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Minority science program at Children's Hospital receives endowment

March 21, 2013 | 12:00 pm

A rigorous science program at Children's Hospital Los Angeles aimed at encouraging minority students to pursue a career in the field received an endowment this month that should fund the program for years to come.

The Latino and African-American High School Internship Program selects 16 students each year from around Los Angeles County. Under the watch of professionals, they conduct their own research in laboratories at the hospital's Saban Research Institute.

The endowment, from longtime hospital supporters and philanthropists Lori and Ted Samuels, continues the couple's support of the program. They provided seed money to launch it in 2005. The exact amount of this month's endowment was not released.

The program will be renamed the Samuels Family Latino and African-American High School Internship Program. Dr. Emil Bogenmann, the program's founder and director, said the generous donation is essential to their mission.

"This gift makes it possible for our intern program to continue providing opportunities to local minority students for decades to come,” he said.

Bogenmann, a Swiss-born molecular scientist, began the program after he recognized a lack of diversity among students in a similar one he led for students from the Marlborough School, a private all-girls institution in Hancock Park. He decided then to build a program that would aggressively recruit minority public school students from underrepresented areas of Los Angeles County.

Last summer, students conducted research on bacterial meningitis among infants; others studied cancer and HIV. Some analyzed how the human lung develops, while another researched eye tumors.

To be eligible for the program, students must attend school in the Los Angeles or Compton unified school districts or live within their boundaries.

About 100 students apply each year for the 16 spots. The program also provides SAT test-prep, college counseling and financial aid application assistance for the students.

Ted Samuels serves as the co-chair on the hospital’s board of trustees. Lori Samuels serves on the executive committee of the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens. She is also chair of the education committee and a member of the board of overseers for the Huntington Library.

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