Stephanie Greene talks about GIV on VPR

Listen to writer, commentator and former GIV Board Chair Stephanie Greene talk about GIV on VPR

The Governor’s Institutes of Vermont (GIV for short ) is a high school enrichment program that hosts residential workshops on VT college campuses in a variety of disciplines. Students can choose to attend institutes in the Arts, Engineering, Information Technology, Environmental Science and Technology, Mathematics, Asian Cultures, Current Issues and Youth Activism, and Entrepreneurship.

For 32 years, thousands of students have had the chance to study subjects and experience problem solving in ways that go far beyond what most high school curriculums can offer.

In a long term study in consultation with Cynthia Char Associates, 86% of GIV Alumni said that the GIV experience increased their confidence. 83% credited GIV with increasing their academic and creative motivation. Nearly as many said they discovered new career paths through GIV. And according to Department of Education statistics, the GIV alumni college graduation rate is nearly four times the statewide rate.

And GIV is not just another program for high school stars. It actively seeks applicants who may not have stratospheric GPAs or may be unsure of their goals, but who are willing to expand their horizons academically and creatively. No student need be turned away for lack of money.

In recent years, GIV has expanded its scholarship program. Almost half of summer institute attendees paid deeply discounted tuition based on need. One fifth of GIV students have a family income of below $25,000.

Executive Director, Karen Taylor Mitchell says that “GIV is committed to recruiting the most under-served students in the state: it serves foster kids, migrant workers’ kids, kids who’ve survived trauma, Asperger’s or ADHD sufferers, the bullied and the disenfranchised.”

And to do this, the GIV board and staff raise $4 to match every dollar they receive from the state.

Business leaders insist that workforce development must be a statewide priority if Vermont is to thrive in the future. Giving high schoolers the opportunity, skills and confidence to advance is part of that solution.

Educating our kids to be innovators and leaders, entrepreneurs, problem solvers and creative thinkers is not a luxury. It’s the foundation on which we will build a sustainable future for our state.

As a public-private partnership that receives just one fifth of its funding from the state, GIV has a proven track record in jump starting college and career aspirations. I hope we’ll find a way to maintain our state policy of supporting this innovative public-private collaboration.

Summer Tech for Vermont Kids

Read about summer opportunities for tech-loving teens in Vermont Tech Jam

As the snow begins to melt, Vermont kids — and their parents — skip past spring to start thinking about the coming summer vacation.

Good news for those getting the jump on planning: Vermont is home to lots of summer camps and programs, including a few with a technology focus.

Young Hacks Academy runs weeklong day-camp sessions for kids ages 9-14 on game development, coding for beginners and learning to program with Python. The program has expanded to 17 locations this summer, including Burlington, Bennington, Hyde Park and Woodstock.Check it out here.

High schoolers looking for more advanced instruction should investigate The Governor’s Institutes of Vermont. These prestigious programs offer eight accelerated courses on college campuses geared toward highly motivated learners. Offerings this year include engineering, mathematical sciences, and information technology and digital media.

Tuition is on a sliding scale, so families pay what they can. And girls who want to enroll in these STEM-related institutes are eligible for big discounts thanks to an EPSCoR grant. The deadline to apply is April 1.


Program offers residential learning for high school students

The Times Argus of Montpelier reports on the exciting learning opportunities available at GIV in “Program offers residential learning for high school students,”

High school students from all over the state will once again have the chance to be involved in an interactive educational program of their choice this summer through the Governor’s Institute of Vermont.

The GIV is offering eight residential learning institutes for high school students, with programs ranging from Asian cultures to digital media.

The chance to apply for these programs has begun.

Students who are accepted into the program — roughly 500 — spend anywhere from a week to two weeks living on a college campus studying a specific subject of their choice.

“It’s a chance to give them a college experience on several different levels,” said Erika Nichols, development associate for GIV. “They study, work and live on a college campus for a week. Essentially it’s practicing for college.”

Each program is at a different college, and students have access to resources such as labs, lecture halls and studio space.

Professors, professionals and experts come to the college to educate the students in each area of study.

“It’s an intense, hands-on exploration of subjects,” Nichols said.

The time spent on campus is very structured, Nichols said, with classes, workshops and field trips that often last most of the day.

“But since the kids are studying something they are passionate about, they really have a great time.”

The tuition for the program is based on household income, tailored to how much a family can realistically afford.

“Price of tuition can be as little as $10 for the week,” Nichols said. “And that is the price a lot of students pay.”

About 20 percent of students pay that amount.

Tuition can be knocked down even more if a female student applies to a program in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

“There is an encouragement for girls to get more involved in those areas of study,” Nichols said.

One topic that was new last year was the entrepreneurship program that will be held again in Randolph Center at the Vermont Technical College campus.

The program director, Laurel Butler, said the popularity for this area of study is encouraging.

“You don’t see a lot of classes based around business and entrepreneurialism for students at the high school age,” she said. “So a lot of students join this program not even having a basic understanding of these topics, but they have energy and enthusiasm to make up for it. And they learn quickly.”

Butler is the business adviser at the Vermont Small Business Development Center and approached GIV last year about adding a program based on starting and growing a business.

The program took off.

“We had full capacity last year,” Butler said of the 22 students who got accepted into the program.

This year, the capacity has been expanded and will allow for 30 students to take the weeklong course.

A number any greater than that, Butler said, would be too much and the quality of the program might suffer.

The course load will include and explore the ethics, sustainability and social responsibilities of owning and operating a business.

How to market, finance and successfully operate a business also will be areas of study, Butler said, as well as how to work with a business partner and employees.

“It is always useful to understand how businesses work,” Butler said. “Because no matter what you do or where you go, most likely you will be working or involved with some form of business.”