedinger, MD, MEd, assistant professor, General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
“Their enthusiasm, intellectual curiosity and drive are inspiring.” – Heather Bartlett, MD, professor, Cardiology
“I love the energy and perspective that students bring to the project. UW medical students are incredibly accomplished, diligent and thoughtful, and they are valuable to my research projects.” – Cathy Lee-Miller, MD, assistant professor, Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant
“The most satisfying part for me is getting to know students, their unique personal and professional interests, and supporting their academic development.” – Ryan Coller, MD, MPH, assistant professor and division chief, Hospital Medicine

When speaking with participating medical students, many agreed that the Shapiro Research Program let them follow their passions and connected them with faculty that fostered their curiosity. Here’s what some of them said about working with our faculty:

“I was drawn to Dr. Farrell’s research because of the unprecedented whole genome sequencing component of his study as well as the longitudinal data gathered from his cohort of infants with cystic fibrosis (CF). This wealth of data is exciting because it could further our understanding of lung disease progression in CF.” – Leslie Huang (Mentor: Phillip Farrell, MD, PhD)
“Dr. Mathur’s research on mindfulness was intriguing to me because it evaluates medicine from a holistic approach, which I think is very valuable and important. My mentor’s years of experience in research are so inspiring and I am grateful to have learned from them.” – Judy Le (Mentor: Mala Mathur, MD, MPH)
“Dr Lee-Miller is passionate and capable, and her attitude made me want to work with her no matter what the project was.” – Molly Ryan (Mentor: Cathy Lee-Miller, MD)
“The Shapiro Research program has everything that I wanted: an area of research I am interested in, shadowing opportunities with my mentor, a possible publication, and a stipend to do it all!” – Greigory Dimailig (Mentor: Heather Bartlett, MD)
“I was really interested in exploring public and global health research. Participating in the Shapiro program provided me with the perfect opportunity to do so and to spend my summer in a meaningful way.” – Nicole Gregorich (Mentors: James Conway, MD, and Paula Cody, MD, MPH)

About the Shapiro Research Program

The Shapiro Research Program is a cornerstone program at the School of Medicine and Public Health. Research projects span a broad range of scientific investigation, including basic science, clinical, translational, health services, global health, public health, quality improvement and medical ethics. The program is supported by a generous endowment from the Herman and Gwendolyn Shapiro Foundation. Students will be presenting their work during the 20th annual Medical Student Research Forum, which will be held virtually on November 22, 2021.