Summer research internships are critical for many students to have the time to immerse themselves in a real-world research environment to gain hands-on research experience. Since 2004, Mississippi INBRE has supported undergraduate students to develop research projects in biomedical research labs across Mississippi through our Mississippi INBRE Research Scholars program – in fact 514 students to date – until this year with COVID-19.

However, the strength of any program is the ability to adapt, and that is exactly what we have done with our two other community-based summer research internships that we offer – the Mississippi INBRE Service Scholar (MISS) and the Mississippi INBRE Outreach Scholars (MIOS) programs have been transformed into a virtual research environment for our 48 new scholars we have added to our Mississippi INBRE family! Through the hard work of the Scholars Programs directors, coordinators, and mentors, the MISS and MIOS students are working hard to develop their research projects and community-based social media campaigns to address health disparities in the African-American and Native American communities affecting those in Mississippi and Louisiana, and the impact that COVID-19 has had on these communities since the pandemic began.

The implementation of the online curriculum was challenging but our great team made it happen. We are very proud of our team (Dr. June Gipson, Dr. Jennifer Lemacks, Dr. Tammy Greer, Caroline Iverson, Antwan Nicholson, and Sermin Aras) and the students participating in our 2020 Virtual Scholars Programs this summer, and are excited to share their research projects at summer’s end!