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Summer 2010 Gets Even Brighter for High School Students

USC College Summer Seminar Offerings Multiply and Diversify

High school students slice open a sheep's kidney in a lab exercise for a seminar taught by Albert Herrera, professor of biological sciences. Photo credit Liz Gill.
High school students slice open a sheep's kidney in a lab exercise for a seminar taught by Albert Herrera, professor of biological sciences. Photo credit Liz Gill.

USC College is offering an expanded array of summer courses for high school students through the USC Office of Continuing Education & Summer Programs.

Four-week seminars being offered for the first time include Forensic Psychology with a pre-law orientation; International Relations: Exploring Global Complexities; Environmental Studies; Creative Writing Workshop; Mandarin Immersion and Future Physicians.

Popular seminars being offered again include Bodyworks: Human Physiology in Health and Disease; Logic and Critical Reasoning; Exploring Psychology and Contemporary Pop Culture.

“The USC Summer Seminars offers high school students the opportunity to delve into subjects that they might not be exposed to in their regular high school curriculum,” said Susan Kamei, associate dean-advanced and professional programs in USC College. “As they immerse themselves into new areas of study, they also experience what multi-disciplinary learning at the university level will be like.”

After completing a summer seminar, the students will have a portfolio of their work documenting their academic and extracurricular experiences that they may reference and include in their college applications.

“These students can better articulate their intellectual passions after participating in these summer programs,” Kamei said. “They work very hard and learn not only from the faculty, but also from their fellow students, who come from across the country and from around the world.  They take away an exciting new understanding of the intellectual and personal potential that is ahead of them in university life. These programs open up the world for these high students.”

Future Physicians, new this summer, is a signature seminar that will be the first of its kind offered by a university on the West Coast.

The students will spend a full day each week at Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles, a teaching facility of the Keck School of Medicine of USC.  As they rotate through different clinics, they will be in groups of two alongside a physician, who is a part of the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

As part of the seminar, students will hear guest speakers and interact with physicians to gain valuable insight into what it takes to be a successful medical school applicant, what is entailed in medical training, and what their career options are after medical school.

Issues such as ethics, patient advocacy and health care reform also will be addressed.

"The Future Physicians program gives bright, motivated and high-achieving young people a solid understanding of the training and dedication that is required to be a great physician,” said Michael Quick, executive vice dean of the College and professor of biological sciences. “The experience provides insight into what they might do during high school in preparation of their undergraduate years, as well as how to plan as an undergraduate for medical school and the end-game.”

The value of this program is shared by physicians from the Keck School of Medicine of USC at the Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles.

“High school students have a unique opportunity through the Future Physicians Program to explore the medical profession,” said Dr. Robert Adler, senior vice chair of the Department of Pediatrics and director of medical education at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles, and professor of pediatrics and vice chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Keck School of Medicine of USC. “The program will reinforce many students' dreams of becoming doctors and inspire others to pursue careers in medicine — life-changing work that still fascinates me today.”

High school students may enroll in only one seminar during the summer session and must be at least 15 years old. Three units of USC credit may be earned per seminar. For admission dates and deadlines, go to