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Education / Neuroscience Graduate / Program Activities / RISE UP Undergraduate Fellowship

Research Innovation in NeuroScience Education for Underserved Populations (RISE UP)

The RISE UP Program is a NIH-funded summer undergraduate research program designed to expose students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds to research opportunities in top-notch neuroscience laboratories at the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Our goal is to recruit and retain promising undergraduate students with an interest in neuroscience in the biomedical research pipeline. Selection to the RISE UP program provides scholars with a hands-on research training experience with outstanding faculty mentors within our Neuroscience Graduate Program. 

Admission to our summer program is very competitive. We select 10 students from across the country to participate in the RISE UP program.  As a RISE UP scholar, you will work full-time in a research laboratory under the direct supervision of a faculty mentor. We strive to match our RISE UP scholars with faculty mentors with shared research interests. The RISE UP Program is typically 10 weeks and culminates with a capstone research poster presentation with the larger SURF community. 

RISE UP scholars will also participate in a variety of weekly seminars and workshops that are designed to increase your preparedness for graduate school. Our scholars will also benefit from participating in manifold social and academic activities with students from other summer programs at the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Medical Hospital.

Please see the a recent news article about the program here: 


  • Member of a traditionally underrepresented background in biomedical research. For a full description of eligible underrepresented groups, please visit: Notice of NIH's Interest in Diversity
  • Freshman, sophomore or junior status in an accredited college or university.
  • GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Science coursework, such as general biology, general chemistry and/or physics as well as some mathematics and/or statistics courses.
  • US citizen or lawful permanent resident.

The ideal applicant will have a strong interest in pursuing graduate education in Neuroscience or a closely related, research-oriented field.


The RISE UP program is part of the SURF-Neuro program. Applications are accepted between November 1 and February 1 preceding the summer in which the applicant wishes to participate. We encourage interested students to apply before February 1st for full consideration. Applicants are notified of their status between mid-March and early April.

There is a single application for multiple SURF programs. When applying to the RISE UP Program please specify SURF “Neuro” to be considered for the SURF-N and/or the RISE UP programs.  To learn more about the general application requirements, check out the SURF website.

Note: incomplete or late applications will not be considered. The applicant is responsible for ensuring that the application and all supporting materials, including letters of recommendation, have been received by the February 1 deadline.


  • RISE UP scholars will be awarded a $5,000 research stipend typically $500/week (between late May and early August)
  • Housing is provided within UC dormitories
  • $500 for travel-related expenses to a scientific conference
  • $500 for research supplies
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Program Director

Matia B. Solomon, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Psychology
Neuroscience Graduate Program

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Program Director

Teresa Reyes, PhD
Department of Pharmacology and Systems Physiology
Neuroscience Graduate Program


Our RISE UP Scholars

  • Adam Chen Case Western Reserve Univ, OH
  • Marley Cox Oberlin College, OH
  • Kamden Deckard Earlham College, IN
  • Valerie Espinal Abreu Vassar College, NY
  • Chonny Nguyen Indiana University, IN
  • Ruvi Ranatunga University of Pittsburgh, PA
  • Imani Tolliver University of Oklahoma, OK
  • Felissa Wallace Xavier University, LA
  • Madison Wesley University of Cincinnati, OH
  • Elana Zelen University of Cincinnati, OH
  • Chrissy Singh St. Edwards Univ, TX
  • Diego Rojas UT San Antonio, TX
  • Messiyah Stevens Oakwood, AL
  • Ariel Alappatt University of Cincinnati, OH
  • Angelica Vanderkerkhoff Cal State Los Angeles, CA
  • Valeria Virrueta University of TX, El Paso
  • Jenna Tijerina University of CA-Los Angeles, CA
  • Aravind Kalathill University of MO, MO
  • Andres Villalobos University of GA, GA
  • Gabrielle Allen University of GA, GA
  • Hailey Omollo Carnegie Mellon, PA
  • Esther Assensoe Washington and Lee Univ, VA
  • Keely Thornton University Of Notre Dame, IN
  • Ben Barnette John Brown University, AR
  • Izzy Neel Centre College, KY
  • Skylar Hargrove Centre College, KY
  • Kassidy Reneau Ohio Northern University, OH
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Contact Us

Neuroscience Graduate Program
Medical Sciences Building
Room 1058B
231 Albert Sabin Way
Cincinnati, OH 45267-0548

Mail Location: 0548
Phone: 513-558-1803