Cleveland Clinic Summer Scholar Program

Maya Mohan

North Bureau Chief

The Cleveland Clinic Summer Scholar Program is a one-of-a-kind opportunity that allows rising seniors to immerse into the hospital setting and see what it is truly like to pursue a career in medicine. The Summer Scholar Program is offered in two sessions during the months of June and July for a duration of 3 weeks. During those weeks, students are assigned to different clinical areas such as Radiology, Emergency Medicine, Surgery, Family Medicine, and a variety of sub-specialties. At the end of the program, students must give a presentation about what they found most interesting during their time in the hospital. 

Dr. Dana Sands, the Program Director, is the founder of the Summer Scholar Program and has been leading it ever since; her reasons for doing so are just as meaningful. “I have been fortunate to have great mentors, having come to the Cleveland Clinic as a medical student myself in 1993. I realize how life changing the mentor mentee relationship can be. My hope is that this experience inspires young people to persevere through the challenges associated with becoming a physician when they see the outcome and the impact they can have on others’ lives”. 

The Program offers rising seniors the chance to be inspired by many different types of healthcare workers as they change their patients’ lives for the better. Whether it was Family Medicine or Surgery, all of the students were able to find their own unique reasons for why they want to pursue medicine and during the graduation ceremony students get to present about it; it’s the day that Dr. Sands appreciates the most. “I am always personally inspired when I see that young students really pick up on the essence of what makes being a physician so special. It is fun to see how you each get excited by surgery and technology, but I am most impressed when you pick up on some of the less tangible aspects like the doctor-patient relationships and the trust we must earn as physicians.” 

My experience at the Summer Scholar Program made me surer that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine, specifically Cardiology. During the catheterization laboratory rotation, commonly referred to as cath lab, I was able to see a wide scope of different cardiac issues that involved blockages, narrowing of the arteries, and so much more. On the other side of the cath lab was the electrophysiology lab (EP) where cardiac rhythm problems are treated. While looking at the wave graphs, the Cardiology team explained to me the relationship between the heart and physics. I found it very intriguing, so I decided to do my presentation on this topic for graduation day. 

Overall, the entire experience has motivated many students to stay on the path to medicine because of how morally rewarding the career can be. If there is one piece of advice Dr. Sands could give students who decide to pursue medicine…it would be, “Don’t be afraid of the hard work, the outcome is more than worth it.”

For more information about the program, visit 

Cleveland Clinic’s Summer Scholar Program gives students a chance to see the true value of being a healthcare worker

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