Governor’s School benefits students and faculty
It is officially summer, but school is not out for some of the brightest young minds in North Dakota. Sixty-six of the most academically driven high school sophomores and juniors are enthusiastically extending their education for six weeks at N.D. Governor’s School, learning directly from 40 NDSU faculty who are just as eager to challenge them.
“I don’t treat them like high school students. I treat them like college students,” said Steven Meinhardt, associate professor of plant pathology, who has participated in Governor’s School for 20 years. “I want them to use their heads and to work on understanding what they are doing.”
Meinhardt notes, with this group, he doesn’t have to push. “I get to work with bright kids who are willing to work. I don’t have to beg them to learn, just show them the way and let them go.”
From June 5 to July 16, students live at NDSU to intensely study laboratory science, mathematics, information technology, English studies and visual arts (theatre arts and visual arts alternate each year) at a level equivalent to a college freshman or sophomore. The students participate in discussion groups, labs and field trips and complete reading, journaling, research and group project assignments.
The Governor’s School experience is rewarding for both students and instructors.
For students, Governor’s School provides academic experiences they usually do not get elsewhere. Whether it is performing experiments in a world-class laboratory, producing a magazine from scratch, exhibiting artwork in a public gallery, programming a game for Xbox or learning how to use mathematical computer software, students learn through a variety of interactive projects.
They also get a taste of college life - learning in college classrooms, interacting with professors, living in the residence halls and eating in the dining center. “Governor's school gives students the opportunity to experience the thrill of being part of learning community. The experience of sharing questions and insights not only in the classroom but also over dinner or during late-night dorm room sessions is tremendously exciting for these young scholars,” said Rooth Varland, associate professor of theatre arts.
For faculty, Governor’s School provides the fulfillment of watching a young student grow and mature before their eyes. “I like seeing them discover things,” Meinhardt said. “I think for all teachers, when the light bulb goes on for a student, you feel a sense of accomplishment.”
It also gives faculty satisfaction, knowing they are contributing to a brighter future. “All of us at the university are trying to make the future better and to help young people find their way. This is just one way of doing it,” Meinhardt said.
Beyond academics, Governor’s School students attend 4-H life and leadership classes and enjoy off-campus activities like roller skating, mini golf and go-carts. They also travel to Minneapolis to tour 3M and visit the Science Museum, Valley Fair and Art Institute. Other weekend activities include a canoe trip and service projects.