The Dream-to-Goal (DTG) Summer Research Program is designed for motivated community-college students who are interested in exploring research careers in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. This program will equip you with hands-on laboratory skills, provide research experience, and prepare you for success when you transfer to a four-year college or university, and beyond.

As a DTG Scholar, you will live on the VCU campus for 8 weeks and then return for another 8-week session the following summer. You will:

  • Gain hands-on skills and prepare to succeed in Biology
  • Learn about the process of research, how to analyze data, and how to present your findings
  • Attend seminars on biomedical and behavioral research, academic success, and career development
  • Work with research faculty on a daily basis and conduct research in laboratories at VCU
  • Present your research at the Virginia Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting and an annual meeting and at a national scientific conference
  • Live, work, and play with people who share your interests
  • And, get paid a nice part-time wage

Summer Session 1: Biology Boot Camp + Research Internship

The summer begins with a three-week Biology Boot Camp. You will develop laboratory, quantitative, and critical-thinking skills, and learn how to think and work like a scientist.

For the next five weeks, you will apply what you learned in Biology Boot Camp and work as an intern in a biomedical or behavioral research laboratory. You will learn how to analyze and present your research findings.

The following May, you will attend the Virginia Academy of Science annual meeting. There will be additional activities throughout the academic year.

Summer Session 2: Mentored Research Experience + Career Counseling

This summer you will work on your own mentored research project with a VCU scientist and receive one-on-one academic advice and career counseling, and attend research seminars. You also will serve as big brothers and sisters to the first-year DTG Scholars.

The summer culminates with a poster session and closing ceremony.

The following fall, you will present a poster on your research at a national scientific conference with other DTG Scholars. Financial support will be provided.

If this sounds like an exciting opportunity, we encourage you to apply!


Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are from underrepresented groups (Black African-Americans, Hispanic/Chicano/Latino Americans, Native Americans, Natives of Alaska or the U.S. Pacific Islands), have a disability, or are from disadvantaged backgrounds (e.g., have economic challenges, originate from a rural area or inner city, or are the first in their families to attend college). Applicants should have completed Bio 101 & 102 and Mth 158 College Algebra or Mth 163 Precalculus I, and have a minimum GPA of 2.5.

2019 DTG Summer Program application will be available soon.

The final application must include a completed application form, a transcript, and two letters of recommendation. Please refer to the application form for more detailed information about how the application form, transcript, and letters of recommendation should be submitted.

Be proactive! The application form will take several hours to complete. You can complete this application over several sessions. Please note that some questions require more in-depth answers. We want to know what and how you think.

Be sure to ask for letters of recommendation as soon as possible. It will probably take 1-2 weeks for your recommenders to submit letters because they are very busy.

Applications received by Friday, February 17th will be given priority consideration.

For mor information, please contact:

Karen Kester, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
Program Director, VCU Bridges to the Baccalaureate

 Students in the 2018 cohort of VCU Bridges to Baccalaureate: Dream to Goal program, with Karen Kester, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Biology in the College of Humanities and Sciences, and Sarah Golding, Ph.D., assistant professor and director of undergraduate research in the Department of Biology.