Gifted students to attend summer program at Duke

Mon, 07/03/2006 - 1:53pm
By: The Citizen

Approximately 415 of the nation’s brightest youngsters will attend a special academic program on Duke University’s West Campus this summer and one local student is among them- McIntosh student Will Kearney.

Developed, sponsored and facilitated by the Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP), this program offers a diverse curriculum of courses designed to stretch highly gifted students in grades eight through ten beyond their self-perceived expectations and limits.

During a three-week term, students study a single subject from options including Aerospace Engineering, Primate Biology, Nanotechnology, Forensic Science, Human Intelligence and many more. Duke TIP’s academic curriculum is fast paced and intensive, emphasizing critical thinking, problem-solving, writing and speaking skills and higher-order thinking. Courses cover the equivalent of a year of high school or a semester of college level work and were developed to utilize the expertise of the host site. All summer program students attend class seven hours per day on weekdays and three hours on Saturdays, often utilizing the state-of-the-art laboratories and equipment of this premier center of learning, medicine and research.

Duke TIP’s instructors are a diverse group of talented educators. Members of university faculties, outstanding secondary school teachers, experienced professionals and advanced graduate students experienced in teaching gifted students are selected for their expertise in their fields. Instructors are supported by teaching assistants who lead student study groups and assist in the classroom and an on-site Academic Coordinator.

In the quintessential university setting of Duke’s gothic West Campus, students experience a structured version of college life, going to class, living in residence halls and eating meals in campus dining halls. Although academics take priority, Duke TIP has designed a residential life program to help students unwind and enrich each participant’s experience. A variety of social and recreational activities, organized and supervised by residential counselors, are offered during free time in the evenings and on weekends.

To qualify for Duke Tip’s Summer Studies Program on West Campus, students must have taken the SAT or the ACT as seventh graders and earned qualifying scores that are well above the average scores earned by college-bound seniors. Most students took these tests through Duke TIP’s 7th Grade Talent Search, a program to identify and support academically talented youth.

Local student Will Kearney has been accepted to the 2006 Duke TIP Summer Studies Program. Kearney is a student at McIntosh High School and will study Primate Biology this summer with the Duke TIP program. Kearney recalls that one of his earliest memories is waking up at 3 a.m. and demanding that his parents send him to Borneo to rescue orangutans when he was three years old. Even though they couldn’t send him to Borneo in the middle of the night, his desire to study primates has continued ever since. “I will have the chance to study lemur behavior in depth at one of the nation’s premier primate centers,” he said. Of his goals for the future, Kearney has said he wants “to continue researching physiological responses which stimulate memory formation and to study evolutionary biology and medicine.”

Kearney plans to incorporate his summer research into the science fair project he conducted with his twin sister Emma. The project won the Senior Grand Award at the Georgia Science and Engineering Fair in 2006. The twins attended the International Science and Engineering Fair in Indianapolis, Indiana in May as National Youth Science Foundation observers.

Duke TIP hosts Summer Studies programs at other sites including: Duke University’s East Campus in Durham, N.C.; the Duke University Marine Lab in Beaufort, N.C.; the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kan.; Davidson College in Davidson, N.C.; Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas; and Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C.

Duke TIP is a nonprofit, educational organization that identifies and helps cultivate the talents of academically gifted youth. Since 1980 over 1.4 million students from all parts of the world have participated in Duke TIP. The program is sustained by student fees and donations from individuals, corporations and foundations.

For more about Duke TIP, call 919-668-9100 or visit

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