Grifols Summer Science Academy
As a global healthcare and bioscience company, Grifols, Inc. has over a 75-year legacy of improving the health and well-being of people around the world through the development of life-saving plasma medicines, diagnostic systems, and hospital pharmacy products. In Los Angeles, Grifols has established itself as an active community member in El Sereno, Boyle Heights, and Lincoln Heights.
Located across the street from Cal State LA, Grifols has established a strong partnership with the university. They were the first industry partner to support the “Greater Outcomes” East Los Angeles (GO East LA) program in conjunction with Cal State LA, East Los Angeles College, and the Los Angeles Unified School District. This program is an educational, cradle-to-career pathway for youth in the area.
Furthering their commitment to the GO East LA program, Grifols and Cal State LA created the Grifols Summer Science Academy which provides local high school students with a two-week program focusing on protein separation and analysis, microbiology, and chemistry curriculum. Participants are led through the program by Grifols professionals and Cal State LA faculty members in a campus laboratory setting. At the end of the two-weeks, students “graduate” with a white lab coat ceremony bridging them from student to scientist.
In response to the growing bioscience industry here in LA, Grifols recognizes the importance to expose and educate today’s students for the jobs of tomorrow.
The 2017 Summer Science Academy worked with 21 students from Garfield and Roosevelt high schools. Students were nominated by faculty, creating a balance of students on each team from the rival schools. Students presented their projects on the final day of the two-week session, which included lectures, tutorials, field activities, and hands-on learning. Throughout the academy, students are given the opportunity to learn about STEM-related careers and career paths. They have the privilege of direct access to graduate students, professors, and principal scientists.
One student participant was Valeria Garcia, a junior at Garfield High School. She shared her perspective of the program as an opportunity for students of color to be heard, to be seen. She compared the role of minorities in STEM and bioscience careers to one of the science experiments she and her team worked on during the Academy. Through the process, she recognized how micro-organisms appear to be relatively insignificant. Their existence on surfaces we touch or encounter daily unseen. However, though they are unseen they are very tangible and play a role in our everyday lives. Similarly, she shared how minorities may seem unseen and underrepresented. But in the same way as micro-organisms are unseen yet important, minorities are here, making an impact, and want to be seen and acknowledged.
She also shared about her renewed perspective of fellow students at her rival school, Roosevelt High School. It was a privilege for all the students to look past the rivalry, and to have an alternative focus on their team effort.
Grifols and Cal State LA continue to expose minority students to STEM disciplines, through utilization of summer academies, boot camps, and peer-model networks to invest in the people of LA County and create greater opportunity for improved standards of living.
View highlights from the presentation and graduation ceremony on Flickr