CONTACT: STEPHEN PRADARELLI
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0007; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: July 1, 1999
Belin-Blank offers challenging summer programs for
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- While other kids are spending this
summer playing video games, mowing the lawn or cruising the mall, more than
1,000 young people are spending a week or two at the University of Iowa learning
about genetics, creating multimedia presentations and building inventions.
The Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International
Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development is hosting nine special
summer programs that are bringing elementary, junior high and high school
students from Iowa and across the country to Iowa City.
"The experience is more intensive than anything
theyve had," said Jan Warren, student program administrator at
the Belin-Blank Center.
Warren said the more than 90 UI faculty and staff
who teach in and run the programs strive to challenge the students intellectually,
as well as give them a chance to socialize with other academically gifted
youth. Students in Belin-Blank programs are highly able and motivated and
are grouped according to their abilities and interests so they can be themselves.
"These kids are excited about coming in and studying
DNA for two weeks," Warren said. "Thats oftentimes very different
than what they might find among their classmates in their hometown school."
Two scholarship programs in particular -- the Iowa
Governors Summer Institute for the Gifted and Talented (IGI) and the Iowa
Summer Institute for the Arts and Sciences (ISI) -- will expose Iowa students
from seventh and eighth grades to upper-level coursework and plenty of opportunities
for hands-on participation.
This years IGI began Sunday, June 27 and runs
through July 9, offering 54 of Iowas gifted students a course titled
"Science and Ethics of the Human Genome Project." Each student accepted
to the program receives an Iowa Governors Institute Scholarship to cover
a majority of the costs.
The curriculum for IGI is overseen by Jeff Murray,
M.D., professor of pediatrics and biological sciences at the UI. This years
Institute will provide students with a background in biology and genetics
as they apply to recent advances in medicine and genetic technology. Students
will learn about the science behind genetic and
medical research through a series of interactive activities and then develop
plans and policies regarding how genetic information may be used in the future.
ISI, a two-week program for 100 of Iowas gifted
students, is broader in scope, offering six rigorous core courses that are
typical of high school and college level classes. Students accepted to the
ISI also receive financial assistance in the form of a Myron and Jacqueline
Blank Summer Scholarship.
ISI courses include advanced science, math problem
solving, social sciences, creative writing, multimedia and technology, and
invention and innovation. Students in the multimedia program will produce
a multimedia art project, and the writing program -- based on the Iowa Writers
Workshop model -- will focus on Iowa life and themes.
Other programs offered this summer include, for elementary
students, Challenges for Elementary School Students (CHESS); for junior high
students, Junior Scholars Academy (JSA) and the Iowa Talent Project;
and for high school students, the National Scholars Academy (NSA), the Summer
Institute for Creative Engineering and Inventiveness (SICEI), the Environmental
Health Sciences Institute for Rural Youth (EHSI) and Project ACHIEVE. Information
about each of these programs is available on the Belin-Blank Centers
web site: www.uiowa.edu/~belinctr/precollege/
Summer isnt all work and no play for these students,
however. Plenty of activities -- from Latin dancing to hiking and picnics
-- supplement the experience, which is memorable for many participants.
"My most treasured memory was when I attended
the Iowa Governors Institute in 1996," one summer program alumnus
from Cedar Falls wrote in a daily newsletter distributed to participants.
"I met a lot of really great people that I still keep in touch with."
EDITORS NOTE: Media interested in interviewing faculty,
staff or participants in the various summer programs should contact Jan Warren,
student program administrator at the Belin-Blank Center, at (319) 335-6148.