Untitled Page

STAR 2012 Wraps Up Its 6th Year

(July 25, 2012) The 6th year of the STAR (Science, Technology, Academics, and Research) program, supported by Ochsner’s Academic Division, concluded on July 17. Throughout their 5½ weeks at the Jefferson Highway campus, the STAR Student Scholars acquired hands-on experiences with sophisticated technologies in the multifaceted world of science and medicine.

STAR is a free educational summer camp with the mission is to inspire, educate, and prepare students for the future. The knowledge and skills acquired in the program give students a solid foundation on which to build their plans for advanced education and a successful career in science or healthcare.

Each morning of the program was filled with learning about the latest advancements in medicine from Ochsner physicians, nurses, administrators, and staff. The students rotated through more than 52 departments in the hospital and clinic. STAR scholar Jade Berfect stated, “The experience I had with the STAR program was simply unforgettable. The information I obtained about healthcare and the world science was extremely helpful and allowed me to understand why having a profession in healthcare is right for me.”

Training in professional and life skills—such as writing resumes, creating effective presentations, networking, and serving as a leader—was also incorporated into the curriculum. Along with classes devoted to developing professionalism, students took the SCARF Self-Assessment that helped them discover their leadership style and how to work with others who have varying leadership methodologies. STAR scholar Patrick Madden stated, “STAR was not just a summer program, but an unforgettable experience filled with excitement, humor, and (above all) self-discovery."

The scholars spent each afternoon conducting cutting-edge, inquiry-based scientific experiments under the guidance of Ochsner scientists in the dedicated student laboratory, the iLab. The students were divided into six small teams and worked closely with scientists to produce their final research projects in one of the following experiments: Cell Signaling and Immunoblotting – Western Blot Method (led by Dr. T. Cooper Woods and Dr. Chasity Coleman of Molecular Cardiology Research), Cloning and Expression of the Insulin Gene (led by Dr. Jawed Alam and Neil Aguiluz of Molecular Genetics Research), Comparison of the PTC Taster Genotype and Phenotype in Two Louisiana Families (led by Dr. Paula Gregory of LSUHSC), Virus Detection by the ELISA Method (led by Dr. Li Li and Dr. Xin Zhang of Cellular Immunology Research), DNA Transfection & Cell Signaling (led by Dr. Julia Cook and Dr. Akannsha Singh of Molecular Genetics Research), What’s in Your Yogurt?” (led by Dr. Maureen Shuh of Hypertension Research).

STAR scholar Emily Nichols stated, "STAR was the best experience! It was educational, fun, and definitely beneficial. Working with doctors, scientists, and just about everyone allowed me to see just how healthcare works. STAR has greatly improved my knowledge of the healthcare world and allowed me to explore multiple careers.”

STAR scholar Nicole Bryer said, “The STAR program was an experience of a lifetime. It gave me a better understanding of every opportunity in healthcare. I look forward to the road ahead of me on my way to becoming a part of the healthcare system.”

During the STAR Executive Hour, the students heard from system executives. Dr. Patrick Quinlan, Dr. Bill Pinsky, Anna Combes, Dee McCloskey, and Carl Tholen spoke about their unique experiences working at Ochsner and how the organization has impacted the community. Students were inspired by each of the executive’s stories.

Also as part of the curriculum, scholars obtained their CPR/Basic Life Support certification, viewed and discussed a colectomy surgery, spent a day taking fitness classes at Elmwood Fitness Center, participated in medical skills training, took a mock clinic exam with University of Queensland students, and had a lunch discussion with graduate medical education residents.

Thank you to the following who provided the 2012 STAR program rotations: Allied Health (Carl Tholen), Pediatrics (Dr. Daniel Bronfin), Cancer Center (Georgette Barnes and Cristine Stamm), Radiation Oncology (Raj Mitra), Emergency (Tiffany Rafael and Candace Bridges), Flight Care, Psychiatry (Dr. Galarneau), Neurosurgery (Dr. Wale Sulaiman), Internal Medicine (Dr. Richard Deichmann), Labor and Delivery (Dr. Monique Hamilton, Dr. Rajiv Gala, and Jeni Ducoing), NICU (Christine Ferry), Respiratory (Mary Labiche), Pathology (Dr. Rebecca Murray and Dr. Nancy Davis), Sports Medicine (Graylin Jacobs), Rehab (Kris Huber), Blood Bank/Lab (Judy Valenza and Evette Bergeron), Cardiology (Dr. Richard Milani), Transplant (Dr. Hector Ventura), Pharmacy (Jenny Puchot), Clinical Research (Stephanie Pawlak), Endocrinology (Peggy Bolton), Anesthesiology (Dr. Robin Stedman), Advance Practice Clinicians (Fiona Winterbottom, Stephanie Ledet, and Bethany Jennings), and Public Health (Dr. Tonette Krousel-Wood).

Thank you to the following for delivering the 2012 STAR program lectures: OD (Whitney Smith, Mary Lunsford, Susan Salomone, Karen Judlin, Kara Greer, Cherie Martin, and Missy Hopson-Sparks), Spirituality (Fr. Anthony DeConciliis), Publishing Services (Mallory Lindsly and Rita Premo), Medical Illustrations (Barbara Siede), Healthcare Marketing (David Gaines), Animal Ethics (Dr. David Hesse), and Hospital Medicine (Dr. Kevin Conrad).

Thank you to the following for being a part of the 2012 STAR program experience: CPR/BLS (Kay Eddleman, Paget Bazile, Maddie Plaisance, Jeannie Maloney, Trez Zotkiewicz, and Mike Voltolina), Elmwood Fitness Center Day (Michael Heim, Jill Leblanc, Deborah Autin, Deborah Buford, Natalie Richard, and Jo Hughes), Surgery (Dr. Stephen Bardot and Dr. Brook Brown) University of Queensland Skills Training and Mock Clinical Exam (Kathryn Vreeland, Jonathan Tran, Andrey Pavlov, Andrew Evans, Tigue Tozer, Rob Buckel, Lindsey White, Jose Feliberti, Thekla Bacharach), GME Lunch (Donna Guidroz, Dr. Tracey Henry, Dr. Talia Gates, Dr. Stacey Newman, Dr. Meredith Laborde, Dr. Thomas Myers, Dr. Sharon Carrillo, and Dr. George Gilly).

All of the student scholars said STAR was a remarkable opportunity that combines career exploration with medical education. STAR scholar Katie Henry said, “STAR was an eye-opening experience—perfect for anyone considering a career in the field of medicine.”

The STAR 2013 application will be available January 2013. For program updates and more information, visit the STAR webpage at www.Ochsner.org/STAR.

For more information about Academic Outreach at Ochsner or to get involved, contact the Academic Outreach office at 504-842-5321, email EducationOutreach@ochsner.org, or visit the Academic Outreach website.

Academic Outreach serves the community and maintains Ochsner’s position as a national academic leader by supporting educational development, providing unique academic resources, and connecting students and teachers with innovative academic opportunities.


The Ochsner Journal

Read it online


Institute of Translational Research

Learn more.


Clinical Research

Find a clinical trial



Find courses & conferences



View residencies & fellowships


Ochsner Alumni Association

Learn more


Publishing Services

Use our manuscript editing and submission services



View programs & electives


Have an article or story?

Let us know! 

Untitled Page