Berea College, Vanderbilt University Collaborate on Internship Program

Berea College and Vanderbilt University have announced the Hal Moses Summer Research Internship Program which allows Berea’s most advanced biology students the opportunity to participate in summer undergraduate research at Vanderbilt. This program, named in honor of Berea College alumnus Dr. Hal Moses, who is director emeritus of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and vice chairman of the Berea College board of trustees, formalizes the arrangement to subsidize the cost of room and board and provide a stipend to participating students.

“This collaborative program between Vanderbilt and Berea has its roots in the wisdom and generosity of Dr. Hal Moses who, a decade ago, invited advanced Berea College biology students into his and his colleagues’ specialized research laboratories at Vanderbilt,” says Berea College President Larry Shinn. “From the experiences of those nearly 40 Berea students, it became clear that such a program both deepened student learning and prepared those students for high-level graduate work. This collaborative program now gains official recognition and support from our two institutions in our formal agreement.”

As part of the agreement, Vanderbilt University will give qualified Berea students who participated in the program the opportunity for early-decision admission to graduate school. Successful students may find it possible to earn an undergraduate degree at Berea, participate in the summer research internship program at Vanderbilt and enter a graduate degree program in the sciences at Vanderbilt with no tuition obligations.

Dr. Dawn Anderson, chairwoman of Berea’s biology department and recipient of Berea’s Seabury Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2006, was instrumental in establishing this internship program, along with Dr. Ron Rosen, professor of biology and recipient of Berea’s Seabury Award in 2008. “This Internship program at Vanderbilt University allows our students to extend and expand the scientific knowledge and research experience they gain at Berea in a total-immersion, summer research experience at a top-ranked biomedical research university,” says Anderson. “The selected students get to experience the environment of a large university research lab in all its diversity.”

In the past decade, nearly 40 Berea students have participated in summer undergraduate research at Vanderbilt. Of those, 84% completed or are in the process of completing advanced degrees at professional and graduate schools, and 13% have gained employment as research assistants or scientists in professional or academic laboratories. One such student was Chris Barton, a Berea graduate who was one of the first students to participate in a summer research internship at Vanderbilt in 2003. He earned a doctorate in biochemistry from Vanderbilt in 2009 and currently works as a research fellow at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center researching epithelial cancers.

“Having the opportunity to spend a summer in a research laboratory at Vanderbilt really helped me better understand what a career in research would entail,” says Barton. “During that summer, I was able to contribute enough to be included as an author on a scientific publication. My experience during that summer convinced me to apply to graduate school, where I completed my doctorate.”

Moses was a member of Barton’s thesis committee and “hooded” Barton during his graduation ceremony from Vanderbilt. After graduating with a chemistry degree from Berea College in 1958, Moses earned a medical degree from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1962. “It has been a pleasure working with the Berea students for the past 10 years,” says Moses. “They were all highly motivated, hard working, intelligent and well prepared. Most had previous laboratory experience working with Drs. Anderson and Rosen at Berea. I am pleased that there is now a formal agreement between Berea and Vanderbilt that will assure continuation of this program that is beneficial to Berea students and Vanderbilt graduate schools through recruitment of outstanding Berea students. It is indeed an honor to be this program’s namesake.”

After residency training in pathology at Vanderbilt and postdoctoral research training at the National Institutes of Health, Moses spent five years as a faculty member in pathology at Vanderbilt and twelve years at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He returned to Vanderbilt 25 years ago as professor and chairman of the department of cell biology in the school of medicine before becoming founding director of Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, which he directed for 12 years.

Moses is well known for his work on the transforming growth factor-beta family of growth regulatory peptides. He has specialized in researching the regulation of cell proliferation by growth factors, oncogenes, growth inhibitors and tumor suppressor genes. He was the recipient of two Outstanding Investigator Awards from the National Cancer Institute. He has served as president of the American Association for Cancer Research and president of the American Association of Cancer Institutes. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and served as chairman of the National Cancer Policy Forum of the Institute of Medicine for the past six years.

Categories: News, People, Places, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: alumni, biology, Hal Moses Summer Research Internship Program, Seabury Award for Excellence in Teaching, Vanderbilt

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 41 states and 76 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.