It turns out Lady Gaga went to “geek camp” at the Center for Talented Youth offered by Johns Hopkins University, one of several summer camp programs offered to smart kids around the country. Other notable alumni of the highly selective programs include Google’s Sergey Brin and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.
Summer programs offer gifted students a chance to stretch their intellect and creativity in ways often not developed in conventional classrooms. Plus, it offers students labeled “nerds” and “geeks” by their peers a chance to find a different kind of social acceptance.
Duke also offers a similar summer camp program, the Talent Identification Program (TIP). More than 3,100 students are attending TIP this summer, taking everything from a math class that covers an entire year of high school algebra to veterinary medicine courses. Attending classes with students who share a passion can completely change how students feel about their “geeky” interests. “If you’re around a bunch of people like there are at schools and stuff, then you can kind of get down if they don’t really like it,” said Sierra Royalty, 13, who is enrolled in TIP’s University of Georgia campus. “But when you’re surrounded by so many people who are always excited and happy and everybody’s into everything, it just makes it a million times better.”