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PROMISE Summer Internship in Cancer Biology

PROMISE (Penn State Research training in Oncology and Medicine to Inspire Student Engagement) is a holistic internship program to inspire the next generation of cancer researchers and oncologists. Funded by the National Cancer Institute, PROMISE will provide authentic, team research experiences into cancer prevention and treatment along with workshops to support durable careers in oncology.

Experience the interdisciplinary nature of cancer research in the 21st century by belonging to teams of basic, clinical and population science researchers in a variety of areas of cancer biology.


Cancer research at the Penn State College of Medicine integrates many STEM disciplines. Each potential PROMISE participant possesses unique talents and skills that can contribute to and enhance the cancer research community. We encourage applicants from a variety of disciplines, both early career scientists (undergraduates) and clinicians (medical students). Students from groups underrepresented in the biomedical workforce are encouraged to apply.

  • College undergraduates who have completed at least two years (e.g., rising juniors and seniors) in a STEM major (including engineering, computer science, statistics and biological sciences).
  • Medical students from an accredited US medical school between the first and second years.


  • Contribute to advancing cancer health outcomes through collaborative research.
  • "Research for Life" training focus: learn how lives can be saved through effective cancer prevention and cancer treatment.
  • Experience the language, techniques, strategies and concepts used every day by cancer researchers.
  • Develop networks and professional skills to support your future career.

Program Highlights

  • Interns will be full time members of an interdisciplinary cancer research team and learn first-hand how research discoveries are being translated into clinical or societal practice.
  • Program mentors include PhD, MD and MD/PhD faculty with active research grants or clinical trials, and a strong history of mentorship.
  • "Cancer in Real Life" events with survivors, patients and humanities faculty reinforce why we do research: to positively impact the lives of individuals.
  • "Preventing Cancer in Communities" component provides opportunities to engage in outreach projects.
  • Workshops focused on professional and personal skills needed for sustained research careers.
  • Capstone Research Symposium, winter retreat and conference travel support provide multiple opportunities to develop oral presentation skills and create a career network.