Countless discoveries were made inside the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth's On-Campus Programs classrooms this summer, when CTY welcomed more than 4,100 students in grades 2 to 12 to its three-week residential and day programs.
In addition to the Homewood campus in Baltimore, CTY's eight sites this summer included The Gilman School in Baltimore; Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Ursinus College near Philadelphia; Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island; Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles; the Speyer School in New York City; and the University of California-Santa Cruz.
CTY also partnered with Baltimore City Public Schools again this year to give a free in-person CTY summer experience to more than 1,000 students at three city schools. And the center saw 4,000 enrollments in online courses this summer, with students taking Advanced Java Programming, Advanced Placement Physics, Catching the Criminal, Chess Club, Crafting Fiction, Disease Modeling, Microbiology, Project Mars, and more.
On-campus students spent their days learning about fascinating topics, engaging in deep discussions, and conducting hands-on labs and projects while taking courses like Crafting the Essay, Data and Chance, Epidemiology, Fast-Paced High School Chemistry, International Politics, Inventions, Number Theory, and Zoology.
Inside JHU's Krieger Hall, a class of high school students taking the Investigations in Engineering course crowded around a bridge that a group of them had designed and built with spaghetti. The question at hand: How much weight could the bridge withstand before the noodles snapped and broke under pressure? Everyone nervously watched while a student carefully added weight to a chain attached to the bottom of the bridge. There was a long pause, and when the structure remained intact, they all yelled in unison, "Five kilograms!" and the class went wild. The student added more weight, bringing the total to 8 kilograms. The bridge briefly withstood the pressure and everyone screamed "Ohhhhh!" But after a pause, the spaghetti snapped, and the bridge collapsed.
In CTY's Through the Microscope course, third- and fourth graders made clay models of cells, while students in the Inventions course developed filtration systems to clean dirty water.
Henry Jones, a fourth grader in CTY's Behind the Mask: Superheroes Revealed course, drew a supervillain he had created called The Scribbler. "His superpower is that anything he draws comes to life," Jones said.
In Introduction to Robotics, fifth- and sixth-graders built robots using Lego Mindstorm kits and tested how many ping-pong balls their robots could launch into a plastic tub in 60 seconds. When a robot didn't launch properly, students went back to their desks, assessed what had gone wrong, and tweaked their designs.
The excitement emanating from CTY classrooms in Baltimore and beyond exemplified how the center is building back after years of pandemic-related closures. Forced to cancel on-campus programs entirely in 2020 and 2021, CTY also experienced administrative challenges that led to numerous courses being cancelled in 2022 just before they were set to begin.
This summer, students were able to experience the activities, traditions, and friendships that many CTYers say are pivotal to their own social and academic growth. While most kids come to CTY for the excitement of an academic challenge, many also find lasting friendships and a strong sense of community inside and outside of the classroom.
Zola Larman, a rising sixth grader from Baltimore taking Examining the Evidence at The Gilman School, loved meeting kids from around the world. "There's a lot of (students) from different places and it's fun to learn about them and their different cultures," she said.
Hayden Chung, a rising eighth grader from Englewood Cliffs, N.J. taking CTY's Principles of Engineering course at Franklin & Marshall College, said CTY was the first time he had ever been around kids who could finish math problems faster than him.
"I'm surprised that people here think the same way I do," Chung said. "That's never happened to me before."