Originally Published: August 5, 2008 1:33 p.m.
Arizona State University faculty selected Mayer eighth grade student Kirsten Van Horne to attend the rigorous Barrett Summer Program this year.
Mary Lou Scalise and Suzanne Johnson, Challenge teachers at Mayer, nominated Van Horne. She was one of only 58 students ASU admitted from about 200 applicants.
Program Coordinator JoAnn Martinez said that although the mix of students is usually close to 50/50, the program does have more male students.
To qualify for admittance, the student must be an acknowledged gifted student and pass state board exams at the 97 percentile or higher. The student must also be in grades 7-9 at the time of application.
Van Horne gained entrance into the program and attended the university for one week, experiencing the college life as a middle school student.
For the week, she took on a college level workload, on-campus living and first year college experiences.
She studied in the math sector of the program, studying probability testing, descriptive statistics, experimental design and regression analysis.
The program is designed to encourage academic enrichment and intellectual discovery, which inspires participants to reach their educational potential.
Kirsten's mother Christine Van Horne said watching her young daughter enter the university setting was very difficult.
"As a parent knowing that your child will be homesick and scared is very hard," she said. "But the staff was very good and helped her through all that, and in the end I was proud to have made her do it."
Van Horne also is active in many other aspects of her young life. A gymnast and a scholar, she practices five times per week, four hours per day at North Sky Gymnastics in Prescott Valley and will be attending Mayer's Challenge Academy for gifted students in the fall.
She was the proud recipient of the 2008 Outstanding Barrett Summer Scholar award at the end of her term and received a glass plaque, four tickets to the ASU homecoming celebration and an ASU game day t-shirt.
On the first day of the school, Van Horne said she was unsure about returning or applying next year, but by the end of the week she had changed her mind and said she will apply again next year.
The difference between this year's program and next will be that Van Horne will participate in the high school program, which lasts for three weeks instead of one. Aslo, students are allowed to go home on the weekends.
"Kirsten fell right into the college setting and truly enjoyed the experience," said her mother.