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YSP Staff

Dieuwertje J. Kast

JEP STEM Program Manager and Director of Young Scientist Program

Dieuwertje J. Kast received her masters in Education and her biology teaching credential the Rossier School of Education. A native of the Netherlands, DJ received her undergraduate and graduate education at USC through the progressive masters programs obtaining her BS in Biology and MS in Marine Environmental Biology. She has a passion for Science Education, has written curriculum and held leadership roles for both Wonderkids, The Young Scientist Program, The USC QuikSCienceprogram, and the USC Neighborhood Academic Initiative (NAI) program. In her spare time she enjoys writing science books, photography, SCUBA diving and working with marine science labs across California.

Geoff Kusaka

5th Grade TA at Weemes

Geoff Kusaka is currently a senior at USC majoring in Human Biology with a minor in Health Communication.  A Hawai’i native, he traveled to USC with island spirit and a love for the natural sciences.  In addition to working as a TA for YSP, he helps to conduct research on the factors determining the feeling of the cold sensation at the USC Center for Neuroscience.  Furthermore, he greatly appreciates teaching, and as a result has endeavored to join clubs such as the Peer Health Exchange while also tutoring in various subjects.  During spare time, Geoff can be found searching for the finest new music, competing in recreational sports, and spending quality time with his friends.

Anna Duan

5th Grade TA at 32nd St. School

Anna Duan is a junior on the pre-medicine track pursuing a Health and Humanity degree with a minor in Healthcare Administration. Her dream is to work in public health and epidemiology. Raised in Orange County, she entered USC through the Resident Honors Program. In addition to working as a YSP TA, Anna enjoys running on the USC Marathon Team, volunteering with Trojan Health Volunteers and USC Community Involvement Project, serving as a guinea pig in psychology experiments, and attempting to recreate delicious recipes from the internet.

Claire Chatinover

4th and 5th Grade TA at Foshay Learning Center

Claire Chatinover is a junior studying Political Science and Applied Theater. Claire feels that science is a crucial part of education and should be accessible and fun for everyone. She has always been very passionate about nature, having worked at a nature conservatory for three years, and will always get excited about any wildlife she sees. She is so excited to teach at Foshay Learning center this semester as well as learn with the kids and really discover how fun science can be! When Claire is not digging for worms she likes to read, go on hikes, and explore Los Angeles.

Krupa Patel

4th Grade TA at Weemes

Krupa Patel is currently a senior pursuing a Bachelor's of Science in Neuroscience. In addition to being a YSP TA, Krupa also works in a mirror neuron research lab at the Brain and Creativity Institute. Loving to develop a passion and enthusiasm for science among young kids, she continues her passion for teaching and science by volunteering for organizations at USC such as Interaxon and HSEP. In her spare time, she enjoys working out, hiking the different coasts of LA, reading, and attempting to play the guitar.

Dawson Ray

5th Grade TA at Vermont

Dawson is a senior majoring in Biological Sciences and minor in Environmental Studies. He works in a genetics lab on campus studying plasmids in E. coli. He is also involved with Science Outreach (SCout), which provides an introduction to science for several local elementary schools. Dawson trains and races with the USC Triathlon team in his free time.

Alex Nguyen

4th Grade TA at 32nd St. School

Alex Nguyen is a senior currently pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Biology. Born and raised in Orange County, she enjoys eating fish tacos on the beach, going on hikes, and playing with everyones puppies. In addition to teaching with YSP, Alex also researches in a behavioral molecular biology lab, plays rugby, and enjoys playing percussion instruments.

Evelyn Lee

4th Grade TA at Norwood

Evelyn Lee is a junior pursuing a double major in Human Biology and Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. As a first-year YSP TA, she hopes to share her passion for public health and science to the youth surrounding the USC community. Her love for working with children began at at a young age and has developed throughout the years-- from when she started teaching autistic kids how to play soccer, to later on becoming a tutor at Kumon Learning Center. Last summer, she was the Youth Programs Intern at the Asian Liver Center of Stanford University where she organized a 4-day conference which brought together a hundred high school students from across the world with the goal of educating and empowering them to tackle global health issues. In addition to YSP, she has the privilege of being a part of the USC Helenes, the Inter-Health Council, the club field hockey team, and InterVarsity Trojan Christian Fellowship. Off-campus, she volunteers at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children. When she's not napping or snacking during her spare time, she also loves to watch TED Talks, explore LA, practice her iphone-photography skills, attempt to cook and bake, and spend time with her lovely friends!

Michael Qian

5th Grade TA at Norwood

My name is Michael and I'm a senior majoring in physics and computer science. I've loved science for as long as I can remember and I'm always looking for a chance to bring it up in conversation. I think that just like with books and movies, the story of science can be a really interesting, even magical one if it's told the right way. It's not uncommon to hear people complain about a bad science teacher they might have had in grade school, but it's also not uncommon to see people like Neil deGrasse Tyson or Bill Nye the Science Guy inspire millions by educating them about science! I think science education could be greatly improved if we always talked about it with the kind of awe and wonder that we feel when we watch those two.

Alison Kamikawa

4th Grade TA at Vermont Elementary

Alison Kamikawa is a junior majoring in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention with a passion for biological sciences. This past summer she had the privilege of conducting clinical research on the determinants of frailty in HIV infected patients at the Hawaii Center of Aids. For the past three years, she has worked as a TA with elementary school students, which has helped her develop a love for educating the youth. As a YSP TA, she is excited to use her passion for teaching to ignite other students’ curiosity and enthusiasm towards science! Her commitment to service has led her to join organizations such as Alpha Phi Omega, a national community service fraternity, while also tutoring students from the local community. During her spare time, she enjoys relaxing to Hawaiian music, cheering for USC sports teams, and spending time with her wonderful friends.

Sharon Sin

YSP Substitute TA:

Sharon Sin is currently a senior majoring in Social Sciences with an emphasis in Psychology. Her goal is to become Occupational Therapist after completing her Master's followed by her Clinical Doctorate at USC starting next June. Sharon has always loved learning science and strongly believes that everyone deserves to learn about it in a fun, engaging way. She is very excited by the opportunity to share her passion by teaching children in the community through YSP. She also currently volunteers as a research coordinator for an intervention entitled Childhood Obesity Prevention at homE (COPE). In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her friends, baking, finding good places to eat, listening to music, and exploring LA.

Jonell Yablonski

YSP Intern: 

Jonell is currently in the second year of her dual-degree Master’s program in Global Media and Communication through The London School of Economics and Political Science and the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. When she is not devoting her time to researching the impact of child agency on the construction of child identity in today’s digital age, Jonell also enjoys working as a tutor for the USC ReadersPLUS mentoring program. Jonell plans to pursue a PhD in the field of International Education Development upon the completion of her second Master’s degree and hopes to later assist in designing and developing innovative education policies and programs that will effectively improve access to quality education in developing countries. In the end, Jonell is extremely thrilled to be a part of the incredible YSP team!