Summer Research Program

The Summer Research Training Program helps veterinary students explore research-focused career paths.

…the work I contributed to a project even landed my name as a co-author on a paper that will soon be published… Research is definitely something I want to keep in mind as I pursue a residency and a future in academia.

Teddy Hristova, Class of 2018

The Summer Research Training Program at Illinois is one of many similar programs nationally and internationally. It is funded in part by the National Institutes of Health and in part by the Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars Program. Students receive a stipend for participation in the program.

During the 10-week program, students are expected to:

  • Work on a research project in the mentor’s laboratory for 40 hours per week
  • Complete training modules to learn about laboratory safety and the use of animals and human subjects in research
  • Complete training in the ethical conduct of scientific research
  • Attend a seminar series covering topics from research compliance to career opportunities and planning. Careers in academia, industry, and government are discussed
  • Participate in a scientific writing series;  prepare an abstract, a poster presentation and a short manuscript
  • Participate in a field trip to pharmaceutical companies;  network with veterinary students in the summer research program at Purdue University
  • Write a research abstract and submit it to the National Veterinary Scholars Symposium
  • Present a research poster at the National Veterinary Scholars Symposium
    If you have questions regarding the application process, please send an email to the Program Directors ( prior to submitting an application.


  • The program will begin on Monday, May 20, and end on Friday, July 26, 2024.
  • The National Veterinary Scholars Symposium will be held in St. Paul, Minnesota, August 8-10, 2024.
  • Students will receive a stipend of $5,650 for participation in the program.
  • Complete the online application form by February 1, 2024.


Eligibility Requirements

  • Enrollment in the first or second year of veterinary school at the time of application.
  • Career interests that would benefit from research training. (Veterinary students from other universities are encouraged to apply).

Submitting Your Application

Selection Process

  • All applications will be reviewed by the Program Directors.
  • The student-mentor matching process will begin immediately after the application deadline and continue until all places in the program are filled.

Student-Mentor Matching

  • Students will be matched with a mentor based on the student’s interests and mentor’s availability. Applicants may learn about potential mentors under “Meet our Mentors” (below).
  • Students will be notified of a potential match in the program and will meet with the mentor to discuss possible research projects. Following that meeting, the student and mentor will provide feedback to the Program Directors to indicate whether they have agreed to work together.


View the list of institutions participating in the Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars Program.

See the summer opportunities available through Morris Animal Foundation.


A list of program mentors is provided below. Mentors may be added to accommodate student research interests.

Department of Animal Sciences

Department of Comparative Biosciences

Department of Chemistry

Department of Entomology

Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior

Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition

Department of Kinesiology and Community Health

Department of Microbiology

Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology

Department of Pathobiology

Department of Psychology

Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine


Is participation in the program a full-time commitment?

Yes, the program is a full-time commitment. You are expected to work 40 hours per week during the program. Accepting a traineeship in the Summer Research Training Program means that you agree not to participate in other programs or expect vacation time during the 10-week program.

What will my hours and schedule be?

Hours and scheduling will vary depending on your project (for example, lab work vs. field work) and are determined by your mentor.  By accepting a traineeship in the Summer Research Training Program, you agree not to participate in other programs or expect vacation time during the 10-week program.

Can I hold another job as long as it does not interfere with the Summer Research Training Program?

Many students use the summer to earn as much money as they can to finance their education and living expenses. It is common for students who are participating in the Summer Research Training Program to hold a part-time job, either on or off campus. These students work in the evenings or on weekends, when they are not committed to their research project. Because of the way that the Summer Research Training Program pays its stipends, students who hold an hourly job on the university campus cannot work more than 6 hours per week at the other campus job. Failure to disclose the campus job will delay processing of paychecks.

Is my summer stipend taxable?

Funds may be considered taxable income to the recipient, but are not reported as taxable income by the University on Forms W-2 or 1099-MISC. Taxability of the stipend depends on personal circumstances, so it is advisable to consult with a tax professional for advice on your own situation.

Should I pre-arrange a project with a mentor before applying to the program?

No, you should not assume that pre-arrangements with a potential mentor will lead to acceptance in the program. It is important that the application process provides equal opportunity for each student. Mentors and students are matched based on information provided in the program application.

Can I participate in Summer Research Training Program activities even if I do not have a program traineeship?

Yes. Program activities are open to all veterinary students. Contact the Program Directors to request a schedule of activities.

Read the abstracts for projects in the Summer Research Training Program

Research Project Abstracts