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WHS Junior Janae Urban

Urban Experiences Stanford's 2012 EPGY Summer Institute

WHS Junior Reflects on Academic Experience

As a junior in high school, a typical summer involves working several jobs while trying to balance my time between family and friends. However, the summer of 2012 was a bit different than previous summers. This summer I had the opportunity of experiencing college life at Stanford University in California.

What qualified me to go to such an elite school? Every year Stanford operates a camp called Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY) Summer Institutes. This camp is targeted towards high school students who have a desire to further their knowledge in a specific area of study. They offer classes that include a wide range of topics. The selection process is based on the interests of the applicant. Since I am interested in the field of business, I was enrolled into the course Investigations in Business and Entrepreneurship.

Along with 38 other students, I studied the concepts behind running a business and key tools to starting a company. We spent the four weeks putting together a complete business plan for our own product or service that we developed ourselves. At the end of the camp, we pitched our businesses to a group of venture capitalists who provided valuable feedback on how to improve our product within the financial and marketing aspects of the business.

Not only did I learn a whole lot about business, but I also learned a great deal from the social aspect of the camp. Living in a house with high school students from around the world sure is an experience! It was really interesting meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds. They introduced me to all kinds of new things, ranging from food I’ve never heard of to sports I never knew existed. I was surprised at how quickly we all became friends. The end of the camp was a very emotional time and it was hard to say goodbye.

At first, I was extremely nervous about the idea of going somewhere I had never been and spending a month with people I didn’t know, but I became comfortable almost instantly when I realized everyone else was in the same situation as me. Overall, I would say that it was a risk definitely worth taking. I learned so much from going to Stanford and I hope to go back there one day. I strongly encourage other high school students to participate in summer camps that allow them to pursue their intellectual curiosity. It is well worth the time and effort, because you leave with insight and skills that are useful in any level of education. Furthermore, it’s an experience you will never forget!

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Urban Experiences Stanford's 2012 EPGY Summer Institute

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