Deanna Oliver is a high achiever. She participates in gifted programs at school and is constantly looking for new ways to challenge herself.
But not all schools offer the same academic challenges to students, especially for those at gifted levels. And while a number of advanced academic programs exist for students outside of school, they can be costly for some families. Thanks to the Next Generation Venture Fund (NGVF), Oliver and 24 other Kansas City area gifted youth are receiving the support they need to be successful.
NGVF is a program operated by the Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) and Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth (CTY). NGVF identifies and invests in academically talented, underrepresented young people with limited financial means who have the potential to succeed in the classroom and beyond. The program provides them with services to prepare them to attend some of the top colleges across the country.
Throughout their high school years, the NGVF cohort of students will receive career and leadership development opportunities, advanced and college-level courses available online or onsite, mentoring opportunities from college students and business executives, and college counseling and preparatory assistance.
To qualify for NGVF, students first had to be named Duke TIP Scholars by taking college entrance exams (SAT or ACT) and scoring as well or better than the average college bound high school junior or senior.
While some students were intimidated at the idea of taking a college entrance exam in the seventh grade, Oliver, who will be a freshman this fall at William Chrisman High School in the Independence School District, said it didn’t worry her a bit.
Her high score led to her recommendation for NGVF. This summer, she will be attending a three-week long Duke TIP Summer Studies Program at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, fully-paid. She will be studying psychology – one of her many areas of interest.
“I like to try different things just to say I’ve done it all,” she said. She knows her future is wide open and her career interests to date have included acting and law. She also has a strong interest in science.
Oliver’s mother, Danielle Williams, is both proud and thankful.
“This program will give her more advancement in her education and help her to explore some new opportunities,” Williams said. “Already they’re helping her work on an educational plan so she will be ready for college.”
Ten Kansas City area Duke TIP Scholars were identified for the NGVF program this year and 15 more will be chosen next year.