In addition to the laboratory and clinical experiences, the program organizes highly successful social activities whose goal is to foster comradery and long-term mentorship relationships. First introduced in 2013, a welcome BBQ hosted by Richard and Sandy Ellenbogen at their home brings together students and lab mentors, managers, assistants, clinical faculty, and private donors. In 2016, students were introduced to the rich natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, a summer hike, the “Hike to the Heavens”, organized by two clinical faculty members. Dr. Saigal organized a boat ride along the Seattle waterfront for his lab. Faculty, residents, and summer students all enjoy this day-long excursion, as well as many subsequent bonding activities.
One of the goals of the program is to help students develop a sense of community. The scientific and clinical mentors have made themselves available to introduce students to the wonderful resources of Seattle and its’ surrounding areas. These social activities provide students with new opportunities to interact with their summer community members and develop long-lasting friendships that provide additional mentorship support as they continue their education. Many students have remained in contact through social media, such as Facebook groups and Instagram encouraging each other in post-program endeavors.