Teen Wellness Connection

Teen Wellness Connection

UCSF SEP’s newest program, Teen Wellness Connection (TWC), fosters youth leadership and public health interest as high school sophomores learn about health issues facing teens. Participants collaborate with UCSF scientists and health researchers to learn about the year’s chosen topic, then create a one-day health summit, WellCon, for other high school students. TWC is a 9-month-long program for a team of high school students, comprised of 5 Senior Leaders (rising seniors, program alumni) and 20 Junior Leaders (rising juniors). This team will work together to brainstorm effective means to relaying health information to their peers under the guidance of UCSF scientists.

The TWC begins with a 3-week summer intensive where participants learn about the year’s health focus from UCSF experts and researchers, build community with their peers, and begin planning WellCon. During the school year, participants meet every two weeks to continue learning, planning, and organizing for the conference. The TWC culminates in the spring with WellCon, showcasing the leadership skills, collaboration, and hard work of TWC participants. This spring conference will highlight scientists and health professionals as guest speakers and panelists, host forum discussions, and present interactive and hands-on activities for San Francisco high school students.

As a Teen Leader, you can expect to:

  • Receive a stipend of $2100.
  • Help scientists and experts learn how to connect with you & your peers, and what health information is relevant to your lives.
  • Conduct survey-based research on teen health knowledge and misconceptions.
  • Build your professional network through interactions with scientists and others at UCSF.
  • Develop your science communication skills.
  • Collaborate with UCSF health specialists to create informative and engaging discussions, panels, and activities as part of WellCon.
  • Build community as a cohort of 25 high school student leaders.

2022/2o23 Timeline

  • Summer Intensive: July 18th – August 5th
    • Learn about the health focus from UCSF scientists
    • Develop connections with your high school teammates
    • Brainstorm on the sub-topics within the health focus that are most interesting to you
    • Develop surveys for teens that will inform your sub-topics and the design of the conference
  • Fall 2022 – Spring 2023: students meet every two weeks to plan summit:
    • Review survey data to inform your plans
    • Plan the health conference, choose speakers, panels, activities, etc.
  • Spring 2023: students host a day-long health summit for San Francisco teens

Topics for Teen Wellness Connection

The health focus will change each year and will be based on input from student participants. They’ll learn about an overarching health/wellness topic, then work in subcategory project teams to deepen their understanding. Examples:

  • “Mental Health”. Project teams explore: depression, anxiety, stress, mindfulness, or the role of exercise and sleep on mental health.
  • “Drugs and Addiction”. Project teams explore: alcohol, smoking and vaping, cannabis, drugs and brain development, or addiction physiology.


  • Current high school sophomore
  • Enrolled in an SFUSD high school or an SF charter school
  • Individuals from a background underrepresented in science (see our FAQ for details)

Who are we looking for?



If you can answer “YES” to any of these questions, this program might be for you!


Are you unsure about pursuing science in your future and you want to spend your summer learning more?


Will this provide an opportunity to you that you would not have access to otherwise?


Have you faced challenges that have prevented you from meeting some of your goals for yourself?

We aren’t just looking for students who have the best grades or have accomplished the most.  In fact, we don’t ask you for your grades or GPA as part of your application. Instead, our objective is that your experience in this program is likely to make a difference in your life. We focus on potential and opportunity. In selecting students, we want to know that our program can make a meaningful and impactful difference in each student’s life.

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions for other details!

Questions? Contact: Lakisha: Lakisha.Witzel@ucsf.edu, 415.364.8077

Looking for other summer science programs for high school students? Check out this list we’ve put together!