Saint Francis High School and Santa Clara University Partner to Create Next Generation of Innovators

Saint Francis High School and Santa Clara University Partner to Create Next Generation of Innovators

(Mountain View, CA) – Saint Francis High School is proud to announce the first ever high school partnership with the BioInnovation and Design Lab at Santa Clara University. The BioInnovation and Design Lab is Santa Clara University’s thriving hub for authentic industry-focused healthcare design and innovation projects. This partnership seeks to establish opportunities for high school students to learn about real-world issues and be mentored by Santa Clara University faculty and students in those fields of study, while providing researchers with fresh, new perspectives.

“The opportunity to engage with our interconnected world by bringing the knowledge and tools learned in classrooms, clubs, and even outside the high school campus is uniquely valuable to our students,” said Shraddha Chaplot, who spent eleven years as a Silicon Valley engineer and leads the Innovation Program at Saint Francis. “While courses like Computer Science or clubs like Programming, Machine Learning, and Robotics give students access to developing technology skills, these experiential learning opportunities open up new avenues for real-world, interdisciplinary experiences.”

This joint effort has produced three notable projects:

Infectious Disease Forecasting (Machine Learning): This pilot project involved predicting future trends in infectious diseases by looking at data models and utilizing publicly available data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and Google Trends. Seven Saint Francis students worked with newly created data models, furthered their knowledge in machine learning and data analysis and had the opportunity to provide their feedback and insights.

Biofeedback in Immersive Environments (Virtual Reality): This learning opportunity explores the signals our body makes and how to transform them into sights and sounds we can interact with. In this project, an interdisciplinary team of nine students are building a pulse sensor, designing a biofeedback virtual reality (VR) application and putting the two together. Once the app is launched and the VR headset goes on, the player's pulse is reflected in the experience, turning the “lub-dub” of the heart into mesmerizing 3D images. The team will present their VR experience at an interactive event on May 5 from 5:30 - 7:30 PM. Taking place on the campus of Saint Francis High School, this innovation event will be an immersive experience where attendees will receive the latest updates on the Saint Francis High School and Santa Clara University partnership and have the opportunity to experience the new Virtual Reality app the students created to address youth mental and digital health in a fun, relaxing VR gaming environment. The event is open to students and educators, industry professionals, and all interested.

Healthcare Innovation Mentorship Program: This program supports eleven Saint Francis students who are interested in learning about challenges in healthcare. They will attend SCU-sponsored webinars on emerging technologies, be mentored as a cohort by the director of the BioInnovation and Design Lab and write a reflection paper. Later this month, they will participate in a rapid-prototyping healthcare challenge and present potential solutions to an important health care issue or problem of their choice.

“These are fantastic opportunities for our students to be mentored by experts in their field who are committed to the growth and development of high school students,” said Jason Curtis, president of Saint Francis High School. “Working directly with partners who are developing the future of innovation and collaboration in Silicon Valley is a unique and exciting feature of education at Saint Francis.”

The vision of the Innovation Program is to provide students with pathways to learn beyond the classroom and campus by working on big impact challenges across all disciplines with nonprofit organizations, corporations, universities, government agencies, local and global communities, and more. The partnership with the BioInnovation and Design Lab is the first such effort under the umbrella of the Innovation Program.

To take part in the Biofeedback in Immersive Environments event or to participate in future opportunities as a partner, an adviser or as a participant, please email Shraddha Chaplot at shraddhachaplot@sfhs.com. For more information on the Saint Francis Innovation Program, visit sfhs.com/innovation.

About Saint Francis High School

Founded in 1955 by the Brothers of Holy Cross, Saint Francis High School is a leading co-educational, diverse, Catholic, college preparatory school focused on educating the whole person. With a proven reputation for excellence in academics, athletics and the arts, our faculty members prepare approximately 1750 Saint Francis students for the rigors of college and the challenges of global citizenship in the enduring Holy Cross tradition. Saint Francis offers 120 courses in a traditional college preparatory curriculum spread across nine academic departments. Graduating students attend the finest colleges and universities in the nation with 97% of the 2021 graduates admitted to a four-year university. Saint Francis is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and is a member of the National Catholic Education Association, the College Board and the National Association of College Admissions Counselors. Located in Mountain View, California, Saint Francis High School is approximately 35 miles south of San Francisco. For more information, visit www.sfhs.com.


Shraddha Chaplot, Innovation Lead, Design Teacher, Programming Club and Tech League Moderator 
650-968-1213 ext. 315

Jamie Perkins, Director of Strategic Marketing & Communications
650-968-1213 ext. 318