Each year New Orleans Magazine profiles women from the community who continue to make a difference. This year, Fern Tsien, Ph.D. (Department of Genetics) was honored to be named one of these women.
Dr. Tsien received this honor partly because of her research into the genetic causes of hearing loss in the Louisiana Acadians and Mexican Mayan populations. Her research has been presented to local, national and international audiences and may ultimately lead to unlocking new diagnostic tests or therapies for deafness caused by genetic mutations.
In addition to her research, Tsien provides extensive community outreach programs to regional schools. She serves as the co-director of the Science Youth Initiative (SYI) program, which works to engage local elementary and high school students in the sciences. Enlisting the help of medical students and public health graduate students, SYI works with schools to reinforce lessons through hands-on experiments. The SYI creates a wider exposure to science while raising standardized test scores in science.
She also provides programs for middle and high school students where they are provided the chance to spend a day at LSU doing STEM experiments with academics. The goal of SYI’s work is to create a pipeline for the third part of the program which includes paid, eight-week summer internships for high school students, many of whom advance to college and science or health-related careers.
Congratulations Dr. Tsien!