Soreal Gray, 2018

School: Metro Academic and Classical High School

Post secondary plans: College (potentially Maryville, Wash U, University of Iowa, U Chicago, Stanford). Interested in a career in Pharmacy or Criminology.

Lab: Dr. Wayne Yokoyama

Department: Medicine, Division of Rheumatology

Project Title: Absence of CD73 on NK cells

Favorite part about SF: Getting to meet new people, a great mentor, and lab experience.

How has SF motivated you: It motivated me to continue on the path I’m on towards college and a career in health science.

Justin Plummer, 2018

School: Lift for Life Academy

Post secondary plans: To major in social work focused on marriage and become principal at my high school

Lab: Dr. Gautam Dantas

Department: Pathology & Immunology

Project Title: Alternative Ways to Make Bacteria Retain Plasmids without Involving Antibiotics

Favorite part about SF: My favorite part of SF was the students. Everyone was so nice and so welcoming. I even still communicate with some of the people from the program.

How has SF motivated you: SF helped me to always push harder and step out of the box, even if something is very hard just stick to it and always have an open mind. This impacted my life because from now on I will never give up on anything. I will try my best to become the best person that I can be.

Maresha Perry, 2018

School: Jennings Senior High School

Post secondary plans: I plan to attend a four-year university and complete my education in with a master’s degree

Lab: Dr. Christina de Guzman Strong

Department: Medicine, Division of Dermatology

Project Title: Population Specific Involucrin Enhancer Variants Affect Enhancer Activity

Favorite part about SF: My favorite part of Summer Focus was doing the experiments and hanging out with my mentor and PI. Also, developing my own scientific paper.

How has SF motivated you: Summer Focus actually motivated me into thinking about going into the medical field and maybe pursuing a career as a cosmetic dermatologist.

Jordan Peck, 2017

School: Homeschool

Post secondary plans:Cell and Molecular Biology at Tulane University, pre-medical and honors program

Lab: Dr. Jason C Mills

Department: Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology

Project Title: Heat shock protein expression after gastric damage

Favorite part about SF: I absolutely loved the mentorship component, especially with my grad student and the other PhD students in the lab, but also the opportunities to work with other researchers, professionals, and students in various capacities

How has SF motivated you: SF gave me a great sense of the world of research and how I fit into it. It has encouraged me to pursue research while in college, and given me the confidence to get in on projects. It made me consider how research might fit into a medical career, and given me the skills to excel in scientific thinking.

Clarinda Tan, 2016

School: Parkway Central High School

Post secondary plans: Double Majoring in Global Health and Health Care Management at Washington University in St. Louis

Lab: Dr. Yehuda Ben-Shahar

Department: Biology

Project Title: Towards a Better Understanding of How the Voltage-Gated K+ Channel sei Mediates Heat Stress Response

Favorite part about SF: My favorite part about Summer Focus was getting the opportunity to interact with individuals outside of my high school. Whether it was my peers in the Summer Focus program, my mentors in the program, or the graduate students in my lab, everyone was so willing to share their stories and experiences. I gained invaluable information about the college application process, experimentation, and the importance of asking for help when needed.

How has SF motivated you: Summer Focus pairs you with many mentors who help you throughout the program. These graduate and post-graduate students meet with you on a regular basis to guide your success. They share their knowledge, kindness, and support you throughout your journey. I cannot thank my mentors enough for their help!