Monthly Archives: April 2012

7 Questions with Amy Cannon

Amy Cannon is a Program Coordinator at IEA. She has worked here for over two years and in the administrative support of educational programs for over six. Her primary focus at IEA is on the Yunasa camps.

1. What are you most passionate about in working with the gifted community?

I am probably most energized by gifted kids’ excitement to know and understand the world. So often, their desire to question and explore is dampened by teachers who want them to stay on task, peers who pressure them to fit in, and parents who aren’t sure how to meet their children’s insatiable need to know. It is this motivation and drive that makes the gifted so likely to shape our future – to contribute inventions, innovations, and discoveries to our world. I love the spark of curiosity I see in all the kids we work with and want to do what I can to fan that spark into a flame!

2. What is one thing you think every family with a gifted child should know?

So often parents will call or email and talk about how unique their child’s situation is – how few equal peers they have, how they present a novel challenge to their school structures, how what they deal with is unlike what they see around them. As someone who administers programs for the gifted, I can assure them: “You are not alone.” There are others out there who have the same struggles, the same challenges, and the same wonderful gifts. What I love about Yunasa camps, and about all of IEA’s programs, is that we provide the opportunity for the gifted to connect – across the country and sometimes across the world – with others who are like them and who share their experiences, joys, and challenges. To observe the strong friendships and lasting community forged in our programs among our constituents is one of the most rewarding parts of my job.

3. Why do you enjoy focusing on the program that you do?

Yunasa camps are my main focus as a Program Coordinator. All our programs are wonderful and rewarding opportunities, but I particularly enjoy working with Yunasa because of the opportunity to go to camp! I love the outdoors; that I get to go kayaking or build a Nature Sculpture with campers as a part of my job is unbelievable! I am also immensely grateful that I am able to work so closely with our Yunasa Fellows, world-renowned experts in the field of giftedness, and wise, kind, sensitive people from whom I personally have learned a great deal.

4. What’s your favorite Yunasa tradition?

Yunasa summer camps, as with most summer camps, are rich with traditions that are handed down from year to year. My favorite tradition might be the opening and closing ceremonies. The campfire, the drum beat, and the songs are the same, but the feeling is so different from the beginning of the week to the end. I love feeling how the traditions have deepened with the campers over the span of just one week!

5. What’s your favorite snack food?

I love cheese more than is probably healthy. I love a spread of cheese, crackers, fruits, and meats. It feels “fancy” but is excessively easy to put together!

6. What’s a movie you watched recently that you liked?

I recently watched “Paper Moon,” which I loved. It has Ryan and Tatum O’Neal, a real-life father and daughter playing a father and daughter con artist team in the movie. Tatum O’Neal was the youngest actor ever to receive an Academy Award, which she won for her portrayal in this movie at age 10. It was made in 1973, is set in the Great Depression, and is funny, witty, and moving.

7. What’s one activity you enjoy doing in your free time?

I’m a voracious reader, so I spend a lot of time doing that! Since moving to Pasadena, I’ve tried to take advantage of being so close to the San Rafael Hills and San Gabriel Mountains and get in a lot of hikes! I also very much enjoy exploring around Los Angeles – Chinatown, Our Lady of the Angels cathedral, Little Tokyo, Olvera St. Taking the metro around L.A. and finding new places to explore and cultural opportunities to benefit from make me glad to live in such a vibrant city! Recently, I took up the ukulele – though I’m far from proficient, it’s come in handy for a sing-along or two. Sadly, I don’t think it will fit in my carry-on for camp!

There are still a few spots left for this summer’s Yunasa and Yunasa West camps. Apply today to join Amy and the Yunasa Fellows in Colorado or Michigan!

Have your kids been to Yunasa or a camp that allowed them to connect with other kids like them? Please share your experience in the comment section below!

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The Many Faces of Gifted: Sophia

By Sophia Bernazzani, CDB Class of 2005

Every gifted child has a unique story. The following story is the second in a series of posts highlighting gifted children and adults we have found through IEA programs, depicting the many faces of gifted. Sophia is an alumna of the Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship program, which awards highly gifted applicants with a four-year scholarship to a high school that fits their individual intellectual and personal needs. Here, she shares the experience she had volunteering in New Orleans.

Sophia with friends

Sophia and her friends traveled to New Orleans to help build houses for those in need.

This March, I went on an Alternative Spring Break trip with 105 other George Washington University students to New Orleans, Louisiana, where we worked in public schools and built houses for seven days.

The process to get to and from New Orleans from Washington was organized and led by students. We asked for spare change at subway stations, wrote grant proposals, did letter writing and online donating campaigns, sponsored each other in marathons, and forged partnerships with local vendors to share some of their profits with us. We rode a bus for 22 hours each way to get there, stayed at a sleepaway Christian summer camp in rooms full of bunk beds that slept near 40, and ate the cheapest food you could ever imagine, but we managed to stay within our means.

The service was a rewarding and fun way to meet other students like me who are passionate about service to others and put in tangible terms the power of people to change and affect the lives of others for the better. I worked with 6th and 8th grade students in a KIPP Public Charter School, and I worked with half of the students on the trip to work towards the completion of one house and began the foundation of another. Our entire crew completed three homes and began one more. We also talked to Teach For America Corps members about their time working in New Orleans schools, and public charter school administrators about the process of improving New Orleans school systems post-Hurricane Katrina.

The trip was my first ever visit to New Orleans, and not only was I able to experience the vibrant culture of the city, but I learned more about the challenges and adversity that have faced our fellow Americans since Katrina in 2005 and how much more is still left to be done. As an international affairs student passionate about global health, public service, and education, my trip was an amazing opportunity to work domestically to help the lives of others, and however great or small our impact had, it was gratifying to know that we were part of the effort to rebuild New Orleans.

Thanks for sharing your story, Sophia! Have you or your kids participated in any service activities like Sophia’s? What was your experience? Please share with us in the comment section below!

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Former Industrial Design Apprentices Soar in Ford Competition

By Jennifer Kennedy

Congratulations to 2011 Industrial Design Apprentices David Acosta and Deven Row, who recently won the Ford Motor Company’s “Designing for the Future” competition!

The contest, entered by over 150 students from 20 countries, required entrants to use images and market research to develop products that would meet the luxury transportation needs of a 20-30 year old in the year 2025. David received first place with his “FordBoard” – a skateboard type transportation device – and Deven placed second for his “Euphoria” vehicle.

Industrial Design Apprentices

2011 Industrial Design Apprentices with their Mentor

Last summer, Deven and David joined 23 other high school students from across the country for IEA’s summer Apprenticeship Program. Industrial Design Apprentices, including David and Deven, worked with Mentor Stan Kong at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. They developed key skills like research, sketching, rendering, creative thinking, and model building.

All of the Apprentices spent three to four weeks living in dorms at the University of Southern California, experienced college life, gained real-world experience working with Mentors who are leaders in their fields, and met new people from diverse backgrounds with similar interests and experiences. On evenings and weekends, Apprentices attended cultural events, participated in recreational activities, and explored Los Angeles.

Even before the program, David knew he wanted to pursue a career in industrial design. The Apprenticeship Program helped him gain important skills in the field, particularly researching and designing for a particular consumer, which he used in the Ford competition and will continue to use in the field of industrial design.

IEA’s Apprenticeship Program is held each summer and matches high school students with Mentors in fields such as science, industrial design, medicine, and law.

Does the Apprenticeship experience sound like an experience someone you know would like? There are still spots available for this summer’s Apprenticeship program! 2012 Apprenticeships are available in Los Angeles and San Diego, California. Apply today!  

Share this exciting news and the Apprenticeship Program with your friends!
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Imagine the Possibilities: 2012 Bradley Seminar

By Elizabeth Jones

Caroline D. Bradley Scholars

Caroline D. Bradley Scholars, parents, and alumni met in Atlanta, Georgia, for the 2012 Bradley Seminar.

March 23 – 25, 2012, we hosted our annual Caroline D. Bradley Seminar in Atlanta, Georgia. The event, funded by The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, provides an amazing opportunity for the Caroline D. Bradley Scholars and their parents to learn and grow intellectually and personally in a unique community.

Each Seminar deals with a theme that focuses on looking inward and challenging ourselves to grow, not only intellectually, but also personally. We all could benefit from time to reflect on things like core values, the importance of resiliency, good and evil, and how to open our minds to possibilities.

Scholars, parents, and CDB alumni participate in cross-generational conversations that tackle these challenging topics each year. This year, the theme was “Possibilities.”

Using the video “Leadership: An Art of Possibility” by Ben and Roz Zander as a starting point for the conference, the group discussed aspects of opening up your world to possibilities.

Quiet the Voice Inside Your Head

One of the major points of the video was to “quiet the voice in the head” – the inside voice that is always talking to us! “You are not prepared,” or “that was a silly thing to say,” or “really, you had to eat the whole thing?” all come from that voice.

It was fascinating to hear what voices played in the heads of each age group. They really are not all that different. That was a revelation to many.

Rule #6

Another popular take away was rule # 6. In the video, Ben Zander tells this story:

Two prime ministers were discussing issues of state. A field aid enters the room franticly waving his hands. “Sir, I am sorry to interrupt but…” The prime minister stops his trusty aid and says, “Remember rule # 6.” The aid smiles and leaves the room.

A few minutes later, another staff member enters the room clearly upset, hair disheveled saying, “Prime minister, I really need to speak to you. You see…” He, too, is stopped and told to remember rule # 6.

When the meeting is interrupted a third time with the same outcome, the visiting prime minister is overcome with curiosity. “What may I ask is rule number 6?”

Beaming, his colleague answers, “Rule #6 is don’t take yourself too seriously!”

“Well, that is great – what are the other rules?”

“There aren’t any!”

Cross-generational discussion

Attendees participated in cross-generational discussions about possibility, including rule #6.

The Possibilities Imagined

I am always amazed at the caliber and depth of discussion at the Seminar. Adults and kids alike ponder life-changing or affirming issues. These discussions among future thought leaders provide a foundation that builds confidence and tolerance.

Over the weekend we discussed how to examine old assumptions and explore new ways to approach familiar situations. We reflected on how to quiet the negative voice in the head and to remember rule #6. Armed with these and other tools, participants left realizing they have the ability to reshape or rewrite their future. Often that means stepping into unfamiliar territory and taking a risk.

If we can let go of unproductive habits – open up our mind, our heart, and our will to new possibilities – we can impact who we are and strive for what is possible, not just what is likely. It takes looking at something in a new way and being ready for the future. I believe the importance of this concept is that it not only articulates what a leader should do, but also who the leader is.

We have been given a gift of a country filled with bright young minds. Teach them to think. Help them embrace all that is possible.