SIG eNewsletter: The Gifted Student

January 2016

Sponsored by the Torrance Center for Creativity and Talent Development

In this issue:

SIG is a program of NSGT, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization

From the President's Desk

A letter from Barbara Swicord, President of SIG:

January is such a hopeful month. It's a month of starting over, looking forward, making plans and resolutions, predictions, and wishful thinking. Hope is a wonderfully positive emotion, allowing us to anticipate good things we expect to happen. It follows, then, that anticipation is a great happiness booster. We get the good thing we anticipate, and we get happiness in anticipation of the good thing. Win/win.

It's appropriate that the Torrance Center is the sponsor for this newsletter in this happy, hopeful month. Dr. Torrance was very much a proponent of engaging students in thinking about their futures through creative problem solving as well as through community action using current problems that needed solving. He believed that it was important for young people to feel empowered about their ability to create a positive future. Through training in creative thinking, the skills of future thinking, and learning to handle problems effectively, Dr. Torrance prepared thousands of gifted youth to tackle the challenges facing them in the future. He was hopeful, and in turn made others hopeful as well.

Here at SIG we strive to accomplish the same objectives, using strategies that Dr. Torrance employed regarding creative thinking and problem solving, imagining about the future, and encouraging students to take personal responsibility for learning and engagement. We achieve these goals through our courses, our programs, and through engaging with caring staff on campus. Now that we are in the calendar year 2016, and into the actual year of the season we have been working on since last summer, we are happily anticipating all the good things that we know will happen in the 2016 session. We anticipate with eagerness our new day program campuses and well as our familiar day and residential campuses, our new staff and students (as well as returning staff and students), and our new and exciting courses, which parallel our returning, exciting courses.

We HOPE you will join us in our anticipation and look forward as well. If you can't be a part of SIG summer or online programs, we hope you have something else exciting to anticipate as you boost your own level of happiness. Cheers to a happy, hopeful, and healthy 2016 for all!

Barbara Swicord
President, Summer Institute for the Gifted

Campus Spotlight: University of Miami

Campus Spotlight: University of MiamiA private research university with more than 15,000 students from around the world, the University of Miami is a vibrant and diverse academic community focused on teaching and learning and the discovery of new knowledge. The main campus is located in the city of Coral Gables, in Miami-Dade County. The world-famous climate and numerous other attractions make South Florida a unique place to experience, whether it’s the beaches of South Beach, cultural venues such as Lowe Art Museum on campus or the Perez Art Museum Miami on the shores of Biscayne Bay, or visiting the shops and restaurants along Coral Gables’ Miracle Mile or nearby CocoWalk in Coconut Grove. Enthusiasts of sports, arts and the subtropical environment will all find something intriguing in close proximity to the campus.

Fun Facts!

  • Over 1,430 degree undergraduates participate in the Honors Program. UM has 52 academic honor societies, including Phi Beta Kappa.
  • 2015 was our first year at the University of Miami.

SIG at University of Miami is a Residential and a Day Program. A Commuter Program and an Extended Commuter Program are also available.

  • Residential Programs for students ages 9-17
    Students choosing this option will participate in the full curriculum of SIG including a 4-period academic day, evening programs, Saturday Getaway Day and Sunday Activity Days. Students live on campus in dormitories.
  • Day Commuter Program for students ages 9-17 (8:30am – 5:30pm)
    Commuter students participate in the full 4-period academic day, lunch and recreation period. They do not participate in any weekend or evening activities. Commuter students must be dropped off at 8:30am and picked up at 5:30pm.
  • Extended Commuter Program for students ages 9-17 (8:30am – 9:15pm)
    Extended commuter students will participate in the full 4-period academic day, lunch, recreation period, dinner, and all evening activities, as well as a Saturday Getaway Day trip. Extended commuters do not reside on campus or take part in Sunday activities.
  • Day Program for students ages 5-8
    There is also a day program for students ages 5 through 8 which includes a full 4-period academic day.

Learn more about SIG at the University of Miami

Registration Deadline Approaching for Spring Online

Register Today for Spring OnlineRegister today for the Spring Online Program! The courses begin on February 10th, with an application deadline of January 27th.

Courses include:

  • Be a Pet Vet
  • Creative Math Paths – NEW to online!
  • The Entrepreneur in You
  • The Boundless Worlds in Biology
  • Web Game Design: Scratch the Itch
  • Fun with Newtonian Physics
  • Youth and the Law – NEW!
  • Chess: The Game of Kings – NEW!
  • Symbols and Myths: What's Behind the Story – NEW!

SIG Online is an engaging eight-week online program for gifted and talented students. These courses offer students curriculum beyond what is offered during the school day; are wide-ranging in potential interest areas for individualized learning; and engage students in authentic learning while applying school content through speaking, writing, researching, analyzing, reasoning, and questioning.

Learn more about the SIG Online program.

Meet Your 2016 SIG Program Director: Hillary Jade

2015 NSGT Person of SIGnificance: Dr. Joseph S. Renzulli Fifteen years after being a camper, Hillary Jade returned to Summer Institute for the Gifted as a Program Director to give students the same wonderful opportunities she had.

Hillary originally hails from Olympia, Washington, but has spent ten years of her life living, working, and studying in Germany. She earned her B.A. with honors in German from the University of Puget Sound and her M.A. in German from Middlebury College. Before joining SIG, Hillary was a Fulbright Fellow in Hamburg, Germany, a Teaching Fellow at Phillips Academy Andover, a foreign language instructor and residential assistant at Salem International College in Germany, and a full-time ESL teacher and exam preparation coach in Hamburg, Germany.

In 2016, Hillary will serve as the Program Director for SIG at Princeton University, Bryn Mawr College, The University of Chicago, Stuart Country Day School, and Oak Hill Academy. Additionally, she is responsible for residential life oversight for all SIG residential programs and is a member of the Alumni Committee.

In addition to her Program Director responsibilities, Hillary enjoys attending and presenting at conferences on gifted and talented education and is pursuing her Master of Science degree in Camp Administration and Leadership. Hillary is a proud alumna of SIG at Pacific Lutheran University 1998 and 1999!

Kevin's Korner

Kevin's KornerHello everyone! I hope you are enjoying a wonderful New Year and that your holiday season was very happy and memorable. As 2016 begins to hit full stride, and we either commit to our New Year’s resolutions or decide they aren’t going to stick, I thought it might be a good time to take a brief look at how the tradition of making such resolutions began.

Most scholars credit ancient Babylonians of 4,000 years ago as the first to declare New Year's resolutions, mostly in the form of promises to their gods. Their year began in March as spring sprung and crops were planted, and keeping resolutions meant that their gods would help produce a bountiful harvest and bestow general grace throughout the following twelve months. Breaking resolutions would anger the gods, and potentially lead to a ruined harvest and other dire consequences.

Ancient Rome featured similar traditions with worshippers promising good conduct to Janus, the god of beginnings and endings who presided over years as they ended and began, as well as the home and hearth. Rome also originally celebrated the New Year in March, but in approximately 300 B.C. the ceremony shifted to January 1. The switch was an outgrowth of primary Roman allegiance switching from Mars, the god of war (after which the month of March was named) to Janus (for whom January was named).

In a very colorful tradition, knights of the medieval era took a “peacock vow” declaring their commitment to chivalry during the final Christmas week feast to help usher in the New Year. At this event they placed their hands on a roasted peacock, which was always presented in full plumage in a large gold or silver vessel. As each knight made his vow to the bird, it was set upon a communal table and divided amongst all present, and individual slices were carved and offered to everyone present.

So how does this tradition apply to you or your children and students? As we can see, New Year’s resolutions can take many individual forms, mean very different things to different people, and be very helpful for gifted students to help them gain a fresh start. A few to consider include:

  1. Meet with your academic counselor to help plan your future. I’m sure many of you in high school, or those who are parents of high school students, have done this, but it is important to keep track of shifting interests and how the universities and colleges you might target might change as a result. Often the most obvious or well-known choice is not the best personal choice, and college academic counselors are in a great position to know what might work best for you, and how to get there.

  2. Resolve that this is a brand-new, fresh school year, with any type of trouble, grudge, assignment not completed as well as it might have been, or misunderstanding that might have occurred during the culminating year, in the rearview mirror. Approach 2016 open to new friends and experiences and you can bring a refreshing new aspect to your school experience.

  3. Take part in extracurricular activities. This will not only open up new academic worlds to you, but also help you meet new friends while developing new interests. Sometimes, it can be difficult to make your voice and true interests heard and understood in classes with many other students, but in extracurricular clubs, which often have a fewer number of students, you can really dive into exploring and discussing those things that inspire you.

Whether or not your New Year’s festivities resemble the peacock vow, and regardless of your lineage, beliefs, and ideas about New Year’s resolutions, I hope that the progressing year brings you and yours a bountiful harvest in the home, hearth, and everywhere else. Happy New Year!

The Institute of Meaningful Instruction (IMI): Exploring Tomorrow

The Institute of Meaningful Instruction (IMI): Exploring Tomorrow Three years ago, Mark Malady and Ryan O'Donnell were finishing up their master's degrees in Applied Behavior Analysis and wondered: where can the natural sciences be applied to make the experiences of being human truly meaningful? The answer became the Institute of Meaningful Instruction (IMI), and today IMI is rapidly becoming a leader in the science of self.

Mark Malady is an up-and-coming leader in the science of Behavior Analysis. Mark has provided thousands of oversight and consultation hours to universities, the US Government and private human services providers.  His expertise in ABA, instructional design and human development provides guidance and direction to IMI's mission, vision and values.  Ryan graduated in 2013 from the Florida Institute of Technology and received his Board Certification that same year.  Ryan has provided over 2,000 hours of instruction and oversight in a variety of areas, including: Medicaid services, DOE Training, prosocial organizational projects, and Rehabilitation and various private entities.  He's active in the field of behavior analysis with over 60 professional presentations, posters, or workshops in the past 5 years.

Mark and Ryan teamed up with Bryan Hallauer in 2015 to form IMI with the ambitious mission to "expand the human potential through instructional materials." With over 9 years of teaching experience in gifted education, Bryan acts as a curriculum consultant and is the customer-facing partner of this exciting project. The 55 years of behavioral science blended with today's top-of-the-line educational technologies and evidence-based practices leaves IMI in a position to revolutionize services and produce the unique outcomes each student aspires to achieve.  

IMI offers an online course entitled Exploring Tomorrow. This 4-week online course teaches achievement through goal selection and measurement relative to each parent-student dyad's unique situation, interests and values. The person-centered curriculum was designed using the accumulation of over 55 years of behavioral science and technology designed to lead participants through a guided conversation about what is truly meaningful, and how to align everyday life with those things. Upon completion of this course, participants will have objective self-generated data that can be used for creating a path towards future aspirations along with the tools to set new goals, change current goals and monitor progress.

IMI is offering all NSGT members a 20% off reduction in the cost of the course. Just use the code "NSGT." For more information or to follow their work, please visit these links:


Puzzle Corner

Which of the following letters is the odd one out?

The Institute of Meaningful Instruction (IMI): Exploring Tomorrow



Courtesy of MENSA

Submit your answer online at The first student who submits the correct answer will receive recognition in the next issue of The Gifted Student!


Last Month's Puzzle

A vehicle has travelled 50 miles at 50 mph. It started its journey with 8 gallons of fuel but its tank has been leaking throughout the journey and is now dry. The vehicle completes 40 miles per gallon. How many gallons of fuel does it leak per hour?

A: 6.75 gallons/hour

Congratulations to Taylor from Binghamton, NY, for being the first to respond with the correct answer to last month's puzzle!

Upcoming Conferences & Events


Lego Brickfair
January 16 - 17, 2016
Birmingham Convention Center (East Hall), Birmingham, Alabama


26th Annual Summer Opportunities Fair
January 24, 2016, noon – 3pm
Philips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts

SIG Will Be There

GHS Summerfare 2016
January 27, 2016, 6 – 8 pm
Greenwich High School, Greenwich, Connecticut

SIG Will Be There

GT Houston Area Summer Parent Expo
January 27, 2016, 5 – 7:30pm
Houston, Texas


Rocket City Mom Learning Expo
January 30, 2016, 9am – 2pm
Earlyworks Children’s Museum, Huntsville, Alabama

SIG Will Be There

TAGT Gifted Plus Conference
January 30, 2016
El Paso ISD's Chapin High School, El Paso, Texas


Utah Membership Symposium
January 30, 2016
Keynote speaker: Michael Clay Thompson, Utah


2016 Montgomery County Camp Expo
January 31, 2016, 10am – 5pm
Hilton Hotel & Executive Meeting Center, Rockville, Maryland

SIG Will Be There

Minnesota Educators of the Gifted and Talented (MEGT)
January 31 - February 2, 2016
"World Class Skills and Gifted Learners," Keynotes: Richard Cash and Susan Daniels
Cragun's Resort and Conference Center, Brainerd, Minnesota



UC Irvine’s Free Gifted and Talented Webinar Series
February 2, 4 - 5 p.m. PST
"Powering GATE Lessons with Student Curiosity," online, free
Institute for the Development of Gifted Education (IDGE)
February 3 - 4, 2016
"Over, Under, Inside Out: Achievement and Emotions of the Gifted," Keynote: James Delisle, Denver University, Denver, Colorado

Emory Camp & Learning Expo
February 4, 2016
Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

SIG Will Be There

ParentMap Camp Fair
February 6, 2016
Medina, Washington

SIG Will Be There
AGIS Conference
February 6 - 8, 2016
"Gifted and Talented Students (High Ability Students) in the International Setting: An Overview, Current Trends, Implementation," Radisson Blu, Hannover, Germany
SIG Will Be There

Illinois Association for Gifted Children (IAGC)
February 7 - 9, 2016
Keynote: Brian Housand; Chicago Marriott Naperville, Naperville, Illinois


UC Irvine’s Free Gifted and Talented Webinar Series
February 9, 4 - 5 p.m. PST
"How do I leverage technology to enhance gifted student learning?,"
Online, free


Arkansas Gifted and Talented Education Conference (AGATE)
February 10 - 12, 2015
"The Arkansas “Gifted” that Keeps on Giving," Keynote: John Antonetti;
Hot Springs Convention Center, Arkansas, USA


UC Irvine’s Free Gifted and Talented Webinar Series
February 16, 4 – 5 p.m. PST
"Acknowledging and Supporting the Spiritual Lives of Gifted Children," online, free


Beyond Giftedness XXIII
February 19, 2016
Keynote: George Betts
Arvada Center for the Arts, Arvada, Colorado
Includes parent mini-conference from 9 am – 1pm


Minds in Motion
February 20, 2016
Masuk High School, Monroe, Connecticut

SIG Will Be There

Kentucky Association for Gifted Education (KAGE) Annual Conference
February 22 - 23, 2016
"Building Connections - Gifted Education in Kentucky," Speakers: Jonathan Plucker, Sally Krisel
Hyatt Regency, Lexington, Kentucky


UC Irvine’s Free Gifted and Talented Webinar Series
February 23, 2016, 4 – 5 pm PST
"Teaching Gifted Students Interdisciplinary Concepts," online, free


Nebraska Association for the Gifted (NAG)
February 25 – 26, 2016
"Cluing In: Unraveling Differences in Gifted Education," Keynotes: Susannah Richards & James Castellano
Embassy Suites Conference Center, Downtown/Old Market, Omaha, Nebraska


Oklahoma Association of Gifted, Creative, & Talented (OAGCT)
February 26, 2016
Featuring: Ann Robinson
Cox Business Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma


California Association for the Gifted Conference (CAG)
February 26 – 28, 2016
Palm Springs Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center, Palm Springs, California

SIG Will Be There

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