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LAUSD and the Ellison Institute Launch Unite to Inspire Next Generation of Scientific Leadership
By Sentinel News Service
Published June 16, 2022

Donte Lewis Jr. and Dr. David Agus (Courtesy photo)

The Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) announced a collaboration on June 13 to engage local students in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) and inspire the next generation of scientific leadership through hands-on experience.

The joint effort will connect LAUSD students with curated educational programming, scientist mentors, and state-of-the-art equipment at the Ellison Institute’s unique cancer research facility and patient clinic in West Los Angeles.

The collaboration will kick-off with the Institute’s Junior Fellows program, a three-week, immersive fellowship that aims to foster a passion for science in rising high school seniors interested in oncology. This year, LAUSD student Eyael Hailmariam of Foshay Learning Center in South L.A. will be participating in the prestigious program that selects just eight students each summer. Through joint efforts with LAUSD, the Institute aims to increase the number of LAUSD students applying to the program and participating each year.

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“We are thrilled to join forces with LAUSD to provide local students with an entry point into the world of science that will inspire them to become the leaders that solve the global health challenges of tomorrow,” said Dr. David Agus, founding director and CEO of the Ellison Institute.

“We’ve seen over the past two years that strong scientific leadership is critical to ensuring community health, and the Institute is committed to fostering the next generation of these leaders right here in L.A.”

As part of the Ellison Institute Research Foundation, Junior Fellows participants will get to work in and explore the Institute’s unique facility completed in 2020. The building’s in-house patient clinic and cancer research labs with transparent walls act as a feedback loop, connecting researchers directly with patients in treatment and providing patients the inspiring opportunity to see researchers at work on their disease.

Students will also be able to witness the intersection of STEAM in real time, experiencing thought-provoking artwork throughout the Institute by Jeff Koons, Robert Indiana, and Picasso. Each piece of art tells a story related to science and medicine, highlighting the direct connection between art and the sciences.

“Our district is grateful for this collaboration with the Ellison Institute,” said Esther Soliman, career technical education-linked learning administrator at LAUSD.

“We are excited that our students are applying for and taking advantage of such an outstanding opportunity over the summer to learn at one of the most pioneering medical research institutes in the country.”

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Following the completion of this summer’s program, Junior Fellows will benefit from continued mentorship and academic support from Institute staff as they begin applying to colleges across the country. With the help of their scientist mentors, previous Junior Fellows have gone on to major in scientific fields at prestigious universities, including Donte Lewis, Jr. and Genessi Lizama of the 2021 Junior Fellows cohort – both LAUSD students who have received scholarships to attend Northeastern University and Stanford University respectively and remain in close contact with Institute faculty.

In the coming months, the Institute and LAUSD plan to further expand their impactful collaboration, implementing scientific curriculum for L.A. schools crafted by Institute faculty, along with direct donations of laboratory equipment to bring hands-on experience in STEAM to the classroom.

 

 

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