By Nicole Endacott, IEA Program Coordinator
Summer 2019 is a wrap! As always, this summer was fulfilling and busy. Returning students reconnected with one another and a large group of bright new students entered the IEA community for the first time. Read on to hear a highlight from each of our summer programs, then comment below with your favorite part of your own summer!
Even though Academy is an academic enrichment program, its benefits go far beyond merely gaining knowledge. Especially in the intensive summer program, students grow socially and emotionally as they have the opportunity to turn their classmate relationships into friendships at breaks and lunchtime. Each summer session, students bond over a different activity (swapping paper airplane designs or creating new versions of tag are past examples), but this summer they came together over tournaments of the game Connect 4. After hundreds of games played over the six weeks of programming, students had not only honed their logic and strategy skills, but they’d also improved their turn-taking skills and made new friends that have lasted past the end of the session.
The most rewarding aspect of working with young people is seeing their growth during their participation in EXPLORE and beyond. I particularly appreciate when alumni keep in touch and share their personal and academic wins and progress with me. This summer, I was fortunate to welcome Kaitlyn Chen as my Summer Program Intern. Kaitlyn previously participated in EXPLORE in 2017 and externed at Apsara Media for Intercultural Education with Dr. Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy. She continued her work with Professor Amy even after her externship ended and maintained her connection with me and EXPLORE whenever she needed support. She is one of those exceptional students who has experienced and seen the program come full circle for her, first as a program participant, and now as an IEA staff member. She was a tremendous help in planning and implementing EXPLORE this summer, from supervising and engaging with students during Friday workshops to creating final e-portfolios for each student. I am truly grateful for students, like Kaitlyn, who continue to inspire and fuel my own passion for working with and empowering youth through education and experiential learning.
This summer, LABS students learned about astronomy in June, protein crystallography in July, and alternative fuels technology in August. Every IEA program strives to be student-centered and responsive to feedback, so after its tenth workshop since launching in March 2018, a student focus group was created to evaluate the program. Five thoughtful students offered observations, ideas, and insights that will help the LABS team tailor the program to best offer a unique learning experience that matches the needs and interests of gifted students in 7th-12th grade. Stay tuned for updates on upcoming LABS workshops!
This was Anna’s first year attending Yunasa West. During the Community Circle activity, our Senior Fellow, Michael Piechowski gave descriptions for overexcitabilities in the five domains – social, emotional, intellectual, physical and spiritual. Anna was mesmerized while listening and actively participated in Q&A. During one question on emotional overexcitability, Michael jokingly asked, “I bet all of you are even-tempered and do not experience ups and downs all the time.” Anna protested loudly and shouted “OH NOOOOO! I feel so deeply about almost everything! That is not true!” It was beautiful to see Anna resonated deeply with the overexcitability descriptions and she was in a safe space to share. After camp, Anna’s mom shared that she has noticed visible growth in Anna, who has become more aware of and is able to analyze her emotions.
To all IEA constituents we thank you for being a part of IEA’s busiest Summer Programs season yet! To learn more about upcoming Fall Programs click here to subscribe to our E-Newsletter.