UM Scholars Program

My favorite part was learning about the study and creating a virtual poster that I presented to my peers. Research is fundamental in nursing because health care is constantly changing. Thus, research will help future nurses, like me, to improve patient care and better practices. Amy Zhao, Project: Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias
Matriculation to UMSON Spring 2022
It was great being exposed to various aspects of research, from data collection and analysis to participant intake and study design. As a future nurse, this experience will help me gain a new perspective on best practices and advancements in patient care. Kira Mazel, Project: Pain
Matriculation to UMSON Fall 2022
I was able to learn about geriatric care along with the essentials to make residents’ experience exceptional in nursing home facilities. Nia Kooiman, Project: Palliative Care
Matriculation to UMSON Fall 2021
The UM Scholars program was a great opportunity to learn about the practices involved in nursing research. I will definitely take the skills I developed and the knowledge I gained to nursing school and beyond! Michelle Soltz, Project: Pain
Matriculation to UMSON Spring 2022


To offer mentored research training that allows students to expand their knowledge and enlighten their career choices.

University of Maryland Strategic Partnership Mpowering the State LogoThe UM Scholars program is a competitive paid summer internship program that connects students from the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) with faculty from the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) to collaborate on research projects. Funding is provided by the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State (or MPower).

Faculty members mentor students during the 10-week summer program with the hopes of expanding their knowledge about specific topics in nursing research and exposing them to various research careers available to doctoral-prepared nurses.

Program Details

  • Commences the Tuesday following Memorial Day, ending in early August.
  • Specific times are to be mutually defined and agreed upon by the student and mentor.
  • Work is expected to occur during typical business hours; Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm.
  • Students receive $5,500 in two installments.
  • All research is designed to be conducted at the University of Maryland, School of Nursing.
  • Work may be offered via a hybrid capacity that involves 4 in-person days and 1-Remote. · Travel to and parking at UMB is the responsibility of the student.
  • At the end of the internship, students are required to participate in an oral presentation or a poster presentation on their completed project.
  • Students and mentors are asked to complete evaluation materials on the experience.
  • This is a competitive program. Applicants are not guaranteed a placement or an interview.
  • All applicants should be in good academic standing in his/her respective school/program. (Information will be verified with your school before awarding a position in the program.)
  • Students must be enrolled in the Spring 2024 semester full-time at the University of Maryland, College Park with a declared academic interest in nursing to be considered.

What You'll Do

  • You'll be exposed to each element of the research process, including lab skills, data skills, and data collection.
  • Tasks will vary by project and faculty member.
  • This experience takes place in-person at the UMB campus.

Application Process

In preparation to complete the application, please note that you will be asked to:

  • Upload your resume
  • Upload a copy of your unofficial transcripts
  • Identify your top two choices of projects*
  • Upload a Statement of Interest**
  • Upload 2 Letters of Recommendation***

* See catalog of projects below.

** The statement should be no longer than 1.5 pages in APA Format. While there is not a specific prompt, we encourage you to tell us more about your research interests and why you wish to engage in this research opportunity. You should address the projects you are interested in working on (please state a first and second choice), and how you feel that this experience will advance your academic interests.

For example: why you want to do summer research; the career goal(s) you have in mind; what traits make you a good fit for a potential career in research; any past research experience (hypothesis? what you did/did it work? what you learned about this topic or yourself)

*** For the letter of recommendation, please tell the faculty member or employer what program you are applying to and request that they provide a short letter to attest to your scholarship, character, and professional promise. They should state how long they have known you and in what capacity. The letter does not need to be lengthy or detailed. Consider tackling this assignment first since it has a longer lead time.


Students must be enrolled full-time in the Spring 2024 semester at the University of Maryland, College Park with a declared academic interest in nursing to be considered. The ideal candidate would be interested in developing academic research skills in advancing original nursing knowledge. Candidate will have demonstrated academic success in science coursework with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. If you are a full-time UMCP undergraduate student on a pre-nursing track, you are eligible and encouraged to apply.

Current Projects


Luana Colloca headshotPrinciple Investigator:

Luana Colloca, MD, PhD, MS 
Professor, University of Maryland School of Nursing
Adjunct Professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Project Description:

The feeling of pain is not just a sensory experience, but is also influenced by emotions, beliefs and expectations, making pain a highly subjective experience. This is evident in clinical practice, where the behavior of the physician and the treatment context can strongly influence the pain experience of patients.  The Colloca lab is involved in several studies examining perception of pain and the mechanisms of pain and pain reduction. 

Time-restricted eating to address cancer-related fatigue

Kleckner, AmberPrincipal Investigator:

Amber Kleckner, PhD
Assistant Professor

Project Description:

Description: Most people experience fatigue during cancer treatment that, unfortunately, can persist long after the cancer is cured. We don't know why fatigue does not resolve, but we hypothesize that it could be related to cancer- and cancer treatment-induced dysregulation of circadian rhythm. We implemented a time-restricted eating program during cancer survivorship to help regulate circadian rhythm and alleviate persistent cancer-related fatigue. This project will involve analyzing data from this completed study, as well as meeting with participants and collecting data from an ongoing time-restricted study.

A Measure for Shared Decision Making in Maternity Care through Communicating CHOICEs

Rachel BremanPrincipal Investigator:

Rachel Blankstein Breman, PhD, MPH, RN
Assistant Professor

Project Description:

With improved trust, birth workers can provide better care and offer resources to birthing people and their families that they may not have otherwise offered. Trauma-informed communication methods can also help address the social determinants of health and equity.

This project aims to provide a metric for measuring Shared Decision Making (SDM) from the pregnant person’s perspective during their prenatal and intrapartum hospital care; this will be achieved by testing the validity and reliability of a revised version of the CHOICEs measure. Researchers expect to establish the reliability and validity of an SDM measure in perinatal care in English and Spanish and to determine whether the SDM items perform equally across different clinical situations and demographic groups. Using a trauma-informed method of communication during perinatal care can foster trust between patients and birth workers.

Family Partnership and Community engagement to support adolescent adaptation in pediatric illness

Kim Mooney-DoylePrinciple Investigator:

Kim Mooney-Doyle, PhD, RN, CPNP-AC
Assistant Professor

Project Description:

Do you want to be part of a team that strives to improve the health of children and families living with serious illness? Then, consider joining Dr. Mooney-Doyle's team and share your skills in social media design and dissemination and data management! In this project, we are collaborating with community partners and a variety of interdisciplinary professionals to learn about the experiences of adolescent siblings and parents of youth with serious, life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer, rare diseases, congenital heart disease. We specifically want to understand the impact of everyday family processes, like communication, on this experience to create an intervention or service that will support families, build on the strengths, and meet them where they are as they navigate life-threatening illness. This will be a great experience for those interested in the impact of chronic or serious illness on families or for those interested in child health.

Integrating mental health services into HIV care using a steeped care model

Principle Investigator:

Charlotte Nwogwugwu, DrPH, BSN, RN, HIV PCP, CPH-BC
Assistant Professor

Project Description:

Training sessions are pivotal in equipping healthcare providers with the competence needed to address the intersection of mental health and HIV care comprehensively. This longitudinal research initiative focused-project centers on the integration of mental health services within the context of HIV care in Owerri, Nigeria. This project’s primary objective is to bolster the capabilities of healthcare professionals, including nurses, community health workers, and physicians, by providing comprehensive training programs encompassing the screening, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental health disorders. To execute this endeavor effectively, the project lead will undergo intensive residential training programs during visits to Nigeria. During the summer, the project lead will partake in a refresher course while also guiding the student intern through a similar training session to ensure the retention and application of acquired knowledge and skills. Subsequently, during the summer, we will facilitate a refresher training session to ensure the retention and application of acquired knowledge and skills. The research methodology used in this project will incorporate a multifaceted approach. In addition to collecting quantitative data through surveys, we will recognize the significance of qualitative insights. Thus, we will also engage with various stakeholders, including healthcare professionals, and community representatives, to conduct interviews. These interviews will serve the dual purpose of gaining a holistic understanding of the current state of mental healthcare in the region, as well as identifying existing gaps and opportunities for improvement. By adopting this comprehensive approach to research and capacity building, we aim not only to contribute to the betterment of mental healthcare in Owerri but also to serve as a model for similar initiatives in regions facing similar challenges at the intersection of mental health and infectious diseases such as HIV.

Health Promotion Senior Housing Clinics

Barbara Resnick headshotPrinciple Investigator:

Barbara Resnick, PhD, RN, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP
Associate Dean for Research

Project Description:

Participating in hands on data collection and entry as part of an interdisciplinary senior housing clinic program. The program provides weekly half day senior housing clinics to older adults in low-income senior housing facilities. Activities include health assessments, medication reviews, blood pressure monitoring among others. The team is an interdisciplinary team of clinicians and researchers. Senior Housing Clinics: Involves participating in a weekly senior housing clinic off campus that includes hands on assessments of older adults living in these communities. The work is focused on health promotion and screenings for things like hearing, foot care, and blood pressure monitoring, annual wellness visits and immunizations. In addition, data analysis is included and medication coding. A study focused on implementation of a Pain Clinical Practice Guideline in nursing homes involves the recruitment and collection of data on residents living with dementia in these sites and obtaining data on how staff evaluate and manage pain. This would involve completing institutional review board training and participating with our research teams in the field (a variety of nursing homes in the Baltimore / Washington area. It would also involve some data management and experience being part of a research team.

Studying pain, neuropathy, distress, and related symptoms in patients with cancer

Principle Investigator:

Ian Kleckner, PhD, MPH
Associate Professor

Project Description:

Patients with cancer often experience additional symptoms from the disease and treatment itself. This project under the mentorship of Ian Kleckner, PhD, MPH, who directs the Cancer Control Mind & Body Lab, and the SYNAPSE Center at University of Maryland Baltimore involves analyzing data from patients with cancer including symptoms that they experience from their cancer, chemotherapy, and the effects of health behaviors such as exercise. This project could also involve theoretical work on developing biopsychosocial models of symptoms. The work will culminate in publishing results as a scientific manuscript ultimately to better prevent, treat, and predict symptoms to help patients with cancer.