As the reliance on computational models to inform experiments and evaluate medical devices grows, the demand for students with modeling experience will grow. In this paper, we report on the three year experience of a National Science Foundation funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) based on the theme simulations, imaging, and modeling in biomechanics. While directly applicable to REU sites, our findings also apply to those creating other types of summer undergraduate research programs. The objective of the paper is to examine if a theme of simulations, imaging, and modeling will improve students' understanding of the important topic of modeling, provide an overall positive research experience, and provide an interdisciplinary experience. The structure of the program and evaluation plan are described. We report on the results from 25 students over three summers from 2014-2016. Overall, students reported significant gains in knowledge of modeling, the research process, and graduate school based on self-reported mastery levels and open-ended qualitative responses. This theme provides students with a skill set that is adaptable to other applications illustrating the interdisciplinary nature of modeling in biomechanics. Another advantage is that students may also be able to continue working on their project following the summer experience through network connections. In conclusion, we have described the successful implementation of the theme simulation, imaging, and modeling for an REU site and the overall positive response of the student participants.