Duke University’s Course
Duke University’s Course for Intellectually Curious Pupils, May 2015
Each year an increasing number of boys qualify for the three week Duke University programme. This is aimed at gifted and talented boys and girls in Year 7 and 8 from all over India, who have had to sit a series of tests before they get chosen to join the programme. There are numerous courses to choose from which include Maths, Science, History and Geography as well as technology and Medicine/Life Sciences. The tutors from Duke, aim to stretch the pupil intellectually in a creative and rigourous fashion making them work in teams and also individually.
Gunveer Paintal from Oberoi House reports, ‘One thing I have learned is that I can write if I put in the effort because nobody is born a writer, you become a writer.’
‘I must confess despite being a little apprehensive about missing three weeks of my ICSE IX course, I was excited about going for this programme. Days at TIP passed like our time does at school. I hope to start writing for the school publications when I return. Among other things, we wrote an essay and a short story which we shared with each other and critiqued on where they could be improved and what was well written. I am hoping to give the short story for The Weekly in the coming term. One thing I have learned is that I can write if I put in the effort because nobody is born a writer, you become a writer. But most of all I enjoyed the balance between studies and activities. Socially I have never met so many people with different thoughts yet so like-minded, so open and ready to accept others’ views. I have made friends who I never wish to lose touch with. The evening activities were unique, fresh, insightful and fun and provided a much needed break after the strenuous and demanding class regime. From good old basketball and football to debating and JAMs.’
Abhiraj Lamba from Oberoi House reports, ‘We as a class broke the enigma code and this record by two minutes and that to in our first attempt. This was quite an achievement as breaking the enigma is not an easy task and it requires knowledge of many advanced mathematical topics such as permutations.’
‘I cannot say much about the others but I had expectations from this programme and it would not be wrong to say that it did indeed exceed those expectations. Not only did it help me in the academic sphere of life, which was its main purpose, but also in the social sphere of life as it has connected me with a number of equally gifted students from all around the country. Every Saturday we watched a movie related to or involving cryptology and discussed it on Monday. Our instructor, Mr. Aaron Feickert, told us that the record for any cryptology class, from DUKE TIP USA and India combined, to break the ENIGMA as a class was 35 minutes and that too in their second attempt. We as a class broke this record by 2 minutes and that too in our first attempt. This was quite an achievement as breaking the enigma is not an easy task and it requires knowledge of many advanced mathematical topics such as permutations. Our instructor had many such fun activities for us, one of which was a cipher quiz within the class in small groups of 4 – 5 people. Every day after classes, we had an hour of free time, which was followed by activity time in the evening. The activities taken by different RCs, who themselves were college students, were just amazing. There were sports, arts, literary events etc.I mostly went for the literary events like debating and I must say that these activities were extremely enjoyable and challenging.’
Shreyas Minocha from Jaipur House reports, ‘On the whole I am extremely satisfied by my experience at the Duke Tip Summer Studies Programme India 2015. I would like to thank the school and ASSET for giving me such a good opportunity.’
‘The three weeks that I stayed at the SNU campus, I was always busy with various activities and interaction with other children of similar interests. The courses that were offered were of high quality and we covered a lot of material within the three weeks that we stayed there. I was in the Maths Problem Solving Course and we learnt a lot of new things that are not normally taught at this level. This ranged from the Prisoner’s Dilemma game to proof writing techniques. We learnt all this in a non-conventional, fun-filled activity based way. We made various presentations in random groups and had to create our own version of games that we studied. Our instructor and TA were both extremely helpful and were interested in the welfare of the class as a whole. They answered our questions and cleared our doubts as and when required. The evening activities after classes were also extremely innovative. We had different activities each day. Some activities that were offered include quilling, relay quizzes and American football. We also utilized our weekend time very constructively taking part in Ad act competitions, dance competitions, quiz competitions and sports contests. The rooms that we stayed in were clean and had basic facilities. On the whole I am extremely satisfied by my experience at the Duke Tip Summer Studies Programme India 2015. I would like to thank the school and ASSET for giving me such a good opportunity.’
Paras Gupta from Kashmir House reports,
‘My course was DNA and I think that I have enjoyed it to the most. The crazy activities we did cleared our concepts and we did stuff that no one thinks of. This was our own class and the syllabus depended on us’.
‘I have no words to express the amount of learning we did in 20 days. I can say that this was the best camp I have ever been to. The intellectual classes we had and the RC groups competitions made the camp reach the next level.
Firstly I would like to talk about our pastoral care. According to me the RC group (the people who were with us all the time as our mentors) treated us well and engaged with us in a friendly manner .We spent one of our best times hanging around with them during our evening RC group meetings and chatting in the late night meetings. They ensured that we are well and are out of all the troubles .They were also our friends with whom we shared our days schedule. They acted as our guides and showed the right path.
Now the most important aspect, academics. My course was DNA and i think that i have enjoyed it to the most. The crazy activities we did cleared our concepts and we did stuff that no one thinks of. This was our own class and the syllabus depended on us. If we were interested in any topic we could go in depth and skip one topic we were not interested in. The debates and discussions were really interesting because all my colleagues were really smart. Hence I can say this was the best academic exposure I ever had.
The activities were amazing and new. We had a lot of debates example can be a fou corner debate and funky debate. We explored music in form of Acapella, and had dance and drama competitions. The weekend DJ was a great way to have fun after a tiring academic week. Activities were important because they relaxed us and also made us think which activity we were really interested in.
But the best part was we were living with different cultures and we could interact with them. My own roommate was from Bengal he taught me many things about the God and Goddesses of his religion. I conclude by saying that this is the best exposure one can get and this camp should be attended once in your lifetime’.
Simran and Inderjit Singh Paintal report on their son’s experience:
‘Gunvir had an excellent experience at the programme. It has helped him in more ways than one. The Creative Writing course was very informative, fun and involved a lot of discussions. The children were introduced to the work of some very inspiring poets and authors and were taught a whole new array of techniques. I believe the atmosphere in the classroom was very amiable and a lot of collaborative activities were undertaken. It was a very non-threatening , non-competitive, relaxed environment where the participants were encouraged to express themselves freely without inhibition. There were various activities which encouraged them to think out of the box as well as various opportunities to enhance their critical thinking skills. The instructor was very accessible and encouraging and used very innovative methods to teach the students.
The after-class activities were no less innovataive. They were kept busy and engaged in a very positive way all day and various streams collaborated on and off stage to showcase their talents which made the large group one cohesive unit. It was a very friendly, non-judgemental environment that encouraged full participation. The Residential Counselors were very helpful, mentored them well and left lasting impressions.
Gunvir came back very happy, excited, confident and full of new ideas. Most importantly he has made a whole new set of friends who understand him and he can identify with them. The amazing thing is that he discovered a latent talent for dancing which he is now exploring further.
We spoke with his instructor when we went to pick him up. She was very happy with his writing and told us that he had been a very active and welcome participant in all the activities.
It has been a very satisfying experience for him and for us. Hopefully he will be able to use the tools he has gathered at this programme, in the days that unfold.’