Net Top Academic Honors
Alumni of the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, an enrichment program for gifted and talented children, were among the winners of the most prestigious academic awards given in 2005, including:
The Rhodes winners
A documentary filmmaker, a founder of an educational non-profit, and a U.S. Olympic hopeful are among the CTY alums selected as 2006 Rhodes scholars.
The Rhodes Scholarships, established in 1902 and widely regarded as among the most prestigious awards in education, were announced in November. Recipients embody "excellence in qualities of mind and in qualities of person which, in combination, offer the promise of effective service to the world in the decades ahead," according to the Rhodes Trust, online at www.rhodesscholar.org/.
Since 2000, 26 CTY alumni have been named Rhodes scholars. Of this year's crop, more than one mentioned CTY's pivotal role in helping them achieve their goals.
"The respect, trust, and intellectual stimulation that I received at CTY played an important role in forming my idea of myself and my abilities as a person," said Maria Cecire, a new Rhodes scholar, of her time in CTY's 1994 Summer Academic Program.
Attending the University of Chicago as an English language and literature major, Cecire, of Newport News, Va., has made strides in providing arts-based education to children from underserved neighborhoods, while acting as president of a student-run film group and completing a documentary about the teaching of math and science in Zambia. In part because of her CTY experience, "I have never wondered whether I was too young or too small in the world to undertake something exciting and new."
Yale senior Jessica Leight concurs. "CTY helped to shape my intellectual interests, hone my skills and provide a taste of the intellectual environment and challenges that ultimately awaited me in college and beyond," she said. The Northampton, Mass., resident is an active public commentator on Latin American politics who has focused her interests on the economics of developing countries, specifically trade policy. In fact, Leight says, "[the] CTY course I took on geopolitics was one of the earliest sparks of my fascination with international politics and economics, which ultimately spawned much of my undergraduate work."
William Hwang, a triple major in biomedical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and physics at Duke University, credits his seven years in CTY's academic programs as a key influence in both his academic and social spheres. "CTY had a major role in developing my interest in math, science and engineering. I took many years of Math Sequence," Hwang said. "From the engaging classes to the almost weekly dances, CTY will always occupy a place in my mind, like I was just there last week."
Hwang, from Potomac, Md., in 2003 co-founded United InnoWorks Academy Inc., a non-profit organization that develops creative science and engineering programs for young people from underprivileged backgrounds.
CTY alumna Alison Crocker had a special reason for taking CTY's distance education courses. While focusing on her academics, Crocker, who grew up in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., was also building her reputation as an All-American cross-country skier. "Working at my own pace through [CTY distance education] math courses meant I was never bored, but still could take time on concepts I found more difficult." Crocker is a physics and mathematics double major at Dartmouth, and is currently in Montana training for the 2006 Winter Olympics.
Cecire, Leight, Hwang and Crocker, along with Eliana Hechter of Seattle, and Rahul Satija of Potomac, Md., two other former CTY participants, will join scholars from 13 countries around the world next October for a two-year stay at the University of Oxford.
The Siemens Westinghouse and Intel winners
Last year also saw CTY alumni recognized in major national competitions. On March 15, 2005, Intel Corp. and Science Service awarded three of the top 10 college scholarship awards in the Intel Science Talent Search to former CTY students, including its $100,000 first prize scholarship to David Bauer of Flushing, N.Y. (Press release online at www.sciserv.org/sts/press/20050315.asp.) Robert Cordwell of Albuquerque, N.M., took fourth place, while Justin Kovac of Potomac, Md., took seventh.
Two CTY participants were also honored earlier in the year in the Siemens Westinghouse Competition Middle States Regional Finals: Kiran Pendri of Wallingford, Conn., in an individual category; and CTY alumnus Albert Shieh, who went on as the leader of the national champion team in December. "CTY provided me with the solid fundamental background in biology that allowed me to jump into more advanced science and eventually work on genetics research problems," says the Paradise Valley, Ariz., native. "I like to think of CTY as an important building block in my education." (Press release online at www.siemens-foundation.org/news/2005SWCWinners.htm.).
"We're enormously proud of these CTY alumni and their achievements," said Lea Ybarra, executive director of CTY. "They illustrate why it's so important to identify academic talent early, then develop the abilities of students of great promise to help them reach the highest levels of accomplishment."
About The Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth (CTY)
CTY conducts the nation's oldest and most extensive academic talent search and offers educational programming for students with exceptionally high academic ability.
For 26 years, CTY has identified America's top academic students in grades two through eight and provided challenging educational programs through their 10th grade year. Students who score at or above the 95th percentile on standardized tests normally taken in school are invited to participate in CTY's Talent Search, during which they take an additional set of standardized tests used to measure mathematical and verbal reasoning. Qualifying students may choose to enroll in CTY programs including summer residential programs, online courses, and one-day conferences on special topics. CTY also publishes Imagine, an award-winning periodical that is full of opportunities and resources for gifted students.
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