Monthly Archives: November 2014

IEA Autumn Benefit 2014

On Thursday, November 20, IEA welcomed fifty guests to The Barder House in Pasadena, California, for our Autumn Benefit. The heartwarming sense of community along with an intellectually stimulating lecture created an amazing evening. Thank you to all who joined us. Here are a few of the event highlights.

After an opening reception featuring cocktails and delicious hors d’oeuvres catered by Matt Roman, attendees enjoyed a guest lecture by IEA parent and friend Dr. Steve Hindle. Dr. Hindle presented a comparative talk on the English and American Civil Wars, making parallels between the takeover of the British monarchy by Oliver Cromwell and the leadership of the confederacy under Jefferson Davis. Most interestingly, Dr. Hindle contrasted the memorialization of these national figures, noting the immense differences in which these notorious historical leaders have been remembered in their respective native lands. As a social and economic historian particularly interested in micro histories, Dr. Hindle was adept at keeping his audience interested and laughing while probing beneath the surface of any layman’s general knowledge of historical events. IEA is grateful to have like-minded individuals like Dr. Hindle, who are eager to promote learning for the sake and love of learning, as members of our community.

IEA President Elizabeth Jones with guest speaker Dr. Steve Hindle and IEA Academy Coordinator Louise Hindle

IEA President Elizabeth Jones (center) with guest speaker Dr. Steve Hindle (left) and IEA Academy Coordinator Louise Hindle (right)

We would like to extend our most sincere gratitude to the volunteers who helped make this evening possible: Dr. Steve Hindle, for his fascinating lecture; CDB Scholar Michelle for her musical performance on flute during the reception; CDB Scholar Jarett and Apprenticeship Alumnus James for their help throughout the event; Matt Roman for the wonderful hors d’oeuvres; and Kevin Malone for the excellent bar service.

IEA program participants volunteered at the event and were a delight to have with us

IEA program participants volunteered at the event and were a delight to have with us

Michelle played flute for guests during the opening reception

Michelle played flute for guests during the opening reception

If you were unable to attend the event but are interested in supporting the social, emotional, spiritual, physical, and intellectual growth of gifted youth, please consider making a donation to IEA today. Your support will provide opportunities for more bright young minds to flourish and grow.

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Thank you again to all of our donors, guests, and volunteers. Your participation in this event has played an integral part in our fundraising efforts for this year to help us continue to provide unique and valuable programs and services to bright young minds. We couldn’t do it without you!

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College Expectations and Aspirations: From the Mouths of Gifted Students

By Min-Ling Li

Min-Ling is a Program Coordinator at IEA and works most closely with our high school Apprenticeship Program, through which she meets and interacts with many gifted high school students. Before coming to IEA, she was a high school mathematics teacher.

ElonGoing off to college is probably one of my best and most anxious memories. At that point in time, it seemed that all of my prior education was in preparation for this milestone. As a first-generation college student, the plethora of tasks to complete for college applications was overwhelming. I recall that my mom, who completed 6th grade in China before immediately beginning to work, advised me that I had completed all the hard work and all that was left was to communicate my story to people whose actions and opinions we had no control over. My dad, who graduated with a Master’s Degree from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, simply gave me a stern look, smile and nod of encouragement when the subject of college was spoken of. Needless to note, “vini, vidi, vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered), and tada!

That was 10 years ago, and I was curious about how students in our IEA community view higher education now. I have the privilege of working with highly gifted and mature youngsters, and with their help I compiled some of their thoughts, expectations, anxieties, and aspirations about higher education. By sharing this data, I hope to provide information and comfort, tell their stories and compel higher education and the world to prepare for this creative, curious and free-natured group of young adults. I asked students ages 13 through 18 amongst our community of Caroline D. Bradley Scholars, Apprentices and Yunasa Emerging Leaders and Counselors in Training about their outlook on higher education. The data from the 40 respondents is featured below. Thank you to all those who contributed!

Expectations

When asked, “In what ways do you hope learning as a young adult will be different from high school?”, 80% of students used the words “free,” “freedom” and “autonomy”:

  • “I hope that there will be more freedom involved. I like to believe that I am a very independent and intellectually bold thinker, and I know that I apply myself better to long-term projects than busy work. So, I hope that there will be less busy work and more projects/papers to engage with.”
  • 82% of students responded similarly to this student, yearning for greater depth and relation to solving problems that affect the world: “I hope that as a young adult I will be able to learn more about the things that matter to me. In high school we often talk about topics that do not interest me, or we talk about topics too shallowly. I hope to be able to learn with greater understanding and purpose.”
  • Students also expressed a need to learn based on their pace: “I hope to have more freedom to choose what I learn and to be able to make my own choices regarding the course material and pace as opposed to having to follow strict guidelines.”

See more of the results from Min-Ling’s survey!

“Parent Etiquette” During the High School and College Application Process

By Bonnie Raskin

Bonnie is the Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship Program Coordinator at IEA. She has extensive experience working with gifted students and supporting them through the high school and college application process.

Applying to high schools and colleges

In an attempt to be supportive and helpful, many parents are too involved in their child’s application process, doing much of the work themselves.

As the program coordinator for the Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship, I have been fortunate to get to know, work with and be guided by the experiences and expertise of independent school, college and university admissions deans and directors throughout the United States. This blog is a composite of what I have learned from dialoguing with them.

Last April, a few weeks after sending the acceptance and rejection letters to college applicants, a dean of admissions at one of America’s most selective universities told me the following story:

“Two days after we announced our incoming freshman class, I received a reply from an applicant’s father. It was curt and written on his corporate letterhead: ‘You rejected my son, he’s devastated. See you in court.’ The very next day, I received another letter, but this time from the man’s son. It read: ‘Thank you for not admitting me. This is the best day of my life.’”

All threats aside, receiving a letter like this never warms the hearts of anyone in admissions. It is the consensus of admissions professionals from preschool through college that more and more, today’s parents are getting too involved in their child’s school admissions process – and not merely at the college level. High school and middle school admissions staff have expressed horror stories about parental actions and involvement so completely out of hand that it seems impossible and implausible for otherwise rational people to behave in such off-putting ways. And this behavior never serves the applicant in obtaining the desired positive outcome.

The increasingly bad “parent etiquette” that admissions officers are seeing right now comes from a confluence of several characteristics of our boomer generation: our sense of entitlement, our suspicion of authority and our bad habit of sometimes living too vicariously through our children. It all adds up to some pretty ugly parental behavior often played out in front of our children. A college admissions dean told me, “Today, parents call the admissions office more than the student applicants, often faxing us daily updates on their children’s lives or asking us to return an application already in process so the parent can double-check his/her child’s spelling.” A high school admissions counselor noted a parent who asked whether they should use their official letterhead when writing a letter of recommendation for their own child. It’s not unusual to know parents who openly write their kids’ essays and even attempt to attend their interviews. They make excuses for less than stellar grades or tout athletic promise as “Olympic team potential.”

Read Bonnie’s tips for being supportive and helpful, not over-involved, during the application process.