A USC program that brings together university scientists and engineers with Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet High School students was honored at Los Angeles City Hall on March 21 by L.A. City Councilmember Paul Krekorian. Receiving special recognition was Bravo High School senior Samiha Mahin, a North Hollywood resident who spends her afternoons conducting research in the lab of USC School of Pharmacy associate professor Martine Culty, PhD, through the program.

Krekorian noted that for nearly 30 years, the USC Science Technology and Research (STAR) program and Engineering for Health Academy (EHA) have given high school juniors and seniors, “regardless of gender, ethnicity or socioeconomic backgrounds the opportunity to pursue science and to establish themselves in incredible careers.”

The USC STAR/EHA program, funded by USC’s Good Neighbors Campaign, offers an innovative approach to STEM education by providing high school students an entire year’s experience in USC research laboratories that is integrated with their academic curriculum. This level of engagement in a real research environment fosters the students’ interest in science and research, as well as prepares them for success in college.

Mahin is one of 600 high school seniors who have participated in the program and studies the effects chemicals have on human reproduction organs at Culty’s Lab. For three years in high school, Mahin was also the lead researcher on the development of an artificial womb that provides optimal conditions for the development of premature babies.

While the program was being honored, L.A. Councilmember David Ryu surprised the council by sharing that he too was an alumnus of Bravo High School and had participated in the STAR program during the late 1990s. Reminiscing on his experience, Ryu commended USC for its “tremendous effort” toward the program and thanked Councilmember Krekorian for honoring it.

To watch a recording of the presentation at Los Angeles City Hall, click here.

— Divya Yerwa Mary