Louis A. Simpson ’58 was a big believer in giving everyone access to education. Prior to his death in January, he spent two decades building a philanthropic legacy at Northwestern. Simpson and his wife, fellow University Trustee Kimberly K. Querrey, supported fields ranging from biomedical research to athletics and recreation. He also was committed to empowering aspiring scientists. (Read Simpson’s obituary.)
In 2018 the University’s George M. O’Brien Kidney Research Core Center, known as NU GoKidney, launched the SciHigh Summer Program — a paid, seven-week internship for rising juniors and seniors at Chicago high schools. The program was founded to help students from underrepresented backgrounds unleash their untapped potential and develop the confidence and skills to succeed in STEM fields. It provides interactive learning opportunities and mentorship designed to foster growth, self-discovery and wonder in a range of topics in science and medicine. Sessions are led by experienced researchers and physician-scientists, post-docs and medical students.
Simpson and Querrey endowed SciHigh in 2019. Their support has allowed the program to nearly triple in size.
“The next great breakthroughs in medicine and science depend upon the future workforce,” says NU GoKidney Chair Susan Quaggin, the Charles H. Mayo, MD, Professor and chief of nephrology and hypertension at Feinberg School of Medicine.
“The graduates of the SciHigh program, my team and I will be forever grateful to Lou and Kimberly for their incredible generosity, compassion and commitment to social and health care justice.” Last summer, students worked in teams to research topics such as the effect of food insecurity on chronic kidney disease. They also received medical school–level instruction at Northwestern Simulation’s Innovations Laboratory and attended virtual sessions on research development and presentation best practices as well.
SciHigh gave high school junior Mia Mendoza insight into what a career in science could look like. “I learned very valuable lessons about the resources that will help me on my own professional and educational journey,” says Mendoza, who dreams of becoming an ophthalmologist or orthopedic surgeon.
SciHigh is modeled after Northwestern Medicine’s Pulmonary and Critical Care Summer Research Program — created by Scott Budinger ’85, chief of pulmonary and critical care, and co-managed by Karen Ridge, professor of medicine — which provides high school juniors and seniors who are interested in the biological sciences with intensive research training. Simpson and Querrey endowed the pulmonary program in 2018.