Tag Archives: educational choices

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!

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Advocacy and the Gifted Teenager

By Min-Ling Li

Min-Ling is IEA’s Apprenticeship Program Coordinator. She joined IEA after teaching high school mathematics in Los Angeles. Her dedication to supporting high-potential students is rooted in her own experiences as a student who struggled to find outlets that nurtured her intellectual and social dispositions.

Meeting the academic needs of gifted teenagers requires a

Meeting the academic needs of gifted teenagers requires discussion, planning, and cooperation.

Amelia is a 10th grader who attends a small private school in Northern California. She enjoys singing and dancing, as well as reading about the universe and diving into the intricacies of supernovae. Amelia is self-motivated but often finds that her school and the courses offered do not satisfy her curiosity in the arts, math, and sciences. The content to learn within her school is often shallow, and completing assignments of knowledge-gathering is baffling to her, as she can find the answer with taps on a keyboard and Wikipedia. She despises memorization. Amelia is respectful. With that said, she follows her enthusiastic and inspiring teachers as they “cover material” which she masters quickly. Amelia is an example of a gifted child within “American schools [that] pledge to educate everyone and expose students to a wide variety of topics” (Davidson, 2004). Amelia’s needs are oftentimes overlooked.

Providing safe and nurturing learning environments for gifted students is often difficult when the student seeks services within educational spaces that are not aware of the needs of gifted youngsters. As the coordinator for a gifted program and a teacher of general education students, I have gained knowledge and experience from my interactions with teenagers. Being an advocate is pivotal in my responsibility to offer the best learning environment for gifted students.

Read about advocating for gifted teens!

Announcing the 2014 Caroline D. Bradley Scholars!

We are excited to announce the 2014 Caroline D. Bradley Scholars! Please join us in congratulating this new group of bright, talented young people who demonstrate academic and personal excellence.

Rebekah Agwunobi, Washington
Cole Arnett, Texas
Tuvya Bergson-Michelson, California
Paige Busse, New Jersey
Audrey Chin, California
Galileo Daras, California
Miranda Derossi, Nevada
Eden Fesseha, Pennsylvania
Elias Garcia, New Mexico
Aeden Gasser-Brennan, California
Calder Hansen, California
Matthew Hurley, Illinois
Michelle Jeon, California
Anjalie Kini, Colorado
Ethan Knight, California
Kathy Lee, California
James Liu, Oregon
Holly McCann, North Carolina
Nicholas Miklaucic, North Carolina
Catherine Phillips, North Carolina
Emily Powell, California
Ruhi Sayana, California
Jeffrey Shen, California
Henry Spritz, Maine
Yajur Sriraman, New Jersey
Seth Talyansky, Oregon
Sophia Vahanvaty, California
Andy Xu, South Carolina
Ivy Zhang, New Jersey
Jacob Zimmerman, Massachusetts

The Caroline D. Bradley Scholarship awards highly gifted students with a four-year scholarship to a high school that fits their individual intellectual and personal needs. Students apply in 7th grade. If you are interested in receiving information about the 2015 Scholarship as it becomes available, please join our email list.

Becoming Anything You Want to Be: Career Exploration for Gifted Students

By Mark Erlandson

Mark Erlandson, the parent of a gifted student who presently attends a boarding school out East, is a former lawyer and public high school English teacher from Wisconsin starting a new business as a legal writing consultant.

Career exploration for gifted students

An IEA Apprentice does lab work during her experience learning about a career in cancer research.

“You can be anything you want to be” is a cliche we all will probably tell, or have already told, our children at some time in their lives. For the gifted child, this statement may be closer to the truth. But having too many skills and abilities and multiple interests can be overwhelming, and what exactly does “anything” mean? How do we help the gifted student to understand what the “anything” is and to find the right career match?

To begin, two caveats: technological innovation and economic globalization have brought about swift change to the practice and outlook of many occupations and will continue to do so. Therefore, the goal of much early career planning should be to explore and understand the nature and variety of work available, not to choose a specific career. At most, paint in broad strokes and identify career areas that a child may want to enter.

Second, children’s interests often change as they mature. What once lit that flame of enthusiasm in 8th grade may have diminished by junior year of high school. That is natural. Expect your child’s passions to ebb and flow as he or she ages, becoming exposed to and participating in life’s experiences and learning more about themselves.

Read Mark’s advice for helping gifted students explore career options!

Reflections on Apprenticeship 2014

By Min-Ling Li

Min-Ling is IEA’s Apprenticeship Program Coordinator. IEA’s residential summer Apprenticeship Program 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. These life lessons in personal and intellectual development are invaluable to their growth and assist them in making pertinent connections for the future.

High School Apprenticeship Program

Min-Ling (far left) with the four- and seven-week Apprentices

“Everything you can imagine is real.” Pablo Picasso

I had the honor of spending seven weeks – a time that has magically flown by – alongside wonderful students whom I could not get enough of. Their passion and diligence radiated all around them, and I watched each of them grow over the course of the summer. I feel privileged to have been witness to not only their physical growth (hair and height) but to the development of their perseverance and the bloom of their self-confidence.

As an IEA Apprentice, students must possess an innate desire to learn and an insatiable thirst for knowledge. Driven by these characteristics, each Apprentice worked alongside eminent professionals, becoming a vital part of a research team and/or project. These opportunities posed challenges that gifted students typically do not face in the classroom. The unique difficulties posed by the need to acquire as much knowledge of a subject as possible in an effort to become a productive contributor and by entering into professional cultures they had not yet experienced helped each student develop a newfound maturity. Doctors, research scientists, lawyers, and I comprised the team of mentors who committed to providing support for the Apprentices as they began to mature intellectually and socially, and we provided opportunities for them to learn and to succeed on their own laurels.

Apprentices cultivated relationships with each other and found the acceptance and the strength they needed to conquer the challenges they faced. After each arduous work day, dinner was the time when they shared their struggles to comprehend complex science jargon, algorithms, design techniques, and intricate medical procedures, all the while discussing their experiences with hot wire cutters and petri dishes. Somehow, dinner conversations always culminated in discussions about who they were rooting for on MasterChef or the games they planned to play back at the dorm.

During the evenings and on weekends, Resident Advisers and I engaged the Apprentices’ teenage selves. In an effort to bridge asynchronous highly able minds with their adolescent emotional and psychological needs, we played Pictionary, bowled, went ice skating, and attended a baseball game. Many of the kids also completed summer AP assignments, and many watched a Harry Potter marathon. Astonishingly, I watched each of the Apprentices achieve balance.

At this time last year, I could only dream of these young adults, who have now exceeded all of my expectations. It is now time to plan for next year’s program, and I can only imagine who the phenomenal students will be that take part in Apprenticeship 2015.

See photos from Apprenticeship 2014!
Apprenticeship2014Photos

Do you know a gifted high school student who would benefit from Apprenticeship? Sign up for our email list to stay updated on our 2015 offerings!

Summer Academy at The Huntington – A Scholar’s Paradise

By Louise Hindle

Louise is IEA’s Academy Coordinator. Academy offers K-8th grade students challenging enrichment classes that focus on exploration and application of knowledge.

A group of Summer Academy students enjoys The Huntington's gardens and has fun with new friends made over lunch

A group of Summer Academy students spends lunchtime enjoying The Huntington’s gardens and having fun with new friends

This year, IEA had the tremendous opportunity to host both 3-week Summer Academy sessions at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, that scholar’s paradise situated in the center of San Marino, known and loved by curious minds near and far, young and not so young! It was a boon to our community to enjoy this remarkable location, and more, to begin to appreciate how such partnering might enrich our classes further. As we conclude our inaugural Academy program at The Huntington, we look back at the summer sessions through the eyes of our most important critics: the Academy students themselves!

See more highlights from Summer 2014 Academy

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.

SnehaC

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!”

IMG_4588

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.