The cultural blur of East and West hit home for Danny
Lopez when he stood between two
pharmacies in a Nanjing hospital.
"One had what you might expect: pills and synthetics,"
said Lopez, who was taking a course on
Chinese and Western medicine through the Johns Hopkins Center for
Talented Youth. Across the hall,
through another window, what he saw were roots and herbs
scattered on the floor. "It was an herbal
pharmacy," he explains, and the pharmacists were at work
putting together prescriptions for patients
who were receiving treatment on both sides of the aisle.
Lopez, a high school senior from Gardena, Calif.,
joined 139 other academically talented
students this summer for CTY's inaugural program in China.
Paired with a new program in Puebla,
Mexico, CTY China dramatically expands the scope of the
Johns Hopkins–based Center for Talented
Youth's international role.
"Students from over 90 countries have come through our
programs over the years," said Lea
Ybarra, executive director of CTY, "so it was natural for
us, as part of Johns Hopkins, to look beyond
boundaries to an emerging economy like China for a site."
Ybarra added that it was critical for CTY to provide a
diverse group of gifted students from
across the United States with a global view they may not
have found otherwise. Along with aid for
their 25 other summer sites, the center provided over
$200,000 in financial aid for CTY China, with
full awards — including books and travel costs
— given to 34 qualifying students. Ybarra credits
such as Hopkins trustee emeritus Chuck Miller for making
sure students with limited economic
resources could contribute to the program's success.
Dragon boat races and local excursions
round out an academic program that includes Mandarin lessons and
courses on China and U.S.-China relations.
Photo by Carl Mclarty
The location was certainly a draw. The 30 applicants
CTY had anticipated receiving quickly
ballooned to more than 150 on the first day of enrollment.
And as the first university unit beyond
SAIS to employ the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, CTY took full
advantage of the new venue to provide a
one-of-a-kind global perspective.
"Most of the classes related directly to China or
U.S.-China relations," said Abigail Novick, a
student from Mamaroneck, N.Y. "We got the theoretical,
academic side, and then the very, very
personal, firsthand experience."
While classes were taught in English, the 140 U.S.
high schoolers all participated in daily
Mandarin lessons over their three-and-half-week stay, in
addition to taking one of the primary
academic courses taught by college professors and graduate
students, including China-U.S. Relations;
Contemporary Issues in Chinese Modernization; Images of
China: Literature and the Arts; and
Medicine: East and West.
CTY China hosted numerous local adventures, too,
including a visit to the Ming Tombs, guided
walks of Nanjing's 600-year-old city walls — the
largest city walls in the world — dragon boat racing
weekly trips to the local markets and parks.
High school senior Burton Snyder of Harrisburg, Pa.,
said it was difficult to imagine a better
way to end his last year with CTY. "Definitely, this was a