SIG eNewsletter: The Gifted Student

May 2016

Sponsored by Hoagies

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:

Barbara Swicord, President of SIGWith summer on the horizon, it is a great time to think about how gifted students can use their informal education time to pursue their lifelong learning on an individual level. Of course we hope that some of that time will be spent in a SIG program. In addition to great experiences like SIG where students gather together with peers to pursue unique studies of interest, we also like to encourage students’ natural inclinations to altruism, global responsibility, and social entrepreneurship.

Philanthropy can begin at very young ages with youth who are so inclined to take action and responsibility for issues that concern them on a deep level. Social entrepreneurship offers students a great way to create a new product or service that improves other people’s lives. Entrepreneurship allows gifted students to utilize their creative abilities and complex thinking skills to break new ground with innovative ideas and develop new businesses. The social aspect allows them to employ their altruistic leanings as they seek to make a positive impact within our global society.

Summer is potentially an optimum period to start to think and plan toward one’s participation in social entrepreneurship. Students will want to think through the issues that concern them, then generate potential solutions that they brainstorm. They will also benefit from learning about existing social entrepreneurs.

When thinking about the business end of such a project, students will need to first define the problem they wish to solve. Then they would propose a service or idea for the business aspect of the plan to generate funds for the project. They would create a business objective, a mission and vision, and a strategy. They would then need to project investment costs, sources of funding, a projected budget and financials, and a plan for marketing.

Researching existing programs and entrepreneurs will be helpful as well. A great role model to begin with might be Bangladeshi Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank, who pioneered the concept of microcredit to support innovators in developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Yunus received a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

But, students also will be inspired by seeing what middle school students are doing at Started by a 14-year-old, this organization’s mission is to be the leading provider of experiential philanthropy opportunities for middle school students. Their vision is for all students to commit themselves to a lifetime of giving before they reach high school. There are many such individuals and organizations that gifted students can use to inspire and model their own efforts, or they may choose to become involved in an existing project.

As educators and parents of gifted students, we need to help them find their place in the world, considering social entrepreneurship as one possibility. Should you have students with characteristics of social entrepreneurs, be sure to help them become aware of programs and people already engaged in such endeavors. They also may want to be a participant in current projects before jumping off into their own ideas. Sometimes, it takes a child to remind us adults what we all should be doing, summer or otherwise.

For students ages 9-12 who would like to know more about their potential as an entrepreneur, please note that SIG will be offering a course entitled The Entrepreneur in You this summer through our online program. More information can be found at

We hope you have made your summer plans by now and that we are included in them. Additionally, if you know of a student who is engaged in social entrepreneurship and would like some assistance with getting those goals to a wider audience, let us know. We are always pleased to highlight great effort.

Barbara Swicord
President, Summer Institute for the Gifted

Campus Spotlight: University of Miami

Campus Spotlight: UC BerkeleyA 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 tropical 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Day Program for students 5-8
    There is also a day program for students ages 5 through 8 which includes a full 4-period academic day.

Limited Space Still Available – Apply Today

Limited space is still available at many programs! Several different program options are available to meet your needs. Our commuter and extended commuter programs have been created to allow students to benefit from our exciting Residential programs while sleeping at home.

Please check our website for available locations and call today at 866.303.4744 to reserve your child’s spot.

Apply Now

Meet Your 2016 SIG Program Director: Kevin Wickersham

Meet Your 2016 SIG Program Director: Kevin Wickersham Prior to assuming the Academic Director post with Summer Institute for the Gifted, Kevin worked as a Teacher, Dean of Students, Assistant Principal, and Principal in a variety of public and private schools. Originally from Santa Cruz, California, Kevin has spent time as a journalist and deep sea fisherman based out of Petersburg, Alaska. Kevin has earned Master’s Degrees from Columbia University and San Francisco State University, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Berkeley. Kevin is the Program Director for Sarah Lawrence College and Rippowam Cisqua School, in addition to being SIG’s Academic Director.

SIG Alumni: One of Many Success Stories!

SIG Alumni: One of Many Success Stories! Editor’s note: We are extremely proud and pleased to be able to highlight a former SIG student in this article through Jesse’s eyes. Jesse is a great example of amazing talent that was brought out through the generosity of the Carmel Hill SIG Scholarship fund, and through the SIG program opportunities that summer learning can provide for students who otherwise would not have access to such opportunities. Jesse recently spoke to our Board of Trustees in New York, and we were so inspired that we asked him to share some of those words with you. Here is Jesse today, in his words, work, and photo.

My name is Jesse, and I am a SIG at UT Austin Alumnus. During the summers of 2008, 2009, and 2010, I had the privilege of traveling to Austin, TX, where I began to experience life and education in a whole new light. My first year attending SIG was after the completion of my freshman year in high school. If you had asked anyone about me from my hometown back in 2008, I am sure they would inform you that I was a quiet and reserved individual. However, that quickly changed once I submerged myself into the life of a SIG student. For me, partaking in this experience provided a first of many things. It was my first time far away from my mother, my first time being in an academic and social environment with a population of culturally diverse individuals, and my first time stepping out of my comfort zone to figure out who I truly was.

Prior to experiencing SIG, I was a shy individual who was afraid of expressing himself. Although I come from a loving home, the exterior environment where I lived was not entirely welcoming to those of us who were different and lived outside the norm of our environment. While at SIG, I was able to live in my truth without fear of judgment or isolation from my peers. Part of the reason why I was able to do this was because SIG brought together a plethora of diverse students who had their own unique differences, and sharing these differences and learning from others were the first steps in becoming a well-rounded individual.

The next step I took in becoming a well-rounded individual at SIG was by choosing classes that provided new learning experiences for me academically. From comparing and contrasting Western and Eastern medicine to learning about philosophy and different philosophers, my time with SIG allowed me to branch out and learn things that I probably would have never learned back home. My most memorable times were spent learning the arts. Besides being an avid reader, I am a lover of music, dance, and theater; however, certain circumstances did not allow me the opportunity to learn it as much as I would have liked. At SIG, I was able to try my hand at learning different styles of ballroom dancing, work on my comedic improv style, and perform alongside the friends I made in Broadway Beckons. Each summer, I always pushed myself to do better with my developing talents in the arts. One of my most memorable moments, and there are quite a few from SIG, would have to be watching my peers perform the play I wrote, based on my SIG experiences, for the Broadway Beckons performance during my final summer with SIG. This memory is special to me because not only was it my first time playwriting, it commemorated my years spent at SIG.

My summers spent at SIG were defining moments of my childhood, and my experiences there continue to influence my life today. My university is home to a very diverse population of domestic and international students, and my social maturity through interactions at SIG enables me to network comfortably and befriend individuals who are different from me. During my tenure with the School of Education at my university, I was able to work with and lead a number of rigorous, academic projects. One of my favorites is the President’s Academy at ULM, and I had the pleasure of serving as the camp director for this 5-day residential camp last summer. The most important piece that I took from SIG and applied to my time with this camp was creating the right atmosphere that was conducive to the living and learning environment. SIG provided a safe and secure atmosphere where I was free to express my ideas, my individuality, and experience new things. I was greatly pleased when faculty members and community partners, who have prior years of experience with this academy, noticed a difference amongst the students and how they interacted with one another. By providing this type of atmosphere, it makes it easier to foster a student’s love of learning, and it makes them more willing to step outside their comfort zone. When I begin teaching in the fall, it is my hope that I can create a similar atmosphere that is conducive to the learning environment. Even if my students do not have a chance to experience life at SIG, I want them to be able to step outside their comfort zones, try their hand at learning something new, and live in their truth even if it is outside of the status quo.

I will forever be grateful to SIG and my sponsor, The Carmel Hill Fund, for allowing me the opportunity to have such transformative experiences that have lead to pleasant memories that I will cherish for a lifetime.

~ Jesse D. F.

Summer Online Program – Exciting Classes!

As you get ready for an amazing summer, why not register for a SIG Online class? Some topics to explore from the comfort of your own home include:

  • Astronomy
  • Web Game Design
  • Nuclear Physics
  • Chess: The Game of Kings
  • The Entrepreneur in You

SIG Online is an engaging eight-week online program for Gifted and Academically 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.

  • Time spent on course assignments will vary by class and instructor; average course time is between 3-5 hours per week, and is self-paced.
  • Participation in online discussions and group projects are key components of our learning community.
  • Instructor office hours ensure communications for your convenience.
  • Students are given access to their own personal Student Portal where they can access their online class, upload a photo and meet their Online Program Director.
  • Each course begins with a "getting to know SIG online" scavenger hunt, as well as a pre-assessment so that instructors can get to know more about each student and their course needs.
  • At the end of the course, the instructor will complete a comprehensive Student Performance Review which will be based on individualized objectives and goals.

Classes begin on June 15, 2016. The registration deadline is June 1, 2016.

Register today.

Puzzle Corner

Replace the dashes in the following sentence with two five letter words. The same five letters must be used for both words. What are they?

On hot summer days it is recommended that children have their _ _ _ _ _  covered and stay in the _ _ _ _ _  as much as possible.

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

On each row place a three letter word that can be attached to the end of the word to the left and to the beginning of the word to the right to give a longer word in each case. When completed, the initial letters of the three letter words will give another word reading downwards. What is it?

COW _   _   _ HOOD
CHECK _   _   _ URGE
FISH _   _   _ BALL
CAT _   _   _ KIN
COWARD _   _   _ BOX
END _   _   _ PLUG
FORE _   _   _ SAW

Courtesy of MENSA

A: Bunnies. The three letter words are BOY, UPS, NET, NAP, ICE, EAR and SEE.

Congratulations to Karthikeya from Hyderabad, India, for being the first to respond with the correct answer to last month's puzzle!

Upcoming Conferences & Events


Australasia 2015 Programme Gifted & Talented Study Day
May 9th to 20th, 2016 depending on venue
This study day offers a unique provision for academically gifted students, Venues: Perth, Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne. Junior gifted programmes will be offered in July and August at the following centres: Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Perth, Nelson, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch.
ICIE conference on Excellence and Innovation in Education
May 18 - 21, 2106
"Creativity – Innovation – Latest Development in Research & Practices," Rijeka, Croatia


Gifted Network - Guest Presenter Dr. Ann Shoplik: Academic Acceleration
June 1, 2016
Ann Shoplik will be presenting on current research supporting acceleration. She will show how evidence supports the impact of acceleration, and the benefits for students and districts. There will be a focus on resources for implementation and development of policies and procedures; Luzerne Intermediate Unit 18, Kingston, Pennsylvania


Hormel Foundation Gifted and Talented Education Symposium
June 13 - 16, 2016
Austin, Minnesota



University of Connecticut's Confratute
July 10 - 15, 2016
Invited speakers: Joseph Renzulli, Sally Reis, Del Siegle, Sandra Kaplan, Aaron Becker, Gara Field, Rachel McAnallen, Angela & Brian Housand, and more
The Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut


SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) Conference
July 21 - 24, 2016
"Gifted: Our Past and Our Future," Optional Continuing Education Sessions, Optional SMPG Facilitator Training, Optional Children's Program in collaboration with the College of William and Mary, The Williamsburg Lodge, Williamsburg, Virginia


Belin-Blank Advanced Leadership Institute
July 25 – 26, 2016
"A Nation Empowered: Research-Based Evidence about Acceleration and Gifted/Talented Students"
Belin-Blank Center, Iowa City, Iowa


Spread the News!

If you are excited about what you have seen in The Gifted Student newsletter, please share it with your friends. Or send us their names and email addresses, and we'll put them on our email list. Write to Michelle Holleran at with "The Gifted Student" in the subject line to subscribe.

Select and go directly to
a specific program page.