Students in BRF’s education initiatives excel

Participants in this year’s Bobbie Cates Hicks Science and Medicine Academic Research Training (SMART) and Biotechnology Magnet Academy (BTA) at Southwood High School programs recently competed and placed in the Louisiana State Science and Engineering Fair.

Both programs are part of BRF’s EdVentures education initiative to build the region’s science and technology workforce.

SMART student winners:

    • Nhi Dao – 1st Place, Mathematics
    • Elizabeth Klotzbach – 2nd Place, Microbiology
    • Raj Letchuman – 1st Place, Biomedical Engineering and received a bid to the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF)
    • Chloe Miller – 1st Place, Cellular & Molecular Biology
    • Kate Michael – 3rd Place, Behavioral & Social Science
    • Gabrielle Miller – 1st Place,Microbiology

Pictured clockwise from the top left: Nhi Dao, Elizabeth Klotzbach, Raj Letchuman, Gabrielle Miller, Kate Michael and Chloe Miller. Photos courtesy of LSU and C. E. Byrd High School.

The SMART program, launched in 1997, is a yearlong research experience for 8-12 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.

Southwood High School Biotechnology Magnet Academy (BTA) winners:

    • Whitney Jones – 3rd Place, Cellular & Molecular Biology
    • Kasen Wright – 3rd Place, Biochemistry
    • Chris Kirkpatrick – 4th Place, Biochemistry
    • Lexi Livingston also presented her research in Biomedical Engineering

Pictured above left to right: BioStart interns Chris Kirkpatrick, Lexi Livingston, Whitney Jones and Kasen Wright. Photo courtesy of Southwood High School.

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. 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, and the Magale Foundation. If you would like to donate to BRF’s EdVentures programs, please visit