Brainworks Program gives Los Angeles students chance to examine the brain

EMBED </>More Videos

It's not always easy to find your life's passion, but hundreds of Los Angeles area seventh and eighth graders got to see what it would be like to be a brain surgeon. (KABC)

It's not always easy to find your life's passion, but hundreds of Los Angeles area seventh and eighth graders got to see what it would be like to be a brain surgeon.

Many of the students were inspired to follow in the footsteps of a famous neurosurgeon.

Students used the technology brain surgeons use in the operating room. But don't worry - the students didn't use a real brain, instead they used a cherry as a tumor in a brain made of cherry Jell-O.

"We had to remove the tumor from the brain and it was cool," seventh-grader Paloma Lefriant said.

Students from several L.A. area schools worked alongside Cedars-Sinai neurosurgeons at the 19th annual Brainworks Program. It was an opportunity to get students thinking about their future.

"This isn't about getting students to really become a brain surgeon, or a neurologist, or a neuroscientist. It's about having them find their passion," said Dr. Keith Black, neurosurgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Black told students he started the program in 1998 after having a similar experience as a child.

"I got a chance to actually go to one of the hospitals in Cleveland and listen to a brain surgeon talk," he said.

Seventh-grader Jasmine Brown said Black's speech was inspirational because she wants to become a doctor when she's older.

A one-day, once-a-year program can really influence a child for a lifetime, but Black said he'd like to see kids benefit from an even longer mentoring experience.

"I wish we could do it six weeks a year, eight weeks a year. And I would love to see other medical centers and other hospitals really start very similar programs," he said.

Dissecting a sheep's brain helped students see what parts of the organ make learning possible.

"They love the work stations, being able to do a simulated brain operation on an $800,000 microscope," Black said.

Student Linus Stroettel, from Lycee Francais de Los Angeles, said he learned quite a bit about the brain from that experience.

"I knew that the brain was mostly gooey and stuff, but I didn't know it was that easy to mostly break," he said.

For students: each exhibit opened a whole new world to explore and it's a universe mentors want to share.

Related Topics:
healthhealthy livingeducationsurgerydoctorsstudentschildrenhospitalsLos AngelesLos Angeles County
(Copyright ©2017 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

Load Comments