Otolaryngology Undergraduate Research Program

The Mayo Clinic Otolaryngology Undergraduate Research Program is a paid internship for undergraduate students who are interested in careers in medicine or science and are members of groups that are underrepresented in medicine. It is 10 weeks long and runs from June through August.

The Department of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery offers students the opportunity to see many different career paths in medicine and tailor the experience to their specific interests. Participants gain exposure to the field through activities such as:

  • Participating in an introductory research boot camp
  • Receiving an introduction to clinical and surgical patient care
  • Completing education on health care disparities
  • Attending resident lectures, Grand Rounds and other teaching sessions
  • Assisting in a basic science lab
  • Following audiologists or speech and language pathologists as they assess and care for patients
  • Learning from the department's talented nurses and physician assistants
  • Shadowing surgeons interacting with patients in the clinic or operating room one or two days a week

During the program, students are paired with both faculty and resident mentors on dedicated research projects. Students meet with their mentors weekly and actively engage in the research process. During the final week of the program, students give presentations of their work on the research project, and mentors help students update their resumes to highlight the work completed.

A major goal of the program is to help students create competitive applications for their postgraduate education programs of choice. Faculty and resident mentors identify opportunities to submit research projects to regional or national conferences, and the program provides funding for students to attend and present their work.

The program also provides funding for tutoring or exam preparation for entrance exams required for postgraduate education. This funding is available for one calendar year after the start of the program and includes a relocation reimbursement program. Additionally, a Mayo Clinic photographer will provide each participant with professional headshots.

The Department of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery strives to engage undergraduate research program participants in the departmental community and the larger Mayo Clinic and Rochester communities. Learn more about the department's diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.


The Mayo Clinic Otolaryngology Undergraduate Research Program is available for college students, preferably those between their third and fourth years of school. Candidates must be from a group that is underrepresented in medicine — such as Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander — or must demonstrate a significant financially or educationally disadvantaged background.

To be eligible, students must:

  • Have completed one year of college. Preference is given to those in their junior or third year.
  • Be currently enrolled or returning in the fall semester.
  • Be pursuing an undergraduate degree in a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) field.
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
  • Commit to the program for the full duration of 10 weeks.
  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, refugee or asylee. F-1, J-1, EAD and OPT authorizations are not accepted. No exceptions are allowed.
  • Complete background checks and screens prior to start date.
  • Complete a Post-Offer Placement Assessment (POPA) at least 10 business days prior to the program start date. Please note, this may require you to arrive in Rochester, Minnesota, prior to the program start date. The POPA includes:
    • Urinalysis drug screen
    • Physical history review
    • Vaccination record review, including COVID-19 vaccination
    • Tuberculosis skin test


To apply, complete the following steps:

  • Create an account on the Mayo Clinic College Admissions webpage. When creating an account, select the following options:
    • School of study: Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science Experience.
    • Area of interest: Summer Research Exploration Program (SREP).
  • Once logged in, select "Create a New Application."
  • Select "Start a Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science Experience Application."
  • Complete each section of the application and submit.

After submitting the application, add your supporting documents:

  • Select the "View" button next to your application.
  • Select the "Supplemental Items & Documents" tab.
    • Upload your personal statement. This should be a one-page personal statement highlighting your interest in the program. Please include information about your status as a member of an underrepresented group.
    • Upload your CV or resume.
    • Upload unofficial college transcript(s).
    • Request one letter of recommendation. The recommender will receive an email with a link to upload a letter.

Undergraduate research students


  • David Aka

    University: University of California, Berkeley

    Primary mentors: Semirra L. Bayan, M.D., and Diana M. Orbelo, Ph.D.

    Primary research project: Acoustic comparison and speech-based biomarkers for the detection of gastroesophageal reflux disease: Research-grade versus iPad recordings

  • Yesmeen Elgabori

    University: Connecticut College

    Primary mentors: Gayla L. Poling, Ph.D., and Santiago Romero Brufau, M.D., Ph.D.

    Primary research project: Cochlear implant eligibility: Predictive modeling using machine learning

  • Ralph F. Fleuranvil

    University: Cornell University

    Primary mentors: Robert W. Gao, M.D., and Scott C. Lester, M.D.

    Primary research project: Multiple myeloma cytogenetics influence on the dose response of radiation for local control — conducted in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic Department of Radiation Oncology

  • Aniya Keaton

    University: University of Tennessee

    Primary mentors: Hawa M. Ali, M.D., and Eric J. Moore, M.D.

    Primary research project: Mayo Clinic experience with partial parotidectomy for pleomorphic adenoma

  • Ronsard J. Mondesir

    University: University of Rochester (New York)

    Primary mentors: Luciano C. Leonel, Ph.D., and Carlos D. Pinheiro-Neto, M.D., Ph.D.

    Primary research project: Endoscopic-assisted en bloc pterygomaxillectomy: Anatomical foundation and radiological study

  • Jayla K. Shoffner

    University: North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

    Primary mentors: Krishan R. Jethwa, M.D., and Kaitlin W. Qualls, M.D.

    Primary research project: Radiotherapies for neuroendocrine gastrointestinal tumors — conducted in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic Department of Radiation Oncology

Undergraduate research alumni


  • Ivie C. Arasomwan

    University: University of California, Berkeley

    Primary mentor: Daniel L. Price, M.D.

    Primary research project: Identifying trends that impact the degree of accuracy in guided fibula free flap mandibular reconstruction

  • Ahmed Eltahir

    University: Cornell University

    Primary mentor: Carlos D. Pinheiro-Neto, M.D., Ph.D.

    Primary research project: An anthropometric study of relationships between sella turcica and clival measurements in human skulls

  • Chiamaka (Amaka) A. Lebechi

    University: Texas Tech University

    Primary mentors: Semirra L. Bayan, M.D., and Diana M. Orbelo, Ph.D.

    Primary research project: Use of eye gaze technology in flexible laryngoscopy


For more information, contact:

Jessica M. O'Neill

  • Research Program Coordinator
  • Department of Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery
  • Mayo Clinic
    Gonda Building, 12th Floor
    200 First St. SW
    Rochester, MN 55905
  • Phone: 507-293-0871
  • Email: oneill.jessica@mayo.edu