SUMR Scholar Testimonials By Cohort


Lori Dean, 2001 Cohort
"The SUMR program has had a handprint on every single step in my career; I continue to work with many of the investigators that I met in SUMR over 10 years ago, and their colleagues, who have written letters of recommendations for me and who I have grants (R21s, K01s) and publications with. I was even able to give back to the program by becoming the first SUMR scholar to mentor other SUMR Scholars and be a faculty fellow in the program since I have become a fully-funded tenure-track faculty member."

Marisa Turner, 2001 Cohort
"I think participating in SUMR was an amazing experience and was one of the first stepping stones in my path to a career in medicine, specifically in pediatrics since I worked on a project at CHOP with Dr. Giardino. I am using those skills still today in the Quality Committee at Children’s Hospital of Orange County as we work to improve the quality of primary care provided in the hospital's network of primary care providers, with a current project involving a photo tool that screens for amblyopia and vision problems in infants and small children."

Andrea Puig, 2004 Cohort
"SUMR has a massive impact in my life by not only convincing me to apply to a PhD in health economics, but also by making me fall in love in with health care services research. SUMR also gave me important tools to apply in my research endeavors and open my world to the HCS field."

Kristal Prather, 2005 Cohort
"Because of SUMR, I continued to pursue research activities throughout medical school and residency and was published in a paper in 2018."



Felisha Faulkner, 2006 Cohort
"SUMR helped me build my CV, develop a network of friends, and realize that I didn’t want to do research in the end, which saved me time by figuring this out early. My experience helps me relate to my customers today, who are surgeons, as I manage a variety of residents and fellows."

Gadareth Higgs, 2006 Cohort
"SUMR has positively affected my trajectory. In addition to serving as my first US undergraduate summer research experience, it helped me to realize the power of networking and socializing in general."


Sunita Desai, 2007 Cohort
"SUMR was defining for me. It inspired me to pursue a career in research and health policy/economics!"



Jeff Lawi, 2007 Cohort
"SUMR was a great way for me to understand the power of data and analysis to drive impact. At a data-driven company like Google, being able to synthesize data in an actionable way is very valuable."



Victoria Perez, 2007 Cohort
"During SUMR, I developed a network of mentors and learned enough about graduate school to apply for a PhD. It had a definitive and clear effect on my decision to get a PhD and then pursue a tenure-track position."



GJ Melendez-Torres, 2008 Cohort
"SUMR got me started on research! It gave me a jump start that led to a doctorate and an academic career."



Ambar La Forgia, 2009 Cohort
"SUMR led me on my current PhD path at Wharton and to an academic career. If it wasn't for SUMR I would not be where I am now. I am very grateful for this program!"


Romero Santiago, 2011 Cohort
"My SUMR experience led me to two wonderful internship at the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation in Dallas and the Bureau of Epidemiology for the Houston Department of Health and Human Services. I give SUMR credit for confirming my passion for health services research and health economics, leading me to pursue a 4-year MD/MPH program at UT Southwestern before entering residency, all while serving on American Medical Association delegations and receiving national Public Health Awards."


Jessica Clymer, 2011 Cohort
"SUMR introduced me to the valuable and diverse roles that nurses have in health care, and after meeting so many inspiring nurses, I decided to attend nursing school. As a first generation undergraduate who wasn’t sure where I fit in with healthcare, SUMR gave me an extremely supportive environment as I explored various career opportunities and it helped me to establish strong mentors who helped shape who I am as a professional today."


Karlos Bledsoe, 2013 Cohort
"The SUMR program allowed me to work with Dr. Chyke Doubeni to analyze colorectal cancer screening methodologies, which helped me learn and employ analytical tools to assist clients in the biopharmaceutical industry in my role as a consultant. These pivotal experiences will continue to be of importance while learning more about the legal and corporate considerations in healthcare delivery as a JD/MBA student."


Pearl Eni, 2013 Cohort
"Since SUMR, I have since attended business school, medical school, and completed multiple NIH research fellowships to better understand the factors that shape health. SUMR taught me how to have an interdisciplinary approach to health, which allowed me to see how education improves public health and promotes health equity, pushing me to pursue policy work with the goal of increasing accessibility and quality of health and education in this country."


Alisha Reginal, 2013 Cohort
"The SUMR program played a major role in shaping my approach to health services research, policy, and management. As a result, I works within the nexus of these fields."


Randy Burson, 2013 Cohort
"SUMR opened up a new world of research possibilities I never knew existed before, completely changing the course of my education and future career and providing me the opportunity to jump both feet first into health services research. LDI offered a network of outstanding mentors and the opportunity to develop a toolkit to address pressing healthcare questions, which I have utilized as a post-baccalaureate researcher in the Social Science Lab in Perioperative Medicine and as a current MD/PhD student in Anthropology at Penn."

Neel Koyawala, 2013 Cohort
"Participating in the SUMR program strengthened my interest in health services research, improved my data analysis and statistical program skills, and connected me with peers and research mentors who I am still actively in touch with today. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be part of SUMR and could not have imagined a better use of my summer after my Sophomore year."

Hillary Bonuedie, 2014 Cohort
"SUMR gave me exposure to public health, non-clinical academic research, and great connections while enhancing my professionalism. Because I benefited from the SUMR program, I wanted to give back, which led to my involvement in the Lang Youth Program where we teach a public health curriculum, while helping our scholars develop social and professional skills that they will need in any future profession."

Shamarlon Yates, 2014 Cohort
"The SUMR program let me work at Penn's Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics, which introduced me to the healthcare space and influenced my current career path within consulting to use a perspective that focuses on helping patients make better choices. Most of all, SUMR has given me a great community of friends and mentors who still contribute to my growth and development long after my time in the program."

Mounika Kanneganti, 2014 Cohort
"SUMR helped me realize how I am interested in health services research, especially in community and population health programs. I value the training, connections, and opportunities that the program has afforded me and I envision myself as a physician involved in research and community outreach."


Ruchita Pendse, 2014 Cohort
"The SUMR program gave me access to mentorship and tools that have proven invaluable in my pursuit of my undergraduate degree in health policy, my work in global health, and now in my scholarship in medical school. Being immersed in LDI's community of individuals passionate about health services research helped hone my interest in this field, and has given me lifelong mentors and friends."


Tyler Chavez, 2014 Cohort
"SUMR was a transformative time in my life since it was the first time I had the chance to work alongside physicians who were both clinically excellent and committed to changing the way healthcare was delivered from an operational standpoint. I knew starting the program that I wanted to be a physician one day, but my view of the role of a physician grew exponentially as a result of my participation, letting me see patient problems in the context of our healthcare system as a whole."

Sergio Gonzalez, 2014 Cohort
"Without SUMR, I never would have had the exposure to academia necessary to develop an interest in a PhD and career as a professor."

Siyabonga Ndwandwe, 2014 Cohort
"My SUMR experience opened my eyes to the applications of economics and quantitative analysis in optimizing health policy and healthcare services delivery, balancing my all-time interest in health care and newly found interest in economics. The SUMR/LDI network also helped me land my first job out of college at the Urban Institute Health Policy Center, where I contributed towards generating evidence that elevated the debate on health insurance policy using the Health Insurance Policy Simulation Model (HIPSM)."

Enrique Torres Hernandez, 2015 Cohort
"The SUMR program changed my life and I will forever be grateful to everyone involved."



Kelly McClure, 2015 Cohort
"The SUMR program encouraged me to apply to PhD programs and helped me explore careers in academia/research, making it the primary reason why I chose to pursue a joint JD/PhD program. I also gained an amazing network of friends, mentors, and colleagues while spending the summer in Philadelphia, which was an amazing opportunity for someone from a rural community."


Tammy Jiang, 2015 Cohort
"During the SUMR program, I worked with Dr. Therese Richmond on a project examining the emotional responses to traumatic injuries among urban Black men, which sparked my interest in disentangling the multilevel risk and protective factors for mental disorders across time and geography. In addition, this experience was an important contributor to my decision to pursue psychiatric epidemiology in my doctoral program! I also worked on a project with Dr. David Grande where I learned about conducting qualitative research and had the opportunity to publish a first-author manuscript, in addition to giving a poster presentation at a national conference. Dr. Grande is an amazing mentor who continues to support me in my research endeavors!"

Mei-Lynn Hua, 2015 Cohort
"The SUMR program has had an incredible impact on my life; at one time, I was considering going to medical school or perhaps becoming an MD/PhD since I really wanted to do clinical work. My SUMR experience was an immersive introduction to the world of health policy and health economics research, featuring important mentors and brilliant friends who made me recognize my passion for research and led me to return to Penn as I pursue a PhD at Wharton!"

Omar Mansour, 2015 Cohort
"SUMR further assured me that I am interested in academic work and healthcare research. It provided me with the motivation to attend graduate school."


Adjoa Mante, 2015 Cohort
"SUMR exposed me to a variety of fields in health services research and was a critical to my decision to pursue a career focused on health equity and program evaluation in addition to medical practice."



John Gehlbach, 2015 Cohort
"Thanks to the SUMR program, I was first exposed to the value of research and this drove me to continue research even during dental school. Last summer, I started a project with Dr. Marion Frank on how taste and smell are affected by head trauma, which allows me to have my clinical education coexist with my research experiences."


Carlos Carmona, 2016 Cohort
"The SUMR program provided me with an alternative perspective on how public health practitioners can impact disadvantaged communities through research. Before SUMR, I was under the impression that I could only pursue a medical or law degree to make an impact on my local community, but through the mentorship of Penn faculty in two projects, I was able to see how research is necessary to initiate change from individual to societal levels. I walked out of the SUMR program with tools that prepared me to pursue my own research in my graduate studies and to vocalize the need for research to ignite necessary change for disadvantaged populations."


Sarah Rudasill, 2016 Cohort
"SUMR introduced me to the world of clinical research and helped me develop skills to conduct large database analyses. I employ these skills as a research fellow in the Cardiovascular Outcomes Research Laboratory (CORELAB) at UCLA."


Robin Wang, 2017 Cohort
"SUMR has had a tremendous impact on my path/career: SUMR sparked my interest in health services research, connected me with amazing mentors, and now as a medical school student, I am further pursuing my interests in health services research this summer at Penn with my SUMR mentor."


Mohamed Abdirisak, 2018 Cohort
"SUMR has been instrumental in enabling me to pivot into Healthcare Management and Policy. I now have significant research experience and background working within healthcare systems and research settings. I have significantly more hard skills, and can apply them to many areas within healthcare. I have also become highly attuned to the culture of academia, and have gained a glimpse into how to perform research at a high level."


Tania Calle, 2018 Cohort
"I loved my SUMR experience. The research skills I gained have served me throughout my undergraduate studies and my current position at the NIH. But perhaps most importantly, I met so many incredible and thoughtful people who I am certain are/will change the world."


Amanda Carrillo-Perez, 2018 Cohort
"I definitely want to pursue a career in research. SUMR showed me that there are many avenues for pursuing a career in research and a number of degrees I may receive as well."