STEM Perspectives

The K-12 STEM Center follows all University guidelines for protecting students, families, teachers, and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic: no events on or off campus, and staff are working remotely.

More information about Summer program registration coming soon

STEM Perspectives is a USC student-led 6-8 week program that provides high school students with the opportunity to explore different “perspectives” in STEM not usually taught in their classrooms. Outside of the subject taught, the program features guest speakers who expose students to other STEM-related fields and careers. The leadership, team work, communication, and research skills taught in this program help students apply these skills to formulate a better plan for their future goals and careers.

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“Some aspects that were valuable was the final project that allowed me to explore more about the brain because everyone had a different research topic.”

“Learning about specific parts of the brain and what they're called/what they do was very valuable to me.”

“I found the final project the most useful because I learned how to read and understand research papers.”

“I really enjoyed how they taught us about research papers since they're going to play such a big part of our daily lives if we pursue a career in the sciences.”

“I liked that we covered so many aspects of neuroscience, especially with the group presentations.”

“I enjoyed all the different views that were given because everybody had different perspectives and opinions. It was really helpful and eye opening.”

- quotes from students

Program Design

The program was piloted in Fall of 2020 and caters to the online environment imposed by the current pandemic by using Canvas and Zoom as the main platform for communication.

Students attend weekly sessions and complete projects that teach them skills in scientific research and public speaking.

This program provides the unique opportunity for close mentorship among USC Neuroscience student instructors and collaboration among students.

Students gain access to various guest speaker presentations with different backgrounds in STEM related fields.

  • The fall program focused on Neuroscience and neuroscientific research.
  • Over 25 students from high schools across LAUSD gained an understanding of the nervous system, and applied this knowledge to learning about neurological disorders.
  • At the end of the program, they all created presentations on published peer-reviewed research papers.
  • Presentations had a broad focus on neuroscience and the brain, ranging from artificial intelligence to social neuroscience.
  • The program this semester has focused on teaching around 80 students about neuroscience with a deeper understanding of research methods. Students have created their own presentations ranging from “addictive gambling” to “glioblastoma multiforme”.
  • The program has also had several guest speakers. Dr. Stephen from USC Gerontology and Janelle Wellons from NASA JPL have shared their experiences working in the STEM field. 
  • The summer 2021 program will start the first week of June consisting of weekly 1-1.5 hr meetings. The exact weekly meeting day is TBD and the program will last 8 weeks.
  • The summer program will focus on providing the students with the opportunity to learn about the nervous system and explore published research papers in the neuroscientific field.
  • The students will also gain access to various guest speaker events as well as resources provided by the K-12 STEM Center and make valuable connections with USC student mentors and faculty.

Our Staff

Program Creator and Director (

I am a Neuroscience student at USC with a minor in Piano Performance. I created STEM Perspectives to provide students the opportunity to explore topics not normally accessible in a classroom setting, and to collaborate with professionals in the STEM field. I encourage students to learn about research methodology since it is an important aspect of any career.  

I perform research on Alzheimer’s Disease USC Gerontology to identify risk factors in relation to sex differences and genotypes. In my free time, I create and display artwork at galleries, read, play the piano, go to the beach, and volunteer as an educator for caregivers and patients with Alzheimer’s Disease. 

Rojan Javaheri
Staff Teaching Assistant (

I’m a Biomedical Engineering graduate student pursuing my PhD at USC, and completed my undergrad at UCLA. My research interests are in computational biology and learning how to mathematically model biological systems to create predictions and targeted drug therapies in medicine. I enjoy helping students get a head start in building important research skills and reading scientific papers/journals as these are key to succeeding in STEM-related majors and fields!

Niki Tavakoli

Our Volunteers

I’m Alethea de Jesus, a second-year undergraduate majoring in Biological Sciences and Neuroscience. I joined the STEM Perspectives program because it grants me the opportunity to serve others through my two passions–science and teaching!

Alethea De Jesus

Isabel is from Portland and hopes to become a doctor. She is a senior at USC studying neuroscience with a minor in forensics and criminality. Her research studies motor development and examines early intervention for infants with or at risk for developmental delays. She loves reading, trying out new recipes, and searching for the best cafe in Los Angeles.

Isabel Reed

Hi I'm Haylie! I am a freshman at USC majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in German. I am passionate about research and aim to get my PhD in the future. Developmental disorders are particularly interesting to me and I have experience working in the lab researching fetal hydrocephalus. In my free time, I enjoy painting, going for picnics, and cooking/baking. 

Haylie Murray