Each summer we hire a group of energetic and responsible college students as program assistants or “PAs” to live alongside participants while providing care and supervision. We actively seek out successful young adults who are committed to our shared mission of providing participants with a fun, engaging summer program experience in a setting that fosters independence and growth. In many cases we have the advantage of hiring Davidson Academy chaperones who are very familiar with working directly with profoundly gifted youth on a daily basis. After getting to know our seasonal team members through the interview process, PAs are thoughtfully matched with a group of participants whom they accompany throughout the week and attend the academic courses in an effort to create a close-knit community.
We are fortunate to have a dedicated team of year-round staff members to plan and implement a memorable summer experience. Our leadership staff has over 30 years combined experience with summer programs offered through the Davidson Institute. We are proud members of the American Camp Association and participate in yearly summer program conferences, training, and program development events to continually improve the summer programs we offer. Leadership staff members are on-site daily and are primarily responsible for program and staff management, as well as facilitating parent communication.
Kayla joined the Davidson Institute in 2014 after graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno with a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies. She truly enjoys planning and coordinating the summer programs. STARS and THINK are a fun highlight of her work year and she looks forward to making each summer better than the last. She is constantly inspired by the families and community within Davidson programs and enjoys seeing the connections made during the summer.
Marissa has been at the Davidson Institute since 2015 after graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno with a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies and a minor in Communications. Marissa enjoys being involved in coordinating STARS and THINK. She looks forward to seeing students make connections, experience new opportunities and grow during their time at each summer program.
Jessica developed a passion for nonprofit work while completing her bachelor's degree and teaching English in Southeast Asia. After working in fundraising and volunteer management, she found her niche in program development. Jessica enthusiastically joined the Davidson team in 2013 to help create memorable programs for gifted youth. Her favorite part of every summer is seeing the amazing personal and social growth that students make.
Starting in college as a program assistant for THINK, Aimee immediately fell in love with the mission of the Davidson Institute and the families it serves. With a background in teaching elementary school, Aimee joined the Institute’s team full-time in 2006. Her desire to work directly with students kept her closely involved in the summer programs year after year. Aimee has the privilege to work with the dedicated and enthusiastic members of the Institute’s team and is responsible for overseeing external programming within the organization. She wholeheartedly enjoys watching members participating in all of the Institute’s programs create lifelong connections with other like-minded peers. A native-born Nevadan, Aimee lives in Reno with her husband, Rich, and two children Jerek and Carlee. When she’s not cheering on
her kiddos in their various sports and activities, Aimee enjoys running, baking, and spending time with her friends and family.
Katie spent her childhood summers participating in both residential and day camp programs, which led to her love for and belief in the power and importance of summer programming. As a young adult, Katie enjoyed working many summers as a program leader in various camp environments. Katie also had the special opportunity to serve two years as a volunteer director for Camp Solace, a weekend residential program designed for youth who have experienced the loss of a loved one. These experiences, coupled with Katie’s educational background in both human development and social work, have kept her closely connected with the continued development of the unique summer experiences offered through Davidson. Katie’s favorite part of each summer is watching the growth of participants and staff as the
relationships and experiences they cultivate shape a distinct part of their life journeys.
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Started in 1999, the Davidson Institute for Talent Development is a 501(c)3 private operating foundation. Our mission is to recognize, nurture and support profoundly intelligent young people ages 18 and under, and to provide opportunities for them to develop their talents to make a positive difference.
Profoundly gifted students are those who score in the 99.9th percentile on IQ and achievement tests. Read more about this population in this article.