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Student Leadership

Student engagement is a central feature of our program. Students have the unique ability to shape the MSTP by working closely with leadership to evaluate its activities and develop initiatives to meet changing student needs. Students can assume formal leadership roles within the MSTP through one of the following groups:

  • The Student Council consists of elected student leaders who meet regularly with program directors and staff to share student concerns and discuss program-related matters. The Student Council co-chairs oversee and coordinate the Council's responsibilities, which include (but are not limited to): brainstorming programming for the annual Student-Faculty Retreat; organizing surveys and other student initiatives to gather student feedback related to the program; and developing student wellness initiatives.

  • The Diversity and Inclusion Committee meets monthly with program leadership to advise on matters related to diversity and inclusion and to assist with initiatives to promote a culture of equity and inclusion within the program and the University at large.

  • The Admissions Task Force is a student-led committee that works closely with our Chair of Admissions and our Admissions Committee. The group assists with recruitment activities and participates in the annual review of the MSTP interview and admissions process.

 A description of some of the initiatives these committees have helped develop can be found below.

Mentoring Events

Blitz Talks

This series of two events is aimed at helping early-phase students find a thesis adviser. Over the course of a few hours, students are exposed to the research of upwards of 40 faculty members at Northwestern. These events are meant to serve as a brief introduction and to foster future communication with advisers.

Big Sibs Program

The MSTP Big Sibs program pairs each incoming first-year medical student with an older graduate-phase student. The goal is to provide mentorship focused on choosing an adviser, taking step 1 and transitioning to graduate school. The MSTP office offers donuts and coffee to facilitate meetings between sibs.

Coffee Talk

In this monthly informal get-together, students meet with the directors to discuss topics of interest, suggested by a student. Past topics include:

  • How to balance coursework and research during the first two years
  • How to start a family during MSTP training
  • Whether it is possible to be a serious scientist and also a surgeon
  • General information and open forum session
  • Preparation for medical school and graduate school phase transitions

PSTP Interaction

Student Council makes targeted efforts to reach out to the Physician-Scientist Training Programs (PSTP) at Northwestern. We aim to provide MSTP students with opportunities to learn more about the PSTP program and identify potential mentors.

MSTP Student-Faculty Retreat

This two-day event involves a combination of scientific and social activities held around the city of Chicago. While the format varies slightly from year to year, a constant feature is that all students in the research and clinical phases of training present their work in either oral or poster presentations. The students also invite two physician-scientists as speakers: a recently appointed faculty member and a Northwestern MSTP alumnus. Each gives a brief research talk and discusses their career path. Recreational activities round out the weekend.

Speaker Series

Women's Forum on Physician-Scientists

This annual series of conversations between invited speakers and current students addresses the unique experiences of women in science and medicine. We strive to offer guidance for all trainees as we move forward in our training careers.

Diverse Perspectives of Physician-Scientists (DPPS)

The annual lecture series highlights the diversity of physician-scientists and exposes current trainees to physician-scientists who either identify as an underrepresented minority in medicine and/or research populations where health disparities exist.

Social Events

Inter-MSTP Events

Student Council works in conjunction with the other MD-PhD programs in Chicago to plan events that allow for interaction and communication between students. Each year, there is an academic presentation hosted at one of the schools and a social event where all are invited.

Admissions Social Events

Meeting and interacting with current students is an integral part to the MSTP admissions process. Student Council works with the MSTP office to recruit and organize current students to participate in the interview and Second Look social events and serve on student panels.