Poverty, broken families and rough neighborhoods litter the paths of Dr. Emil Bogenmann's students, making higher education seem like a hazy dream.
But five years after launching the Latino & African-American High School Program, or LA-HIP — a rigorous science research immersion program for low-income students at Children's Hospital Los Angeles — Bogenmann is helping to bring their academic aspirations into sharper focus.
While dropout rates within the Los Angeles Unified School District, from which LA-HIP participants are drawn, hover around 50%, Bogenmann has never lost a student. And all 46 graduates are now enrolled at distinguished four-year institutions, including UC Berkley, Yale, John Hopkins, West Point and Brown.
"These kids are dynamite kids, every single one of them," Bogenmann, a longtime La Crescenta resident, said. "It really is incredible."
Funded by the National Institutes of Health and private donations, LA-HIP is operated out of the Saban Research Institute at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Dozens of students apply each February for up to 15 spots. Those who are accepted spend six weeks in the summer paired with top scientists working on research projects and are provided with transportation, lunch and a one-time $1,000 stipend. The program also includes an SAT prep course and college and financial aid counseling which continues through the following school year.