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The Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford University is committed to inclusive excellence at all levels of education and training. Investing in outreach and pipeline programs exposes students to knowledge and opportunities otherwise unavailable. Our reach extends beyond Stanford and the surrounding community — we have reached students from all over the world who are interested in the neurosciences and are dedicated to learning. We are proud of the department’s work with outreach, including students locally, nationally and internationally. The future of neuroscience is bright.

Our multi-faceted initiatives aim to attract students to neurosciences throughout stages of their education, each with growing success in subsequent years. Through sharing our experience, we hope that others can create programs to assist with continuing to attract a diverse population to the neurosciences.

Stanford High School Neuroscience Forum
The forum is an opportunity for students from around the world to share a project related to the neurosciences — neurology, psychology, mental health and more. The audience is local, national and International, including Stanford community members and students from around the world. This event allows connections of shared passions. This forum’s genesis, organization and implementation came from the idea and vision of four students who organize and moderate the events each year. For the 2023 Forum, we received applications from over 10 states, eight countries and four continents.

Neuroscience JClub
Three young students initiated the Stanford Neuroscience JClub. This group intends to mentor high school students in critically analyzing a scientific paper and encourage participants to consider a career in the neurosciences. The club focuses on increasing access to the literature and the field. During the once-per-month meetings, students discuss scientific literature with expert Stanford scientists. We create a low-pressure and welcoming environment where students thrive, ask questions and learn. Since we have transitioned to a virtual setting, we have received interest from students from around the world. We had over 500 students apply to the 2023-2024 school year.

Harris Internship
The Harris Internship is a school-year-long program that pairs students with Stanford faculty and trainees with expertise in neurosciences. The mentors are committed to the year-long program. The students have the opportunity to build a relationship with their mentor and receive guidance on navigating college applications and a future career in neuroscience. Students are also asked to promote increased engagement with women and/or underrepresented minorities. For 2022-2023, there are eight Harris interns. We have received triple-digit applications for the 2023-2024 school year. Twelve interns were selected for the academic year and have been paired with mentors.

Explore and inspire
Explore & Inspire allows all college and medical students to join an intimate conversation with the Stanford Neurosurgery Department and team. The focus is on inclusive excellence. Career paths and overcoming obstacles are also discussed. We hope that students will receive guidance in navigating the neuroscience field and build a community of those interested in the neurosciences. Over 500 individuals registered for the event from approximately 36 states in the U.S. and 23 countries. We hope to continue hosting this event each year with different themes.

Summer of Neurosciences
An innovative, multi-faceted summer learning experience aimed at allowing access and exposure to neuroscience and medicine in a virtual format. The Summer of Neurosciences program is designed to provide a learning experience and expose students to the many aspects and opportunities in Neuroscience. It includes career insights, grand rounds and a weekly journal club. In the summer of 2022, we hosted 50 participants from four countries, nine states, seven universities and 37 high schools.

Editor’s Note: We hope you will share what you learn from our posts in the Making and Maintaining a Neurosurgeon series. We invite you to join the conversation on Twitter by following @Neurosurgery and using the hashtag #Neurosurgery.

Julia Blanchet
Stanford Department of Neurosurgery
Stanford, Calif.




Maria Ceja
Stanford Department of Neurosurgery
Stanford, Calif.




Odette Harris, MD, MPH, FAANS
Stanford Department of Neurosurgery
Stanford, Calif.



Reena P. Thomas, MD, PhD
Stanford Department of Neurosurgery
Stanford, Calif.


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