When boiled down to its essence, research is a quest for knowledge. People who choose to pursue it as a career enjoy the process of learning and discovery. It should come as no surprise then that the scientists who comprise Marshfield Clinic Research Institute value education and sharing their passion for research with the next generation of knowledge seekers.

The Research Institute has a long history of nurturing the spark of scientific curiosity within students. Summer 2019 will be the 45th year of its Summer Research Internship Program. The program runs late May through early August each year and offers current college students considering a career in research the opportunity for a hands-on, mentored research experience. Students work with a research scientist on an independent project and contribute to all aspects of the research process. The summer culminates with an oral presentation of their project results at the annual Research Symposium. This next year’s symposium will be held August 7, in the Froehlke Auditorium in the Laird Building at Marshfield Medical Center in Marshfield.

“It is a valuable, real-world opportunity for students,” said Research Institute’s executive director, Dr. Amit Acharya. “Their projects are related to ongoing research within Marshfield Clinic Health System and they see the positive impact research can have for patients and their health care needs. It’s this kind of experience that led many of our mentors to become scientists in the first place.”

This year, the Research Institute identified an opportunity to continue its development of future researchers. With generous support from the estate of Frank and Betty Koller, the Frank R. and Betty J. Koller Postdoctoral Fellowship was created. This two-year appointment is designed to facilitate development of a junior scientist's independent research portfolio while under the mentorship of a Research Institute scientist. In addition to salary support, the postdoctoral fellow receives funds to pursue training and career development activities.

Starting research careers early

Not satisfied with just supporting those actively pursuing research careers, Research Institute staff also have helped establish the STEM Scouts to nurture the natural scientific curiosity in grade school children. The program’s hands-on lab projects introduce concepts to energetic aspiring scientists, both boys and girls, in afterschool programs at Lincoln and Grant Elementary Schools in Marshfield. Lab teams of no more than 15 students each are facilitated by teams of at least two adult volunteers from the Research Institute staff.

“Our mentors are truly fulfilling the Health System’s mission, vision, values to enrich lives and foster excellence in the future of health care research,” Dr. Acharya said.

The Research Institute is currently accepting applications for the Summer Research Internship Program. For more information on how to apply, visit http://www.marshfieldresearch.org/srip.

The Research Institute is also seeking postdoctoral candidates for the Frank R. and Betty J. Koller Postdoctoral Fellowship. Learn more about the fellowship and mentor-matching at http://www.marshfieldresearch.org/postdoc.