Innovations Grant Report: SOAR 2019
By Rachel Menegaz, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC)
The Summer Opportunities in Anatomy Research (SOAR) program is 10-week internship program that offers hands-on experiences in anatomical research, education, and outreach to undergraduate students. SOAR specifically targets undergraduate populations that do not share a campus with a graduate anatomy program or have similar opportunities at their home institutions. The mission of SOAR is to recruit the next generation of anatomists from diverse and underrepresented groups, with a focus on retaining those students through individual mentorship and early career preparation.
“I learned a lot about myself and have gained clarity on my career path,” said intern Janessa Bushman. “I am very grateful that I was able to network and gain mentors that are willing to assist wherever my path may lead.”
The 2019 SOAR program ran from May 15-July 19 and culminated in research poster presentations by SOAR interns at a campus-wide research appreciation day. The 2019 and 2020 SOAR programs are funded by the AAA’s Innovations Program. The SOAR faculty and students wish to express their sincere appreciation for this support, and the association’s commitment to diversity and inclusion within the anatomical sciences.
The application for the 2020 SOAR program will be open January 15 – March 1, 2020, and the program will run May 13 – July 17.
Meet the SOAR Interns
The 2019 applicant pool of 87 was narrowed down to a selection of finalists (20% of total applicants) based on their indicated interest in a research-based graduate program and the anatomical sciences. SOAR is specifically designed as a pre-graduate school program and includes workshops on selecting and applying to graduate school, careers in the anatomical sciences, etc. For non-finalist students not interested in research-based graduate programs, we directed them toward other pre-medical/allied health sciences programs.