Ochsner Health System is proud to announce the 16-member graduating class of its 12th annual STAR (Science, Technology, Academics, Research) Program – a rigorous, tuition-free program for high school students interested in pursuing education and careers in science and medicine.

The STAR students participated in a mix of hands on training, while also developing soft skills and leadership abilities. Program highlights included hands-on training with innovative surgical technology including the DaVinci Surgical Robot and the MAKO Robot along with clinical skills workshops led by University of Queensland – Ochsner Medical School medical students. The students also completed CPR certification, spent time in Ochsner’s Clinical Simulation and Patient Safety Center and transitional research laboratories and participated in an Innovation Seminar with Dr. Rich Milani. New this year, the STAR Scholars led a day-long hands-on science day at the Kenner Discovery Community Works summer camp.

Over the course of four weeks, the 2018 STAR scholars met with more than 150 Ochsner employees from more than 50 departments and specialties across the Ochsner Health System. They also visited four different Ochsner facilities – Ochsner Medical Center - New Orleans, Ochsner Baptist, Benson Tower and Ochsner Health Center - New Orleans.

“Ochsner is committed to fostering the next generation of healthcare professionals. By providing students with practical learning and innovative educational opportunities, we are helping students discover what they are passionate about, while simultaneously exploring the myriad of jobs available in the healthcare field,” said Allison Fischtziur-Sharai, STAR Program Director.

After a rigorous application and interview process, this year’s 16 STAR scholars were selected from a pool of more than 80 applicants. The 2018 class of STAR Scholars are:

  • Aaliyah Robinson – Benjamin Franklin High School
  • Andre Farnet – Holy Cross School
  • Brooke Scardino – Archbishop Chapelle High School
  • Clydia Colston-Dean – New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics School
  • Colin Meyer – Jesuit High School
  • Heaven Cauble – Mandeville High School
  • Jing Wang – Riverside Academy
  • Julia Cazabon – St. Mary’s Dominican
  • Kaitlyn Williams – Central Lafourche High School
  • Kashish Wadhwa – Saint Thomas Aquinas
  • Macy Owens – Fontainebleau High School
  • Nikole Alverez – Grace King High School
  • RayVan Bellazer – Jesuit High School
  • Ross Hightower – Saint Paul’s School
  • Suraj Zaveri – Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies

“This experience has really empowered me to pursue a career in medicine. I’ve always been interested in healthcare, but wasn’t sure what path I wanted to take. Thanks to the STAR program, I’ve gotten a real, hand-on taste for different healthcare specialties from pediatrics to Orthopedic Surgery,” said Clydia Colston-Dean, 2018 Ochsner STAR Scholar and rising senior at New Orleans Charter Science and Mathematics School.

The 2018 STAR program ran from Monday, June 4 through Friday, June 29. Including this year’s class, 186 high school students from across Southeast Louisiana have completed Ochsner’s STAR program since its inception in 2006. STAR graduates have a 100% college acceptance rate.

STAR is supported by the Research Department in the Academics Division at Ochsner Health System and through generous private donations and local grant funding. To learn more about 2018 STAR Scholars Program, visit www.Ochsner.org/STAR. Applications for the 2019 STAR Program will be available in January 2019.

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