Chapter 19: The Summer Students Program; Changes in MD Anderson Culture

Title

Chapter 19: The Summer Students Program; Changes in MD Anderson Culture

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Description

In this chapter, Dr. Alexanian talks about the Summer Students Program that brings high school students into MD Anderson to conduct their own research programs.

Identifier

Alexanian_R_02_20140605_S19

Publication Date

6-5-2014

Publisher

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

City

Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center - An Institutional Unit; Institutional Processes; MD Anderson Culture; Education; Growth and/or Change; Critical Perspectives

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Disciplines

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Oncology | Oral History

Transcript

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD

Let’s see. I’m looking at were there any others that stick in your mind? Because we have just a few other committees, but do you think we’ve hit the big ones?

Raymond Alexanian, MD

Yes. May I see the list?

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD

Sure.

Raymond Alexanian, MD

Well, the summer students, I was active. I always had a summer student working with me. These were high school seniors—

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD

Oh, really? Huh.

Raymond Alexanian, MD

—who were going to college. Applications were submitted throughout the state, they came from everywhere, and we selected about—I think about fifteen or twenty in those days. I don’t what it is now. So in the summertime when you see a young person with a blue thing, they’re usually a volunteer, and they’re assigned. In those days, we had to match up the laboratory with the student. Each student was assigned a laboratory. So I, as the chairman, or a member would try to identify doctors who were willing to take a student. I said, “Not just to help you. They have to have a project, they have to submit an outline of the project, and they have to work on the project, and this project has to come up with something maybe a little bit at the end of the summer, so that they can say, ‘I’ve done this. I’ve done that.’”

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD

So it’s a research-focused—

Raymond Alexanian, MD

It’s a research-focused project.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD

Now, how did that project—how did that summer program get started then, and what was the purpose of it?

Raymond Alexanian, MD

This began before I got there. The purpose was— (laughs) It’s one of Dr. Clark’s ideas, I’m sure, is to get young people interested in—he’s full of these ideas to the legislature. I always think he’s trying to get money for it.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD

Yeah, yeah.

Raymond Alexanian, MD

Maybe this is—of course, there was no money. I think there was a stipend, maybe $100 a month, something like that. And they had to provide their own housing here too.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD

Oh, wow.

Raymond Alexanian, MD

So they had to have a facility to stay here, whether it was an aunt or an uncle. And they’re still doing that.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD

Let me just say for the record that the years we’re talking about, this is the Curriculum Committee for Summer Students, and that was 1970 to 1974.

Raymond Alexanian, MD

Yeah, for four years.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD

And from ’72 to ’74, you were chairman of that committee, yeah.

Raymond Alexanian, MD

So you recruit labs and stuff, and then you go through and you get about one hundred applications for fifteen positions or twenty. So you go through them. And many of these students went on graduate school, medical school. Some of them are now on our staff.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD

Oh, wow.

Raymond Alexanian, MD

(laughs) So, in fact, sometimes someone would run into me, says, “You remember me?”

And I says, “Yes, I remember.” So I had that difficulty; I didn’t remember.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD

That’s very interesting.

Raymond Alexanian, MD

[reading list, whispering].

Chapter 19: The Summer Students Program; Changes in MD Anderson Culture

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