The Carle Illinois College of Medicine REACH program is an intensive clinical and research immersion summer experience for undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career as a physician. In addition to helping students prepare for medical school, REACH was developed to grow the presence of students underrepresented in the field of medicine.

The summer REACH research experience for undergraduates program will be offered remotely in 2021. Participants will not come to campus. The 10-week program will run from June 1 to July 30, 2021.

The application period for the 2021 summer program is now closed. Applications for 2022 will open December 2021.

REACH Program Highlights

As a REACH participant, you will:

  • Be a part of a class of aspiring medical professionals.
  • Gain virtual clinical and research immersion experience, while having access to the larger university Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP), maximizing your networking opportunities.
  • Work hand-in-hand with faculty mentors and graduate students during your research and clinical training.
  • Receive medical school admissions preparation and virtually experience the JUMP Simulation Center.
  • Participate in professional workshops on a variety of topics to support your personal and professional growth, including a Research Writing Seminar designed to teach how to write and publish academic papers.
  • Present your research at the virtual 2021 Illinois Summer Research Symposium at the end of your program.
  • Have access to the University of Illinois Library, one of the largest public academic libraries in the United States.
  • Have an opportunity to exchange ideas and broaden your knowledge through research team participation.
      • You will be assigned to a research team consisting of participants from similar majors. Your team will meet regularly under the leadership of a Research Team Leader who is pursuing an advanced degree in a related field of study. The research team serves as a mechanism to help refine your research project and build relationships with other students.
  • Receive a $5,000 stipend for participation in the REACH program, a student technology stipend of $150, and 3-4 hours of independent study credit.

Due to COVID-19, the summer 2021 REACH program has been optimized as a remote research experience. Participants may perform data analysis, literature reviews, in-home testing, and more. Pandemic-related capacity challenges could impact some virtual research and clinical shadowing opportunities. Details will be posted when they become available. Sign-up below to receive updates.

All applicants must be citizens of the United States or hold permanent residency status.

The application period for the 2021 summer program is now closed. Applications for 2022 will open December 2021.

Sign-up for our REACH mailing list to receive program updates, webinar offerings, and news relevant to students interested in medical school and/or the healthcare field.


Lisa Goodpaster

2021 Extended REACH Webinar Series – Information to come

Free webinars featuring experts from Carle Illinois College of Medicine and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:

Designing Resiliency and Well-being

With Ruby Mendenhall, Ph.D., Assistant Dean for Diversity and Democratization of Health Innovation, Carle Illinois College of Medicine

In this session, Ruby Mendenhall will share how STEM Illinois is expanding our ecosystem of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to inspire youth from diverse backgrounds and learning styles to explore STEM education and career opportunities. From a Communiversity Think and Do Tank, a Communiversity Wellness Center, and a new lab to decrease health disparities and promote health equity by addressing the social determinants of health in the Carle Illinois Health Maker Lab, you can learn about the many STEM and health-related initiatives we’re pursuing in the Champaign area.

Finding Opportunities Along Your Path

With Jennifer Crum, MS, Senior Assistant Director, Health Professions Advising, The Career Center at Illinois

In this webinar, we will discuss strategies to identify and solidify meaningful opportunities for your growth and experience as you explore careers in health. From building your resume to better understanding your interests, this webinar will equip you with strategies to pursue the right opportunities for your goals.

Molecular Advances that could Democratize and Empower Nextgen Innovation

With Martin Burke M.D., Ph.D., Associate Dean for Research, Carle Illinois College of Medicine

We all care about being healthy. Yet only a small fraction of the 7.7 billion people throughout the world currently have the opportunity to transform new ideas for improving healthcare into testable prototypes. At Carle Illinois, we aim to harness this tremendous untapped human potential by democratizing health innovation and thereby empowering individuals and communities around the globe to help address some of the most important challenges facing society today. In this webinar, we’ll focus on how Dr. Burke’s lab is developing a platform that has been leveraged to develop molecular prosthetics–small molecules that autonomously perform protein-like functions and thus have the potential to treat a wide range of currently incurable diseases, including cystic fibrosis and anemias. Continued advances in these directions have the potential to democratize and thereby broadly empower nextgen molecular innovation.

Following passion and perseverance on one’s journey

With Kevin Teal, M.D., Neurosurgeon at Carle Hospital, and Clinical Instructor at Carle Illinois College of Medicine

In this webinar, Dr. Kevin Teal will share about his career in neurosurgery, and share how passion and perseverance result in grit—a crucial key to success along one’s journey. 

Content inspired by the book Grit by Angela Duckworth.

Setting a Game Plan for Applying to Medical School

With Colin Van Orman, M.S., Student Affairs Coordinator at Carle Illinois College of Medicine, and Heather Wright, M.S., Director of Student Success at Carle Illinois College of Medicine

In this session, we’ll provide an overview of the medical school admissions process. Topics include:

  • Defining holistic review and understanding what it means in practice
  • Action steps to prepare a robust AMCAS application
  • Secondary applications and how to approach them

How Access to Energy is a Healthcare Issue

With Joe Bradley, Ph.D., Clinical Assistant Professor in the Bioengineering Department at The Grainger College of Engineering and Carle Illinois College of Medicine

Did you know that access to energy is also a healthcare issue? Joe Bradley will share about his work with the company, Sun Buckets, that provides energy solutions to the energy-impoverished. This company not only provides energy, but also improves health conditions for many around the world.