PV’s summer scholars

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PV’s summer scholars

Clare Basala and her team at RYLA camp this summer

Clare Basala and her team at RYLA camp this summer

Clare Basala

Clare Basala and her team at RYLA camp this summer

Clare Basala

Clare Basala

Clare Basala and her team at RYLA camp this summer

Maya Johnson, Feature Editor

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This past summer, many of PV’s upcoming seniors attended summer programs at universities around the country. Ranging from medical programs to leadership camps, Hannah Lederman, Clare Basala and Amulya Pillutla all found their experience at these camps to be life-changing. 

With the looming stress of preparing for life after high school, the summer before senior year is exciting yet can be very busy and stressful. While many choose to relax and unwind, some find it to be a great time to start early college and after high school preparation. 

Although none of the camps attended offer college or high school class credit, students are often still grateful for the opportunities they gain and enjoy the experience of learning without the pressure of grades. 

Interested in going into the medical field in her future, Lederman attended a Medicine and Health Care Program at the University of California, Berkeley through the National Student Leadership Conference. This well-respected organization and camp is designed to have students, “grapple with controversial medical issues, learn about today’s health care challenges and explore advanced scientific research.”

When asked why she chose to continue studying and learning over the summer while many chose to relax, Lederman stated she “wanted a sneak peek as to what life in the medical field would be like to be more informed for the college application process and choosing a major.”

Lederman went into her program with some knowledge already about the activities she would be doing, but was also surprised when she discovered new information that excited her more than she originally thought, showing just how beneficial it is to go into new experiences with an open mind. 

Over on the other side of the country, Pillutla went to a highly inclusive summer camp at MIT, specializing in STEM studies, that she discovered with extensive research. She reflects on her time at the camp as “the best six weeks of her life” and “recommends a program similar to hers to anyone who wants to have a life-shaping experience” like she had. 

Not only are these camps showing teens the rigor of college life, but also the freedoms and responsibilities that accompany it. 

Back in Iowa, Basala attended a summer camp at Grinnell College, and had a vastly different experience than Lederman and Pilutla, but nevertheless still beneficial. Basala’s camp was focused on honing leadership skills, called RYLA, and she was nominated by the PVHS staff to attend. 

Her biggest takeaway from the camp is “having the knowledge that one’s worth doesn’t come from what they have or what others think of you and it’s important to stand up for your own beliefs.”

For many students, college summer programs are a great way to discover things about fields they’re interested in, what the college experience will be like and themselves as a whole. When asked, all three people that were interviewed highly recommended the camps they attended, or any camp in general, to their peers.

Just because class credit isn’t received, doesn’t mean these experiences aren’t beneficial to students. For many, these summer programs open doors to the future and start them on a great path for college and future careers. With a higher emphasis on learning rather than grades, students want to learn more.