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Barrett’s youngest students return to campus

July 14, 2009

More than 100 eighth- and ninth-graders will fill the halls of ASU’s Barrett, the Honors College this summer. The students will engage in an extensive three-week program in which they will study journalism, engineering, sustainability, jury trail and health care and participate in the mandatory course “The Human Event” – a modified version of the course offered to Barrett university students.

These young scholars are taking part in the annual Barrett Summer Scholar Program. The program offers gifted Arizona middle school students in the 97th percentile of their class the opportunity to experience an enriched academic curriculum.

Another important goal of the program is to teach the young students about the services and courses offered at ASU and through Barrett, the Honors College.

“The experience validates their gifted identity because they are with other gifted students who are very much like them, rather than being one of a few at their school,” says Jo Ann Martinez, the executive coordinator of the program.

Returning scholar Daniel O’Dom, 15, says that the journalism course has given him the opportunity to push himself academically, and it has opened his mind to a possible career path.

“I really like my journalism class because we are learning about interviewing, blogging and what questions to ask people,” he says. “I also really like the professor.”

Aside from the classes, it was the friends he made in the program that persuaded him to come back for a third year.

“You build friendships with people and the resident advisers, so it’s cool to see them again and find out how their year went,” O’Dom says.
Newcomer Caroline Kinsley, 14, also is enjoying her time in the program and the world of knowledge it has opened up to her.

“I chose jury trial because I watch a lot of ‘Law and Order’ on TV, and it has been really interesting,” Kinsley says. “I also really like ‘The Human Event’ class because I like being able to take things from my everyday life and connect them to a greater scheme of things.”

Both students agree that the program has taught them about the possibilities available to them at ASU, and particularly at Barrett.

“I’ve been considering ASU and I think it would be a nice place to go to college, especially since Barrett is one of the best honors colleges in the country,” O’Dom says.

In addition to their courses, the gifted youngsters will be attending workshops and going on field trips. The list of places they will visit include the Arizona Republic, APS Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station and the University of Phoenix Stadium. Guest speakers include Ruth McGregor, a retired chief justice; Courtney Klein, the chief executive officer of New Global Citizens; and Raul Yzaguirre, the director of ASU Center for Community Development and Civil Rights.

Natasha Karaczan,
Media Relations
(480) 965-3502