Enrollment opens for SMART program, a yearlong research opportunity for high school students

Enrollment for the 2024-2025 Bobbie Cates Hicks Science and Medicine Academic Research Training (SMART) program is now open, and the deadline to apply is 4:00 p.m. on February 29. SMART provides a yearlong research experience with faculty investigators at LSU Health Shreveport for eight to 12 academically advanced high school seniors who have a career interest in medicine, biomedical research or biomedical engineering. SMART is a partnership among BRF; LSU Health Shreveport; and the Caddo, Bossier and DeSoto parish school boards. BRF has provided funding and program coordination for SMART since its inception in 1997.

SMART has graduated 249 students over its 27 years. In a recent survey of SMART graduates, 100 percent of respondents reported they are currently attending or have attended college, and over 80 percent of respondents reported majoring in or having majored in science or health-related disciplines. Additionally, 81 percent reported they plan to attend or attended a postgraduate institution.

“With our area as the medical hub of Northwest Louisiana, we believe it’s important to prepare local students for careers in medicine and the biomedical fields,” said John F. George Jr., M.D., BRF President and CEO. “SMART provides these students the opportunity to begin that pursuit right here, and hopefully stay here and contribute to our community, or make a difference at the state and national levels.”

“LSU Health Shreveport is pleased to provide unique research opportunities for students in the SMART program in partnership with BRF. The success of former program participants should encourage high school senior students to apply as this research training opportunity provides students valuable experience and insight on their journey toward careers in medicine and biomedical research,” shared Chris Kevil, Vice Chancellor for Research and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, LSU Health Shreveport.

More information about eligibility requirements and how to apply to SMART can be found at www.lsuhs.edu/research/smart-program.

Funding for the SMART program comes from the generosity of donors, including the late Bobbie Cates Hicks, the Bruce J. Heim Foundation, the Community Foundation of North Louisiana’s Give for Good donors, the Community Foundation of North Louisiana’s William C. Woolf Fund, and the Magale Foundation.

BRF and its donors support STEM education opportunities and technology-based workforce development initiatives through five additional programs, including the Biotechnology Magnet Academy (BTA) with nearly 200 current participants at Southwood High School, the BioStart senior research laboratory internships at LSU Health Shreveport, the College Navigator at BTA, and Southwood’s Clinical Lab course and FIRST Robotics program. BRF launched the BTA and BioStart programs in conjunction with the Caddo Parish School Board, LSU Health Shreveport, LSU Shreveport, participating biotech companies, and Southwood High School. To learn more, visit www.brfla.org/edventures.