Catalyst summit held

The event brings together talented adolescents, outsanding graduate students or postdoctorates, and eminent researchers to foster a new generation of creators, thinkers and innovators

Catalyst group members convened at Williams College from June 27 through July 5, 2008, for the program’s second annual summit. The purpose of the summit was to greet a new cohort of Scholars, Associates and Masters and welcome back the inaugural group from 2007 for a reunion.

During the weekend opening of the event and to much acclaim, the 2007 Scholars presented the results of their intensive yearlong research projects completed under the guidance of their Masters and Associates. They then helped lay the foundation for the new group. For the remainder of the week, the 2008 cohort met daily in their teams to discuss issues related to chemistry and begin developing the projects that each Scholar will be carrying out over the course of the year for their 2009 reunion. Masters each gave a presentation during the week about their particular subfield and led a roundtable discussion during the following scheduled meal time.

All of these activities exposed the Scholars to a variety of subdisciplines within the chemical sciences, introduced them to new areas within the artistic field and opened up discussion for issues ranging from colleges, majors and career pathways to more speculative topics such as challenges gifted students face and the status of math and science education in high school. The 2008 Catalyst group includes Chemistry Masters Dr. Ronald Andres (Purdue University), Dr. Paul Barbara (University of Texas), Dr. William Klemperer (Harvard University) and Dr. Steven Sibener (University of Chicago); Art Masters Dr. Andrew Thomas (Music Composition), Wendy Klemperer (Sculpting) and Erica Dankmeyer (Dance and Choreography); Associates Gaby Avila-Bront (University of Chicago) and Johanna Schmidtke (University of Texas); and Scholars Paul Bissonette (age 16, IL), Catherine Crawford (age 17, IL), Jessica Durden (age 16, IL), Jiayi Kong (age 17, TX), Lee-Wei Kao (age 16, IN), Peter Nebres (age 15, IL), Mark Pavlyukovskyy (age 17, TX), Ian Strickman (age 16, MA), Shirlee Wohl (age 16, VT), Brynn Umbach (age 16, TX) and Zoe Yan (age 15, IN).

The Catalyst program, sponsored by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation for Chemical Sciences, is part of the American Psychological Association Center for Gifted Education Policy. It brings together adolescents talented in physical sciences (Scholars), outstanding graduate students or postdoctorates in chemistry (Associates), and eminent researchers across various disciplines of chemistry and the arts (Masters) to foster a new generation of creators, thinkers, and innovators. The goal of the program is to arouse curiosity in gifted youngsters by matching them with inspiring teachers.