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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.

Karolina Niedzwiadek

4th Grade TA at 32nd St. School

Karolina Niedzwiadek is a sophomore majoring in Biological Sciences, with a minor in Health Administration. Karolina spent the past two summers working on research projects at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago and helping mentor high school students, and these experiences helped her develop a passion for research and conservation. In her spare time, Karolina enjoys exploring cafes and restaurants around LA, working out, and spending time with friends. This is her first year with YSP, and she is excited to share her passion for science with younger students and show them how fun science can be!

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.


Hannah Germonprez

5th Grade TA at Vermont

She is currently a junior earning my B.S. in Environmental Studies and minor in Spanish at USC. She spends half the year in California and the other half with her family in Indiana. In her free time you can be sure to find her outside, whether it is hiking in the mountains, swimming, biking, scuba diving on Catalina or just enjoying the beautiful weather in Southern California. She is an active in our student-run environmental organizations as well as Sierra Club where she lead hikes and holds science labs outdoors for students in the greater Los Angeles area. She is thrilled to be a part of a program that helps students get excited about science!

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.