The Many Faces of Gifted: Shaun

September 17, 2013

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.


Shaun Yosslowitz
2001 Apprentice, Robotics, Xerox PARC, Palo Alto, CA
2002 Apprentice, Astronomy, Caltech
IT Consultant, Accenture

For high school students looking ahead to college, IEA’s Apprenticeship Program is a great way to do something unique and productive during the summer. Shaun Yosslowitz participated in two science-based research opportunities that put him right in the middle of real-life work environments. Shaun told me his Apprenticeships were “a fun activity that I was able to put on my college admissions applications. So, it was definitely a worthwhile experience that I would encourage pursuing for anyone interested.”

Shaun participated in two IEA Apprenticeship Programs—a Robotics program held at Xerox PARC in Palo Alto and the Exploration of Mars program held at Caltech. “At Xerox Park I built and programmed a modular robot and presented the project to other interns and researchers at the facility. Using light sensors and basic Java, I built a robot to move away from light! I did not have much exposure to coding or Java beforehand, so I found it challenging but interesting.”

“At Caltech, under the guidance of a professor, I researched sunspots on Mars and learned general information about the red planet. The program culminated with a presentation that I gave to the other Apprentices also doing programs sponsored by IEA at Caltech,” Shaun explained.

After high school, Shaun went on to college with plans to go into medicine. “I started UCLA as a Chemistry major, as I enjoyed my IEA Apprenticeships and science classes in school, but graduated with a major in Business Economics and minor in Accounting. My desire to become a doctor quickly shifted to an interest in accounting.”

“During my last couple of years at UCLA, I interned with a local accounting firm and then at Ernst and Young, where I started working full time after school. Ernst and Young supported me through my Certified Public Accounting preparation courses and exams and also heavily subsidized my Master’s in Business Taxation from the USC Leventhal School of Accounting. Later, I decided that I wanted a change. I now work for Accenture as an IT consultant, specializing in the Finance/Accounting area in technology/systems.”

Shaun’s not sure where his life and career will take him, but he’s gotten some great insights along the way!

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