Nadine Afari from USC’s Health Technology and Engineering Program
Nadine Afari is the former Director of USC’s Young Scientist Program (YSP) who’s mission centers on fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms at five core schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District’s South Central area (although impoverished community near USC). The program is designed to focus on demystifying science, physics and engineering for young learners through creative, hands-on interactions inside and outside elementary school classrooms with USC science and engineering students who also introduce these kids to cutting-edge fields in STEM.
“YSP USC undergraduate and graduate students are known as the scientists-in-residence and share their time and science knowledge with the classrooms at these schools to teach natural, life, earth and engineering sciences during the allotted science class,” says Nadine, an applied scientist who created award winning STEM curriculum and STEM workshops for elementary school kids.
YSP offers hands-on experiences with their USC teachers and mentors are enriching and include such exciting interaction as experiments in Newton laws of motion, surface tension and capillary action, water cycles, green technology, how to create a “lemon battery”, building a heart pump, and the science of nutrition and healthful eating. These experiences not only serve as a welcome supplement to science textbooks (which can be in short supply in YSP schools), but make science come alive in meaningful ways for kids.
In 2014 Nadine accepted a research position within USC’s Health Technology and Engineering Program ([email protected]) at USC’s Keck School of Medicine. [email protected] augments the training of select doctors and engineers through project-focused collaboration resulting in the most effective and efficient solutions to real-world healthcare problems. [email protected] promotes rapid advances in healthcare through research and education combining the essentials of medicine with advanced engineering and scientific technologies. Students in the HTE Program learn the patient-centered research approaches required to address the healthcare needs of all patients, including those from traditionally underserved populations.
Nadine, a native of Vancouver, Canada earned her Bachelor’s degree in Science and studied Biology and Innovation from Simon Fraser University, British Columbia. She completed her Master’s in Applied Science from the University of Toronto where her research interests included gene therapy, and systems thinking, with a focus on complexity in the immune system.
In early 2017 Nadine wrote an episode of the STEM based children’s animated series titled “Magic School Bus Rides Again!” Uniquely aligned with the global emphasis on STEM education, the new Magic School Bus series on Netflix and Scholastic Media will showcase all fields of science, while embracing technology and engineering as creative tools that supports learning and impacts to daily life. She provided expertise on the immune system and it’s ability to defend against disease, colds, flu, and more serious illnesses and how to better understand the human immune system using technology.