Category Archives: The Many Faces of Gifted

The Many Faces of Gifted: Sneha

By Carole Rosner

Every gifted person has a unique story. The following story is part of a series of posts depicting the many faces of gifted by highlighting gifted children and adults we have found through IEA programs. IEA’s Apprenticeship Program – mentioned in this story – links gifted high school students from across the country with mentors who advance each participant’s skills through the application of knowledge and exposure to real world experiences.

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Sneha Chidambaram
2013 Apprentice, Social Media and Media Relations, University of Southern California

“At first, I was definitely intimidated to enter into a real, adult workplace as a mere high school junior. But looking back, I feel this one nerve-wracking transition was what helped me gain more confidence in myself,” high school senior Sneha explained about her IEA Apprenticeship experience.

A counselor at an SAT Prep center told Sneha about IEA’s programs. “What interested me the most about IEA Apprenticeship was the fact that I would be working one-on-one and alongside a professional in my desired field of study, business. After searching for numerous summer programs as an anxious high school junior interested in business, I felt that the Social Media and Media Relations Apprenticeship suited my interests perfectly, as it is the perfect opportunity for getting a snapshot into the business world.”

During her apprenticeship, Sneha conducted competitive market research on Facebook pages, websites, and Twitter feeds; developed a logo; and wrote a news release that was published on the USC News and USC Marshall School of Business websites.

I asked Sneha how she felt going back to high school after her Apprenticeship. “In terms of academics, I feel my procrastination has reduced drastically, and I approach my tasks more methodically. I have definitely grown to plan effectively and manage my time more wisely!”

This summer, Sneha’s plans include “relaxing, eating, shopping, and hanging out with my friends and family,” before heading east to attend University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School to study business. “After my Apprenticeship, I can definitely say that I fell in love with the corporate world, and I definitely intend to work in a corporate firm upon my college graduation. At this point in time, I am leaning more towards the financial sector, so I aspire to work in either a top investment banking firm, or maybe even a private equity firm!”

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Sneha (second from left) with her Mentors and Apprenticeship alumnus Hunter at IEA’s Summer Spotlight 2013

See what Sneha and other IEA program participants said about their IEA experiences at our 2013 Summer Spotlight.

Want to meet more bright and talented individuals? Sign up for our e-newsletters, which regularly feature a different face of gifted.

Reflections on My International SJWP trip to Stockholm

By Anirudh, 2011 Caroline D. Bradley Scholar

2011 Caroline D. Bradley Scholar and then high school freshman Anirudh was selected as the winner of the United States Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP), “the world’s most prestigious award for water-related science and technology projects.” Anirudh recently traveled to Stockholm, Sweden to represent the U.S. at the International SJWP competition with his project, “Use of Sulfidation as a Novel Method for Reducing the Toxicity of Silver Nanoparticle Pollution.”

AnirudhAs the winner of U.S. Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP) competition, I had the honor of representing the United States at the international SJWP competition held in Stockholm, Sweden in the first week of September. I am immensely grateful to Water Environment Federation (WEF) for giving me this fantastic opportunity. The overall experience, both inside and outside the competition, was incredibly enriching and somewhat hard to encapsulate in words, but I will try.

The days leading up to the competition were somewhat frenzied. Ms. Stevi Hunt-Cottrell of WEF took care of all the logistics and also supported me tirelessly with the minutest details on requirements for SJWP poster, dress codes and many other important things I would possibly not have thought of. As I sat on the long flight, I was excited and apprehensive at the same time. I had the tremendous responsibility of doing a good job of representing the U.S. in a global competition in a sea of worthy competitors from exotic places all over the world! I was unsure if I could relate to them, or communicate with them effectively, given the cultural and language barriers.

Soon after I landed in the Stockholm airport, I happened to meet the students from Netherlands and France. Almost immediately my initial fears were proven to be unfounded. All of them spoke fluent English and were so easy to talk to. Not only did we have similar interests in science and water research, we connected on other things such as soccer. This became a recurring theme as I met the rest of the group later. I made many good friends during that short week – people I would always stay in touch with. I still remember how seven of my closest friends stayed up until 4:00 AM on the last day to see me off to the airport. I was extremely touched that they all sacrificed their sleep to say good-bye to me.

Read more about Anirudh’s experience!

The Many Faces of Gifted: Tara R.

By Carole Rosner

Every gifted person has a unique story. The following story is part of a series of posts depicting the many faces of gifted by highlighting gifted children and adults we have found through IEA programs. IEA’s pioneering Yunasa summer camps – mentioned in this story – unite highly able children and experts in the social and emotional development of gifted children and provides an opportunity for campers to explore and grow the intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social and physical aspects of their lives.

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Tara Raizada
Past Yunasa Camper
Current Student at Northwestern University

“The ‘gifted’ label, for me, mattered less and less as I got older,” college freshman Tara Raizada said. “When I was younger, the identification pushed me to achieve more, but I ended up going to a middle school comprised solely of TAG [Talented and Gifted] students, where being ‘gifted’ was the norm, and I began to attribute less to the term than I had before, since that kind of child was so ubiquitous in my life. I hardly ever heard the word during high school, and I began to think even less about it. Yunasa became the only place I ever really pondered the term, and then I thought of it in a positive light. At the same time, I think it’s important to strike a balance with this label, because it can put children under a lot of pressure to achieve what they think ‘gifted’ kids need to achieve. Yunasa, I think, contributes a lot to balancing that fear out for many campers I’ve seen there, to realize that being ‘gifted’ is also a personality trait and an intellectual mindset, not just a measure of intelligence.”

Read more of Tara’s story!

The Many Faces of Gifted: Melissa

By Carole Rosner

Every gifted person has a unique story. The following story is part of a series of posts depicting the many faces of gifted by highlighting gifted children and adults we have found through IEA programs. IEA’s Apprenticeship Program – mentioned in this story – links gifted high school students from across the country with mentors who advance each participant’s skills through the application of knowledge and exposure to real world experiences.

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Melissa M.
2013 Apprentice, Astronomy, California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

“Seeing the way the professors critiqued their students truly was an unexpected treasure of the Apprenticeship Program, as it revealed, unfiltered, the true dynamics of a research environment and showcased the intrinsically collaborative nature of research,” Melissa said about her four-week IEA Apprenticeship at Caltech last summer.

“I worked under Drs. Djorgovski, Donalek, and Mahabal in Caltech’s Department of Astronomy to create interactive, multimedia presentations using the WorldWide Telescope platform. My main job was to take data from my Mentors’ research about atomic emission spectra, Doppler shifting, and variability, and present it in a way that the everyday person can understand through ‘tours’ on the program. I worked with one other apprentice, Daniel Wright, who worked on a tour about asteroids.”

Learn more about Melissa!

The Many Faces of Gifted: Arden

By Carole Rosner

Every gifted child has a unique story. The following story is part of a series of posts highlighting gifted children and adults we have found through IEA programs, depicting the many faces of gifted. Academy – mentioned in this story – provides young students with challenging enrichment classes that focus on exploration and application of knowledge.

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Arden
Academy Student

Although Arden is not yet six years old, he’s already been interviewed by the Los Angeles Times, met Al Gore, been featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live twice, and received a personal letter of encouragement from Bill Clinton. Arden garnered this attention because of his love and extensive knowledge of world geography and presidential history.

Learn more about Arden!

The Many Faces of Gifted: Monica

By Carole Rosner

Every gifted person has a unique story. The following story is part of a series of posts depicting the many faces of gifted by highlighting gifted children and adults we have found through IEA programs. IEA’s Apprenticeship Program – mentioned in this story – links gifted high school students from across the country with mentors who advance each participant’s skills through the application of knowledge and exposure to real world experiences.

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Monica Lienke
2001 Apprentice, Industrial Design at Art Center College of Design (Art Center)
Law Student, Stanford University

Twelve years ago, Monica Lienke was one of the first IEA Apprentices at Art Center. She worked closely with Stan Kong, a leading design educator in Los Angeles. She described her two-week experience as “long hours and a lot of work, but extremely gratifying. I remember feeling that I had learned a ton by the end of it. But probably the best part of the program was getting to know the other participants in the program, who were all incredibly talented and unique individuals.”

Read more about Monica’s Apprenticeship and what she’s doing now!

The Many Faces of Gifted: Albert

By Carole Rosner

Every gifted person has a unique story. The following story is part of a series of posts depicting the many faces of gifted by highlighting gifted children and adults we have found through IEA programs. IEA’s Apprenticeship Program – mentioned in this story – links gifted high school students from across the country with mentors who advance each participant’s skills through the application of knowledge and exposure to real world experiences.

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Albert Keung
2000 Apprentice, Aeronautical Engineering, Occidental College
Post-Doctoral Fellow, Boston University/Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Can you imagine what it would be like to fly in an unpowered glider over Southern California? Albert Keung didn’t have to imagine it; he actually did it in the summer of 2000. Albert was an Apprentice in the Aeronautical Engineering program at Occidental College and mentored by the late Dr. Paul MacCready, founder of AeroVironment, Inc. and known as the “father of human-powered flight.”

Read more about Albert’s Apprenticeship and career path!