Undergraduate students who are part of traditionally underrepresented groups in the sciences (or STEM)

1.  Students must come from at least one of of the following backgrounds:

  • African American/Black
  • Hispanic/Latino(a)
  • Native Indian/Pacific Islander

Additionally, those identifying as LGBTQ+ may also apply for the program.

2.  Students eligible for this program must be at one of the levels listed below their undergraduate program:

  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior

3.  Students must be able to fully dedicate 8-10 weeks between the end of May and mid-August.

4.  Students are required to give a presentation at a symposium at the end of their program.

Through the AHA-Allen Initiative in Brain Health and Cognitive Impairment supported by the Allen Frontiers Group, we will also fund two students per project.  

The AHA SURE program committed support to the efforts of the AHA Southeast Region HBCU Scholars Program for three years since 2019 by providing a stipend to cover ten scholars per year to support the expansion of its program in Georgia and Louisiana.

How to Apply

Students may apply to any or all of the following Institutions, as long as they meet the criteria listed.  A student chosen by more than one site will choose the site where they wish to work.

Boston University
Contact: Justin Ragasa – [email protected](link opens in new window)(link opens in new window)(link opens in new window)

Medical College of Wisconsin

Apply: MCW Supporting Research Undergraduate Experience (SURE) 
Contact: Dr. Allison Devan - [email protected] / Erin Thierault - [email protected](link opens in new window)(link opens in new window)(link opens in new window)

Northwestern University (details to come)

Stanford University
Apply: Stanford Undergraduate Summer Research Program
Contact: [email protected]

Vanderbilt University
Apply: Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy
More details about the program: SURE site-specific at Vanderbilt


What’s Next?

If you received an acceptance letter to the SURE program from one of the participating institutions, please follow these steps:

A. Students selected for one of the programs will receive an email from AHA staff to begin the process of setting up the award in Proposal Central.

B  Awarded students must create an AHA account and an ORCID account and connect them to ProposalCentral. (Login Instructions here)

C. Be prepared to enter some details into ProposalCentral through a mini-application process. (An application is needed in order to set up your award.)

D. Once the award is set up, the student will receive an Award Letter from the AHA.SURE and HBCU Scholars pause for a photo at AHA Scientific Sessions 2019

E. Students are expected to submit various “Deliverables” including an Award Agreement (at the beginning of your program) and a Scientific Report (at the end of your program). Additional uploads may be requested. SURE Scholars are required to participate in a symposium at the end of their program.

Scientific Sessions

Each year, AHA SURE scholars are invited to attend AHA's Scientific Sessions, alongside the AHA HBCU Scholars Program participants.

Scientific Sessions is held each November. Students are highly encouraged to participate in this highly enriching experience. Those who require a letter to be excused from classes may request one from AHA Staff.

AHA SURE Program Serves as a Model for Building Multi-institutional Partnerships

Provides research experiences that overcome institutional barriers and support students’ interests, commitment, and ability to persist in science, technology, engineering and math fields

Decorative Image of Article heading in JAHA“Innovations in Undergraduate Research Training Through Multisite Collaborative Programming: American Heart Association Summer Undergraduate Research Experience Syndicate” is based on the authors' leadership of the AHA SURE pilot program that supports diversity in biomedical science. Written by Tinuola B. Ajayi , MBBS, MPH; Adrienne L. Mueller , PhD; Ike S. Okwuosa, MD; Asha Barshilia, MA, MPH; Joseph C. Wu , MD, PhD; Emelia J. Benjamin, MD, ScM; Joey V. Barnett, PhD, and Kendra H. Oliver, PhD., the article was published in the April 7, 2022, issue of JAHA. 

The SURE Scholars program began in 2019 with in-person experiences and went virtual for 2020 and 2021. The paper looks at the characteristics and participant feedback on both methods. Excerpts:

What Is New?

  • We built multi-institutional digital partnerships and provided research experiences for undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • These experiences provide benefits that include Personal Gains, Research Skills, Thinking and Working Like a Scientist, and Attitudes and Behaviors.

What Are the Clinical Implications?

  • The AHA Supporting Undergraduate Research Experiences (SURE) serves as a model for building multi-institutional partnerships.
  • Our effort informs the development of future undergraduate research training programs, significantly maximizing a hybrid training modality.
  • We outline the pros and cons of in-person and virtual programming and make recommendations moving forward in a post-pandemic world with hybrid work and learning systems.

Read the full publication.