About the YRP

The USC Young Researchers Program is a six-week summer program that matches talented and motivated local high school rising seniors with USC PhD student and faculty mentors to conduct their own research project. Students experience first-hand the excitement of research in real university labs, while also attending weekly workshops that provide some basic knowledge about applying to college and pursuing degrees in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields.

History of the YRP

The USC Young Researchers Program is the brainchild of Earth Science graduate students Laurie Chong and Carie Frantz and was developed under the guidance of Professor Will Berelson. The program was conceived in the fall of 2008 as a way to bring local high school students, especially disadvantaged and traditionally underrepresented students, to USC to experience research first-hand and to encourage these students to attend college and pursue careers in the sciences. The inaugural year of the program--the summer of 2009--saw seven students from two USC-neighborhood schools doing work in six different labs in the Earth and Marine Environmental Science Departments. After presenting their research posters at the end of the six weeks to friends, teachers, family, and USC students and professors, students reported that the program made them feel more confident in their abilities and more likely to go to college. We considered this a great success.

Over the past eight years, the YRP has hosted 84 outstanding high schoolers. You can check out their summer research here of 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.


The YRP is dedicated to serving the local USC neighborhood by providing high school students a unique summer research opportunity. Through these research experiences, the YRP will increase interest in STEM fields among students traditionally underrepresented in the fields and create a network of previous participants that can support each other as they pursue their future goals.