Undergraduate Summer Research Program

**NOTE: Due to the current pandemic, it has not been determined if we will be hosting our summer program this year. Please check back in the near future for updated information.**


The USC Neuroscience Experience Undergraduate Research And Learning Program (USC-NEURAL) is devoted to providing outstanding research experiences and professional development opportunities for underrepresented minority undergraduates who have a strong interest in pursuing an advanced degree in the neurosciences. The USC Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP) established the program in 2017, working to provide an enriching on-campus experience for the visiting NEURAL scholars, who work in a laboratory for 8 – 10 weeks during the summer in Los Angeles.

The program has the following goals:

  • Partnering NGP training faculty members with a visiting NEURAL scholar.
  • Provide a roadmap for the scholar to learn about a specific area of neuroscience, read original literature, perform experiments and learn analytical strategies.
  • Foster interactions with current NGP graduate students and other faculty to learn about advanced training in the neurosciences.
  • To discover outstanding opportunities for career development in academic, private sector, education and policy arenas.

The program has weekly scheduled discussion topics that cover various areas.  This year the topics included the following:

  • Ethics and Data Reproducibility Issues
  • Science Advocacy
  • Producing a competitive graduate school application, personal interview and written statement strategies
  • Poster and Manuscripts – The Keys to Reporting
  • Professional career opportunities beyond the Ph.D.

At the end of the summer program, each NEURAL scholar will have the opportunity to prepare and present a poster during a USC hosted research poster session.

Previously, the USC-NEURAL program partnered with Tennessee State University to host undergraduates from the NERVE program, as well as the USC Summer Jump Start Program.  Grants awarded to the program at Tennessee State provided a stipend for each student, along with travel and some living expenses.  The USC Summer Jump Start Program provided a stipend for each student, along with transportation expenses.

2019 USC NEURAL students and their USC NGP mentors:
Audrey Fierro with Ph.D. Candidate Alicia Quihuis
Aliyah Muhammad with Dr. April Thames
Monserrat Orozco with Dr. Lindsey Schier
Derek Phillips with Dr. Beth Smith
Brandon Scott with Dr. Jonas Kaplan

2018 USC NEURAL students and their USC NGP mentors:
Simone Compton with Dr. Jeannie Chen
Jazz Fields with Dr. Dominique Duncan
Elyse Lang with Dr. Beth Smith
Andrew Villa with Dr. Lindsey Schier

2017 USC NEURAL students and their USC NGP mentors:
Idris Kosoko with Dr. Kathleen Page
Zakia Lowery with Dr. Pat Levitt
Courtney Newman with Dr. Bradley Peterson
Jordan Spencer with Dr. Jason Zevin


Students completing their sophomore or junior year at outside institutions prior to the summer are encouraged to use this link to apply.  NGP – NEURAL Summer Program Application 

For more information on our future summer research opportunities contact Dawn Burke, dawnburk@usc.edu