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

  • Amira Aladetan

    University: Carleton College

    Primary mentors: Santiago Romero-Brufau, M.D., Ph.D., and Dante J. Merlino, M.D., Ph.D. (otolaryngology resident)

    Primary research project: Development of a patient message repository, enhancing medical communication with natural language processing

  • Ivonne Arguelles

    University: University of Notre Dame

    Primary mentors: Semirra L. Bayan, M.D., and Heather L. Johns, M.D. (otolaryngology resident)

    Primary research project: Examining the patient experience of awake laryngoscopy procedures

  • Juan (Diego) Bayona

    University: University of Texas at Dallas

    Primary mentors: David M. Routman, M.D., Mark R. Waddle, M.D., and Daniel K. Ebner, M.D., M.P.H. (radiation oncology resident)

    Primary research project: Identifying cancer recurrence from the electronic medical record: Using natural language processing to interpret pathology results

  • Faith Hodo

    University: Spelman College

    Primary mentors: Carlos D. Pinheiro Neto, M.D., Ph.D., and Kelly L. Staricha, M.D. (otolaryngology resident)

    Primary research project: Design of a septal mucosal flap for the reconstruction of oropharyngeal and palatal defects

  • Tafadzwa Mapiki

    University: Youngstown State University

    Primary mentors: Krishan R. Jethwa, M.D., and Kelsey M. Frechette, M.D. (radiation oncology resident)

    Primary research project: Patient-reported outcomes for patients treated with preoperative chemoradiation for hilar cholangiocarcinoma

  • Andre Nichols

    University: Virginia Commonwealth University

    Primary mentors: Eric J. Moore, M.D., and Hawa M. Ali, M.D. (otolaryngology resident)

    Primary research project: Extent of resection in mucoepidermoid carcinoma involving facial nerve

  • Tiffany Nyamao

    University: Carleton College

    Primary mentors: Rahma Warsame, M.D., and Joselle M. Cook, M.B.B.S. (medical oncologist)

  • Gloria Rodriguez

    University: University of California, Davis

    Primary mentors: Jacob K. Dey, M.D., and Nick R. Randall, M.D. (otolaryngology resident)

    Primary research project: Comparing perception of facial nerve flaccid facial paralysis and aberrant reinnervation syndrome using eye-tracking technology

  • Amadou Toure

    University: Carleton College

    Primary mentors: Katharine A. Price, M.D., and Joselle M. Cook, M.B.B.S. (medical oncologist)

    Primary research project: A qualitative study exploring the perspectives of healthcare providers and research staff on barriers and facilitators of successful recruitment and treatment of minority patients on therapeutic cancer clinical trials

Undergraduate research alumni


  • David Aka
  • Yesmeen Elgabori
  • Ralph F. Fleuranvil
  • Aniya Keaton
  • Ronsard J. Mondesir
  • Jayla K. Shoffner


  • Ivie C. Arasomwan
  • Ahmed Eltahir
  • Chiamaka (Amaka) A. Lebechi


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