High School Students Begin Summer Engineering Research

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Day 1 Family Portraits with Parents and Siblings.

On Monday, June 18, Brody Bishop, an aerospace engineering enthusiast who became a pilot at twelve, and Mei Lao, who in her free time explores the links between Alzheimer’s and populations of genocide survivors, joined 31 other high school students in the biggest and most impressive cohort yet of USC Viterbi’s SHINE program. Summer High School Intensive in Next-Generation Engineering is a seven-week research-intensive introduction to the various engineering departments and labs at USC. Monday saw the 33 SoCal high school students selected for SHINE18 journeying together with their families to USC’s University Park Campus for Day 1 of SHINE. The day’s festivities included welcoming the students and their families with an overview of USC Viterbi’s scope of research programs and a tour of the University Park Campus. After meeting their Professors and Ph.D. mentors over lunch, the SHINE students toured the lab they will be working in over the summer, said goodbye to their families, and attended lab safety training in preparation for their work this summer.   

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SHINE 2018 students come from various regions of Southern California

Over the seven weeks of the SHINE program, SHINE students will be exposed to cutting edge research in an array of engineering fields. Together with 28 Ph.D. student mentors and/or Postdoctoral scholars, 21 of USC Viterbi’s engineering research faculty will open up their labs and share their expertise with their SHINE students. This year, many students were drawn to the fields of Aerospace and Electrical Engineering. And the field of Robotics as well as Chemical and Biomedical Engineering were also quite popular. And while a smaller percentage of SHINE students will be exploring the other engineering disciplines, those students are quite lucky: Professor Sharada’s virtual Chemical Engineering lab, for example, is innovating a project on the utilization of natural resources through computational science; and the SHINE students in Professor Bercerik-Gerber’s Civil Engineering lab will learn how to utilize virtual reality (VR) to better understand the ways building occupants interact with their environments. As these examples suggest, all of the labs participating in SHINE are innovating their disciplines through socially beneficial and intellectually robust research and technology.

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The cohort of SHINE18 is an impressive and diverse lot. It consists of rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors from 29 different SoCal schools—all together with an average un-weighted GPA of 3.9. The group is 52% female, 48% male, and we are proud to welcome four first-generation scholarship students selected through our multi-year collaboration with the TELACU Education Foundation and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce's Linked Learning. This year’s cohort travels to the USC Campus from as far away as Irvine, the Pacific Palisades, and Rancho Cucamonga. 

On August 2, the SHINE program will culminate with a poster session during which the SHINE students will share what they learned over the summer with their families, friends, and lab mates. Come see what Brody, Mei, and the rest of the cohort come up with!   

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