October 25, 2012
I attended SSP in the 90's. Even though I was then enrolled in a high school known for its excellence in math and science, SSP taught me more in the short 6-weeks than any high school curriculum. The science instruction was hands-on, direct from the source (meaning from enthusiastic, top-rate scientists), and motivating (you had to really work for it). It was also really important to me, as a teenager then, to be put in a position to collaborate with bright and ambitious peers, day in and day out. I learned more from them than I ever thought possible, even as we were working out our differences (ways of thinking, working habits, sleeping habits!). In the long run, this aspect of SSP would stay with me the longest, and I think of it as the most valuable. For this same reason, the human dimension to the learning environment created and fostered at SSP cannot be duplicated in the high school or college classroom. After I got my bachelor degree, I went back to SSP as a TA, and for the first time understood first-hand how much care and attention was put into the work of teaching, directing, and inspiring the students, and I gained even more respect for the faculty back when I was a student. As for myself, despite the fact that I ultimately chose to pursue a career in the humanities rather than the sciences, I will vouch steadfastly that SSP was a life-changing experience.
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