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East student in summer school - at Stanford
Katie Sedlar, a junior at Lincoln East High School, is studying at Stanford University this summer. She was chosen for a summer scholarship by the Joyce Ivy Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the academic advancement of high-potential female high school students. She shares her thoughts on the experiences thus far in Palo Alto, Calif.
Describe where you are, what you are doing, and how you came upon this opportunity.
I'm at a special program at Stanford in which you can take university courses while staying at the Stanford dorms. It's an eight week long session, and I think it gives a pretty good sample of what actually attending Stanford is like. I came across the opportunity because my dad told me about it. He lives close to Stanford, and works at Oracle, where he works with a lot of people from Stanford.
Describe the classes. How are they different from perhaps your normal high school classes?
I'm taking Programming Methodology and Abnormal Psychology. The teaching style in both classes is amazing, much better than either high school courses or courses I've taken at other colleges. I have a friend who is taking Intensive Spanish (with no prior Spanish experience), and after four weeks, he's speaking at the same level I heard in my 4th YEAR Spanish class. Another thing I think is cool (but not Stanford specific) is how you can use phones, laptops, and other devices in class. It's made it way easier to take notes, and it's neat that I can Google search something we're talking about to find out more.
What other activities are you participating in?
Since it's over the summer, we can't participate in the same extracurricular activities that would be available during the year. However, my specific program has all kinds of activities available. For instance, we've been able to go to the California Academy of Sciences, attend the San Francisco Symphony, go on a tour of Google, and much more.
What kind of impact has this opportunity had on you thus far?
It's been an incredible opportunity for me. I really like the freedom of college life, and I've been able to meet all kinds of new people. People from all over the country and the world are here attending. Just in my dorm, there are several people from India, China, and Mexico, a couple girls from Russia, a Palestinian guy, an Indonesian guy, and a Lithuanian. However, I know the people in this program are from over 34 countries total. It's amazing to be able to spend all of breakfast speaking Spanish with native Spanish speakers.
Another thing I like is the sheer impact of this place. Stanford has produced a lot of famous psychology studies, like the Stanford prison experiment. I got to see the hallway where it took place, and then I got to participate in another psychology experiment for extra credit. I get to have professors that have won Nobel Prizes. I get to take tests in the Hewlett Center, named for one of the founders of Hewlett-Packard, who took the same courses as me and sat in the same classrooms that I do.
But probably the coolest part of all is how smart and nerdy everyone else is. I can go up to a random student in the program, talk about how easy some AP test was, and then discuss how we're both huge Tesla fans, before finally debating whether or not the latest Star Trek movie was a good enough follow up the original series. I took mobile app development in school last semester, and now I'm across the hall from a licensed iOS developer. It's an amazing feeling to be around people like that.
Overall, I feel like I've learned so much from the classes, professors, and even the students around me. I know for sure that I'm going to have terrible senioritis next year, and I'm going to be a junior!
Published: July 26, 2012
Updated: August 31, 2012