Vanderbilt-Sewanee Research Experience (V-SURE) – Hayden Byrd, C'17

The Vanderbilt-Sewanee Undergraduate Research Experience (V-SURE) offers the opportunity for students to get a firsthand look over two summers into the careers of medicine and medical research at a world-class institution. Under the umbrella program of the Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy (VSSA), V-SURE participants are placed into a lab to conduct research and given the opportunity to shadow physicians around the Vanderbilt hospital. As part of the VSSA, participants have weekly lunch sessions to discuss research progress, as well as weekly seminars informing participants about anything from graduate/medical school application process and strategies to the emerging practice of personalized medicine in cancer patients. The more physicians I have shadowed and specialties I have seen, the more I have begun to understand how the different medical perspectives work to form a cohesive whole. I saw this broader, cohesive view of medicine more fully in my second summer while shadowing in pathology. Where my previous shadowing experiences have shown me surgery to remove a tumor as well as physicians consulting with patients on a plan based on biopsy and genotyping findings, pathology shadowing provided me with the knowledge of how a diagnosis is made before a treatment plan is even discussed.