Monday, June 17, 2024

Local students shine in science fairs

by BPT Staff
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The Bobbie Cates Hicks Science and Medicine Academic Research Training (SMART) and Biotechnology Magnet
Academy’s (BTA) BioStart Internship programs are both part of BRF’s EdVentures education initiative to build the
region’s science and technology workforce.

Five of the SMART program’s participants competed and placed in the Louisiana Region 1 Science and Engineering Fair
and two advanced to compete in the state fair event at the end of March. Additionally, one student in the BTA BioStart
Internship program at Southwood High School also competed and placed in the regional and state fairs.

Participants who placed in the Louisiana State Science and Engineering Fair
 (SMART) Anjali Veerareddy, Caddo Parish Magnet High School – 2 nd place Computational Biology
 (BTA) Brantley Welch, Southwood High School – 3 rd place Biomedical & Health Sciences
Participants who placed in the Louisiana Region 1 Science and Engineering Fair
SMART student winners:
 Anika Alla, Caddo Parish Magnet High School – 1 st place Translational Medicine and 1st overall division winner
receiving a bid to the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles in May.
 Anjali Veerareddy, Caddo Parish Magnet High School – 1 st place Computational Biology and Bioinformatics
 Hannah Fry, Airline High School – 3 rd place Biomedical and Health Science
 Chloe Liles, C.E. Byrd High School – 3 rd place Cellular and Molecular Biology
 Hudson Roberts, C.E. Byrd High School – 3 rd place Biomedical Engineering
BTA Biostart Internship program winner:
 Brantley Welch, Southwood High School – 2 nd place Biomedical and Health Science

The SMART program, launched in 1997, is a yearlong research experience for 8-14 academically advanced high school
seniors from Caddo, Bossier and DeSoto parishes. The students work alongside investigators at LSU Health Shreveport
on research studies. SMART students have a career interest in medicine, biomedical research or biomedical engineering.
The program is a partnership among BRF; LSU Health Shreveport; and the Caddo, Bossier and DeSoto Parish School
Boards.

In 2009, BRF helped launch the Biotechnology Magnet Academy and BioStart programs in conjunction with the Caddo

Parish School Board, LSU Health Shreveport, LSU Shreveport, participating biotech companies and Southwood High
School. The BioStart Internship program gives six to 10 seniors from BTA the opportunity to conduct a research project
under the guidance of a faculty mentor at LSU Health Shreveport. Each year, the four-year academy serves around 200
students, many of whom are women, minorities, and first-generation college bound.

Funding for BRF’s EdVentures programs comes from the generosity of donors including the late Bobbie Cates Hicks, the
Bruce J. Heim Foundation, CenterPoint Energy Foundation, the Community Foundation of North Louisiana’s Give for
Good donors, the Community Foundation of North Louisiana’s William C. Woolf Fund, the Poindexter Foundation and
the Magale Foundation. If you would like to donate to BRF’s EdVentures programs, please visit www.brfla.org/donate-
now/.

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