SIG Success Stories


Congratulations to SIG student Mark! The youngest of only six candidates chosen nationwide, Mark was inducted into the National Gallery for America's Young Inventors and received an Edison Innovation Induction Award for his invention of a "Self-Disinfecting Hazmat Suit for Healthcare Workers," protecting healthcare workers from the Ebola virus.

“I Hope My Invention Will Save Lives”
Mark came up with his idea of a "Self-Disinfecting Hazmat Suit" for healthcare workers while watching Ebola coverage on television. He wanted to help doctors and nurses treating Ebola patients to be better protected from contracting the disease themselves. The courses that he took from SIG were very helpful to him, especially the last Biology class. His invention won a National Invention Competition, "Student Ideas for a Better America."

The suit uses widely available and inexpensive materials in its design. Mark believes that making lots of suits will not cost a lot of money. His new hazmat suit has three layers:

  • The outside layer has many small openings to let the solution outside the suit.
  • The middle layer has many pockets filled with disinfecting solution or lentil-shaped beads containing this solution. Behind these pockets there are air pockets that can be inflated by a healthcare worker using a rubber bulb.
  • The third inside layer protects the healthcare worker – nothing can get through.

After putting on the suit, the healthcare worker squeezes the bulb one time or several times, for example every 15 to 20 minutes. Squeezing the bulb pushes the disinfecting solution through the tiny openings of the outside layer to cover the suit. When the Ebola virus gets onto the suit, it is killed by the solution. At the end of treating Ebola patients, the healthcare worker must squeeze the bulb once again to make sure all the Ebola virus is covered with the solution. Then the hazmat suit is no longer dangerous to touch – it can now be safely removed and thrown out.



Compassionate Gifted Student Inspires President Obama

When images of Omran, the young Syrian boy in the ambulance in Aleppo made the news, many of us were moved emotionally, but how many of us took action? How many of us have any idea of what to do in the face of traumatic news like this? Well, one brave little boy named Alex knew exactly what to do, so he took action.

Alex wrote a letter to the President of the United States. You may have heard of Alex, because his thoughtful letter did in fact inspire President Obama, and in turn, this little boy’s decision to act had a meaningful impact on millions of people around the world.

Something you may not know about Alex is that he is a gifted and talented youth, and like many children with high intelligence, he is incredibly sensitive and compassionate. These qualities are wonderful, but they are also part of the challenges facing the parents of exceptionally bright kids. Read Full Blog Post >>

Read an NPR news article about Alex >>


Honoring SIG Students

SIG is pleased of its students’ success stories.

Success Stories

Click on a student's image to view his or her success story.

SIG Believes...

All gifted students, regardless of their financial situation, should be able to experience the academic rigor and enrichment that they deserve.

SIG Offers...

Challenging academics with social, cultural, and recreational opportunities.


Clinton from Tennessee heard about SIG through his Clue (academically gifted and talented) program teacher and subsequently attended the Emory session of SIG in Atlanta, GA.

When Clinton arrived on campus, his first impression was "WOW! It was everything that I thought it would be and more. I am glad for the opportunity." He felt that SIG was different from regular school because it provided opportunities that were not available in the regular school. "You are surrounded by like-minded peers and surrounded by people encouraging you to think on a deeper level. Just being around other people who think like you, to be challenged in conversations, and be able to talk about things going on around the world and not be looked upon as crazy was amazing." His favorite teacher, Mrs. Eli, "taught us but she was calm and fun in a way that made you want to learn and be challenged." Clinton also stated that SIG increased his confidence and made him unafraid to be himself.

Clinton became interested in Psychology as a result of SIG and wants to become a psychologist. He also really enjoyed Microbiology.

Now that SIG is over, Clinton misses being around the friends he met and talking to them on a daily basis. "Also, I miss being independent!"


Clinton, SIG @ Emory


Austtin from Alabama heard about SIG through his uncle, who encouraged him to apply to have the opportunity to learn and meet new people. Austtin subsequently attended the Emory session of SIG in Atlanta, GA.

Upon arriving on campus, Austtin says, "My first impression was excitement, and it turned out to be the best trip I've ever been to. SIG was different from my school because the classes were like college classes and we have our own responsibilities."

His favorite class was Intro to Engineering because "I liked the experiments we did in that class that made me understand more. My favorite teacher was Mr. W.; he was my favorite teacher because he made our class fun and creative."

Austtin was affected socially and emotionally by his SIG peers. "I felt like I had known them all my life and at the end of SIG I was a little bit sad because I made a lot of friends and it was sad because I had to leave them."

He has already registered to attend the SIG program at UCLA.


Austtin, SIG @ Emory


Amy from Georgia has participated in the SIG program at Emory University two years in a row.

Her first impression of the SIG program was that "the campus was different than I expected, but other than that, everything seemed great. Sleeping in dorms took a little getting used to, although that turned out to be one of my favorite aspects of the SIG experience."

When asked about new opportunities offered at SIG, she responded, "SIG gave me the opportunity to choose classes that I was interested in, not just ones that I was required to take. In smaller classes, SIG also provided a more personal learning environment than my regular high school. I was able to meet people from all around the world through SIG. I keep in touch with friends that live in Ethiopia, Jamaica, and South Korea, just to name a few. I never would've had the opportunity to connect with these people if it weren't for SIG."

Amy's favorite class was Working the Future. "I enjoyed learning about Dystopian stories – what people predict about the future – and future trends and technology. It really opened my eyes to what the future will be like." Her favorite teacher was Mr. W. because "he seemed to understand the students more than other teachers. He was funny and presented interesting material for the classes that made the lessons interesting."


Amy, SIG @ Emory


Alana from Memphis, who attended the University of Chicago program, discovered SIG on the Internet.

Her first impression was, "This is going to be a boring three weeks. But, I was completely wrong. SIG was really fun and it kept my brain fresh for school. This was my first year, but hopefully it won't be my last."

To Alana, SIG was like school, just a thousand times better. "You have your academic work but you also have opportunities that you most likely won't receive at school."

One thing that Alana really liked about SIG was the opportunity to go to Six Flags for one of the Saturday activities. She had never been to Six Flags in Chicago. "At school it's really rare for us to go on a field trip out of state unless it's for choir. This is one reason why I really enjoyed the SIG program."

When asked about classes she enjoyed, she shared, "I'm not a science girl, but DNA Diagnostics was an amazing class. We learned about genes, traits, phenotypes, genotypes, heterozygous, homozygous, and so much more. My personal interest was in the cloning project. I've always wondered if cloning was possible, and I found out that cloning is possible in fruit, animals, and humans. I want to experiment with it in the future." Her favorite teacher taught Fit for Life. "He taught me so much more than how to eat healthier and exercise more. He taught me how to be a better person, and I hope his words take me far in life."

Alana's current career goal is to become a criminal defense lawyer.


Alana, SIG @ University of Chicago


Ebrahim, a New York resident, received a scholarship to attend a SIG summer program. It transformed his life. Ebrahim wrote that, as a result of attending SIG, he "felt that my hunger to learn was fulfilled. I could suddenly amass more understanding in the things I love to learn, read and think about." He also found that, at SIG, he had a positive social experience. He could talk for a long time with people who were as passionate and driven about subjects as he was. He also wrote, "Before SIG, I loved to learn and read, and I would go very deep into subjects, but no school offered me a challenge. After my experience at SIG, I knew I was up to the challenge, and that I was able to accomplish great things and start persistently pursuing excellent quality education. I also became more confident being myself, without fear of being judged based on my love for knowledge."

Ebrahim's latest plans are to become an astrophysicist or geneticist, two topics he was exposed to at SIG. "Whatever I will become, I want to make a big impact in that field, and humbly speaking, an impact on humanity." What a great loss it would have been if we had not had the opportunity to address Ebrahim's needs for learning at SIG, through a donated scholarship!



Gabriella from Massachusetts has participated in several SIG programs. Her parents found out about SIG via the Internet because they were looking for "the potential of stimulating and expanding my child's intelligence in approach to school." Gabriella attended sessions at Overlake, Sarah Lawrence, Bryn Mawr, University of Chicago, and most recently, the University of Miami.

Their first impression of the SIG program was that "all SIG programs are set up to feel the same; arriving on campus, the only surprise is the school, but the set up and greetings of SIG staff make you feel you are at previous SIG summer programs.

"SIG has proven time and time to nurture the intellectual hunger of my child. My daughter seemed excited to learn and participate and had a feeling of accomplishment. She enjoyed the interactions with other intellectually hungry kids and staff, feeling part of a bonding community. The last SIG program really took hold; strong bonds were built that I was shocked to see my daughter sad to leave, and missing the program and friends she just bonded with during the three weeks."

When asked if any SIG classes sparked new interests, Gabriella's parent responded, "Amazing how my daughter enjoyed classes that are not even offered in regular school. She felt a need to understand and participate, a lot of it based on the staff encouragement and support allowing her to be creative without the fear of being ridiculed or graded.

"The SIG program continues to build on her strength and security, by acknowledgment of her abilities, giving her pride and ambition to continue exploring the education arena. Leaving the summer program and returning to school makes her stronger in dealing with class work, a feeling of rejuvenation of energy and intellectual curiosity."


Gabriella, SIG @ University of Miami

Emory participant

A first grader from Georgia recently participated in the Emory University program after her parent heard about SIG through a gifted magazine.

When asked how SIG is different from regular school, mom stated, "SIG has the right amount of staff to facilitate a class. The schools just seem to be very stressed and do not have the help they need. Most gifted programs do not have a diverse student body. So it was nice for her to be around students that looked like her as well.

"My daughter felt extremely happy, and I feel it has to do with the diversity of the student body and staff."

Her daughter is interested in fashion/drama and really enjoyed the SIG drama class. "Most elementary public schools do not offer drama."


SIG @ Emory Participant


Tyrell from Florida recently attended the SIG program at Emory University. His mother heard about SIG through a college recruiter, and after reading what SIG was about, he thought it would be a great experience to learn new things.

SIG has affected Tyrell in many ways. "I believe SIG affected my social skills by challenging me with the activities that were scheduled for us. Being in a group has its peaks that everyone can participate in having fun. SIG experiences taught me to want to challenge myself in school, get into other educational programs and in life." When asked about opportunities at SIG, Tyrell responded: "The courses I chose gave me the ability to gain some interesting knowledge about that course. SIG gave me an opportunity to experience pre-college life for three weeks and to meet some wonderful people from different parts of the world."

Tyrell enjoyed his writing teacher the most because he was easygoing and had a sense of humor. He misses the fellowship with his new friends and staff.

"My current goal is to make good grades, graduate from high school, and attend college."


Tyrell, SIG @ Emory


Shae'Erica from Georgia has participated in the SIG program for three summers at Emory University and University of Chicago. Shae'Erica first heard about SIG from a gifted education teacher. She states, "It was a wonderful college experience with meaningful classes. The campus gave me the chance to explore into depth the interests I had."

When asked how SIG is different from regular school, Shae'Erica responded that "in a sense, you have more freedom and the chance to meet different people from different backgrounds and beliefs. It gives you the chance to experience student life with others and the chances to leave lasting impressions from those you've known your whole life."

Some new social opportunities that she experienced were: "I began learning some French and Chinese language from the other students. By being around them, I was taught how our cultures differed." A favorite class was Broadway Beckons. "Broadway Beckons has always been my favorite class because it allows you to express yourself in ways other than your learning abilities. Students are able to display their talents and become the 'characters' they aspire to be."

"The people and memories I made are things I will forever hold dear to my heart."

Shae'Erica plans to go to medical school and become a nurse anesthetist.


Shae'Erica, SIG @ Emory and University of Chicago

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