What Is Spit for Science?

Spit for ScienceTM the VCU Student Survey is an effort led by researchers at VCU to create a university-wide research opportunity for VCU students.

The scientific focus of the project is to understand why some people are more likely than others to develop problems associated with the use of alcohol and other substances, and difficulties with emotional health. The project aims to understand how individual predispositions come together with environmental factors to contribute to these outcomes. 

We know that 1 in 4 people over the age of 18 are affected by substance use or mental health problems. This project is an opportunity for students at VCU to work together with some of the leading researchers in the world to try and understand and prevent these important and widespread problems. We then use the findings from the project to feed back into programming at VCU to benefit our VCU students and community.

In addition, participation in Spit for Science doesn’t end at the time of graduation! Our participants are invited to take part in research opportunities into adulthood too. These post-VCU studies aim to help scientists better understand how behaviors and habits in the formative years of college can influence health and behavior outcomes in later years. So S4S participants are valued across their lifespan!

Latest News

  • NEW! Spit for Science Follow-Up Survey for VCU Juniors & Seniors.  Are you a junior or a senior at VCU who took part in the Spit for Science Survey last year?  If so, check your inbox for a follow-up survey invitation.  If you complete the survey, you’ll receive a $15 e-gift card as compensation for your time. AND, if you provide a saliva DNA sample, you’ll receive additional $20 e-gift card. Please contact us at spit4Science@vcu.edu with any questions.

  • Call for Research Assistant and Research Fellow Applications. Spit for Science is seeking research assistants for the upcoming fall 2024 semester and research fellows for the 2024-2025 academic year. This is a great opportunity for VCU undergraduate students to gain research-focused experiential learning in alcohol research, the genetics of substance use, and related behavioral health outcomes. Students in the fall class work are involved in outreach, data analysis, and other research activities. Students who are selected to participate in the yearlong fellowship take the S4S class in the fall and are then paired with a faculty mentor to conduct a research project in the spring. Fellows receive a stipend, one-on-one advising, and professional/career development opportunities. Please see the fall 2024 class flyer and the 2024-2025 fellowship flyer for more informationAnyone interested can apply here by April 2nd! Contact Dr. Rebecca Smith at smithr22@vcu.edu with any questions.
  • Call for GREAT mentors. S4S also needs mentors for its undergraduate research programming this summer (VCU GREAT). Please contact Amy Adkins (adkinsae@vcu.edu) for details