Although research is not required for admission to medical school, most students who matriculate at highly competitive institutions have performed some type of research, be it for the summer or during the school year. There are many ways to find research opportunities.
At Vanderbilt, you can receive course credit in many of the basic sciences, including Biology, Chemistry, Neuroscience, etc. You can also complete Honors Research for many majors if you are interested in making a larger, long term commitment. Many labs at Vanderbilt are also able to pay work-study students or take volunteers if you are not interested in course credit. When you begin to look for research opportunities, go to the departmental website that you are interested in and look through the list of faculty members and their research interests. Start by emailing five faculty members you would be interested in working with; tell them a little bit about yourself and why you may be qualified to and interested in working in their lab. You may have to email more than five researchers because they may not all have openings for undergraduate students, but don't get discouraged!
If you would rather apply for summer opportunities, you can find them here at Vanderbilt, near your home town, or even abroad! If you are interested in a particular research institution, go to their website and look at their undergraduate opportunities. The HPAO here at Vanderbilt also sends out opportunities periodically, so make sure to read their emails! Here is a link to the HPAO internship page, where you can find outside opportunities:
VUSURP - Vanderbilt University Summer Undergraduate Research Program Ten week full time summer program open to Vanderbilt undergraduates. A $4000 stipend is awarded. Research can be in any undergraduate field and must have a faculty sponsor. Preference given to rising seniors with minimum 3.0 GPA. Applications are due early March.
Track 1: Basic Sciences Program This program is open to undergraduates interested in biomedical sciences. The minimum GPA requirement is 3.0 and students should be interested in pursuing graduate degrees (M.D. or Ph. D.). Applications are due February 1. There are multiple programs within the Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy. Click on the individual programs to learn more specifics and eligibility requirements:
Track 2: Undergraduate Clinical Research Internships Program This program is open to undergraduate students interested in a career in medicine. Students will shadow a physician and participate in their own research project. 3.5 GPA is required. Applications are due February 1.