Project L/EARN - Undergraduate Research Training

112 Paterson Street, 2nd floor


Project L/EARN is an intensive summer research training internship for undergraduate students from groups that have been under-represented in graduate schools in the fields of health, mental health, and health policy research and those from disadvantaged communities, thereby expanding the breadth of health research to include a broader range of ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic issues, concerns and perspectives. Founded by Dr. Diane Alington in 1991, Project L/EARN is co-directed by Faculty Director Jane Miller, Ph.D., and Program Director Diane Davis, B.A. The program is funded by a REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) grant from the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate of the National Science Foundation.

Project L/EARN seeks to attract undergraduates to careers in health research and policy and to provide them with the research training and experience needed to enter graduate programs in health-related fields. By increasing the number of well-trained undergraduate students from low-income families, first generation college-attendees, and members of certain ethnic and cultural groups, Project L/EARN addresses the need identified in the Healthy People Objectives to broaden the range of ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic perspectives in health research.

A highly-structured ten week summer program provides interns with numerous opportunities to acquire and apply new research skills. Interns participate in daily workshops that provide training in research methods, study design, data management, statistics and research writing. Interns are individually matched with faculty mentors who oversee research projects that result in full-fledged research papers and seminar-style presentations. Interns are provided with a stipend, tuition remission, and room and board to ensure accessibility to students from all economic backgrounds.

Ongoing academic year apprenticeships with faculty after the summer training program facilitate continued research training, increasing chances of internships, fellowships and grant opportunities for graduate school. Guidance in the graduate school application process is provided. Grant funding includes support for interns attendance at professional meetings, GRE preparation, and training workshops.

In the years since its founding, Project L/EARN has helped dozens of students enroll in master’s and doctoral programs, and launch successful careers in health research, policy, and academia in fields including public health, psychology, social work, medical sociology, health law, and medicine.