The Kast Lab Teaches at USC-NAI’s Saturday Academy

This previous weekend we had two members of The Kast Lab teach and give presentations at the USC Neighborhood Academic Initiatives (NAI) Saturday Academy.


Martin Kast Teaching at NAI

Martin highlighting the importance of HPV research

With approximately 60 highly-motivated 9th and 10th grade students from low-income neighborhoods in attendance, Martin Kast and Julia Taylor took the stage and gave the students inside perspectives from where they currently stand in their scientific careers. Martin outlined both the positive impacts one can make as well as the difficulties that arise in being a career academic scientist while Julia was able to convey the challenges and rewards that come with being a new graduate student pursing her PhD within a STEM field.

NAI Taylor - Final

In addition to careers, Martin highlighted the importance of HPV awareness in the community and Julia outlined some of the ongoing work being carried out within The Kast Lab. Vaccine Voyage was also screened to both educate the class and add a bit of humor to everyone’s day. Both talks were very well received and are part of an ongoing NAI campaign designed to expose students to multiple career paths in both academia and industry so they can better understand where to focus their passions in life.


USC’s Neighborhood Academic Initiative (NAI) is a seven-year pre-college enrichment program designed to prepare low-income neighborhood students for admission to a college or university. The program was established in 1989, enrolled its first scholars in the 1991-92 academic year, have had over 700 students graduate from their program, and provides the top performing students 4-5 year full-ride scholarships to USC.

*Images courtesy of Dieuwertje Kast, JEP STEM program manager and NAI science coordinator

One thought on “The Kast Lab Teaches at USC-NAI’s Saturday Academy”

  1. Kim Thomas-Barrios

    We were very honored to host Dr. Kast at the USC Neighborhood Academic Initiative! Our scholars were very excited to learn everything he and Julia had to say. They took copious notes adn used many exclamation points!!! Here are a few comments from our 9th grade scholars:
    ” I am now even more interested in the field of science.”
    “I would like to continue studying in the field of science in college and beyond.”
    ” I found Dr. Kast and his research extremely fascinating and well I am now more positive that I want to be a surgeon.”
    “It’s very fascinating what can happen inside of your body!”
    “What I find interesting about Dr. Kast is that he creates vaccines to hep stop cancer!”

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