SIGnificant News!

Summer Institute for the Gifted at Boston University Academy

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A Message from the Director

We are excited to be back for our sixth year at SIG BUA! We have many returning students and welcomed many new campers including siblings, friends and other family members who joined us for the first time this year. Energy levels are high and there are many smiles to be shared. We are thrilled to see that campers are easily forming friendships with their classmates and bonding with their program assistants and instructors. Campers are already busy building roller coasters, creating their own inventions, making goop, creating web pages, and learning how to solve mysteries, along with many other fun and exciting adventures in their classrooms.

I am pleased to be able to once again work with such an intelligent and motivated staff and such gifted and talented students. Working at SIG provides me an opportunity to work with a younger student population. During the academic year I work in Student Affairs and am a marathon training instructor at Boston University. As a passionate runner, I like to participate in various levels of racing, from 5 Ks to ultra marathons. I enjoy engaging with students of all ages and feel fortunate to have an opportunity to work with college students during the academic year and elementary students in the summer. I am really excited about what we have already accomplished here at SIG in just one week and am looking forward to seeing what the next two weeks brings!


Jennifer Carter-Battaglino

Who's In the Main Office?

Learn more about the individuals in the main office who you have had so much interaction with so far!

Monique Roy

Academic Dean

Monique is currently pursuing a PhD in French Language and Literature from Boston University; she is especially interested in Acadian and Franco American literature. From northern Maine originally, she spent this past year working as the Interim Director of Franco American Studies at the University of Maine in Orono, Maine. During her graduate studies, she has served as a Graduate Resident Assistant in BU residence halls. Prior to UMaine and BU, Monique worked as a Community Director at Dartmouth College and as a French teacher at the White Mountain School in northern New Hampshire. She has taught at the elementary, high school and college levels and is thrilled to be joining the SIG team this summer in Boston. Outside of work, Monique enjoys gardening, athletics and spending time with family, friends and her partner, Julia.

Kadian Simmonds

Office Manager

Kadian is joining SIG for the sixth year. She has continued to be a part of SIG because she enjoys the interaction with the children as well as seeing how SIG evolves each year. This past year, Kadian taught 5th grade in a Boston elementary school but will be teaching 3rd grade in the Fall. Kadian graduated with her Masters Degree in Elementary and Special Education from Wheelock College in 2013. She received her Bachelors in Sociology and African American Studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Even though she is a classroom teacher during the school year, she enjoys the change of role in the administrative side of things during the summer. During her free time, Kadian enjoys reading, going to poetry shows and trying new restaurants.

Meet The Instructors!

These instructors work hard to nourish your students mind while they are here at SIG. Learn more about what these hard working teachers do when SIG is not in session.

Susan Abeles

Building Blocks of Engineering, Rain Forests: Tropical Treasures and Art Alley

Susan (apparently) grew up in Princeton, NJ but left for other vistas following her first two years of university studies in Wisconsin. She spent the following two years studying in the south of France, then migrated to Toronto and, nearly 20 years later, went to Jerusalem for a year's sabbatical and stayed for twelve. "As I like to quote John Lennon, 'Life happens while you're busy making other plans.'"

Susan taught elementary school in Toronto, English as a Foreign Language to children and adults in Israel and currently teaches ESOL to immigrants in Boston; she's also enjoyed teaching for several summers at SIG sites both in Princeton and in Boston. She just commemorated the fourth anniversary of her return to the States, where she identifies as an "legal alien."

Passionate about nature and animals, all things connected to language and the visual arts, teaching courses in all areas is a gift. "Working with your children is a joyful experience and I wish the same for them."

Matt Acker

Science of the Superhuman and Art Alley

Matthew Acker is a full time educator and artist. Matt teaches first through eighth grade art at a regional school in NH. He also coaches cross country and boys LAX. Matt has had the pleasure of also teaching at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, teaching grad coursed in the Med. Program. He is a practicing artist and currently has a sculpture on display at the NHIA gallery in Peterborough, NH. Matt has had the pleasure of working for SIG for the last four years now and cherishes every moment he gets with such young and eager students.

Margareth Chan

Sports Stop

Hello, my name is Margareth and I work at the Prospect Hill Academy in Somerville. I am a very enthusiastic and friendly person. My favorite hobbies are traveling and to take photographs. This summer is going to be an exciting one because I am visiting Paris, London, and Brussels. What I enjoy the most about SIG is the wonderful opportunity to help children achieve their best by exploring their abilities and interests while having fun.

Christina Cirame

Simple Machines, Complex Designs and Magic Carpet Expeditions

My name is Christina and this is my second year teaching at SIG. Last school year I worked in a second grade classroom as a special education aide. I recently accepted a position as a kindergarten teacher in September. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and reading. I enjoy my time working at SIG because its a great way to continue to work with children in the summer, learning and having some fun along with them!

Laura Connor

The Detective: Master of Mysteries and Get Theatrical!

Laura earned her PhD in Romance Languages & Literatures from Harvard University in May 2013. She specializes in Modern Spanish Culture and her research focuses on the confluence of literature, fine art, and print culture at the end of the nineteenth century in Spain. During the school year, she teaches Spanish at Harvard. She is teaching at SIG this summer because she enjoys working with kids and SIG gives her a chance to do fun, creative exercises she doesn’t get to do during the school year. In her free time, she enjoys running, doing Pilates, traveling, visiting art museums, watching films, and going to hockey and soccer games.

Michelle Cooper

The Curious Chemist; Fun with Newtonian Physics; Storm Chasers: Understanding the Science of Weather

As a certified Massachusetts science teacher, I spend the school year teaching Chemistry, Physics and AP Environmental. I have moved around quite a bit, having worked also in Alabama, Kentucky, Illinois and Maine. I look forward to the fun, hands-on and engaging science activities at SIG each summer. It is such a pleasure and privilege to watch children gain a deeper understanding of science concepts while having so much fun! This will be my 10th year as a science teacher. Before becoming a teacher, I worked as a researcher for Washington University School of Medicine, IBM and Monsanto Chemical Company in St. Louis, Missouri. I am married to an awesome chef. We have a 15 year old beautiful, talented daughter and a chocolate lab named Kal. We love traveling and living in different areas. It is exciting to see the opportunities and viewpoints of different regions. We are hoping one day to travel throughout Italy and France.

Matthew Finnemeyer

Rocks, Minerals, and Crystals: Earth's Treasures and Planetary Science: Putting the 'U' in Universe

I am a Masters of Public Health student in Biostatistics at Kent State University, with 6 years experience teaching high school Earth Science in Ohio & Pennsylvania. This is my first year with SIG, teaching the Rocks & Minerals and Planetary Science courses and I think the whole program is a tremendous opportunity for talented learners. I myself have a young daughter at SIG this year and a toddler son, both of whom keep my wife and I very busy as we spend the summer working here in Massachusetts.

Melinda Griffin

Recreational Geometry and Anticipating Algebra

I love teaching math! I have worked as a math teacher and a mathematics specialist for the past 10 years at both the elementary and middle school levels. I recently moved to the Boston area from Virginia after finishing my PhD at William & Mary with a focus on mathematics and gifted education. I am seeking a position at the university level, but will continue teaching math in the meantime. I am enjoying teaching with SIG this summer as we have a chance to do projects and relate math to art, nature and science which helps the kids see the big picture of how math fits into their lives. In my spare time I enjoy cooking, gardening, and traveling, as well as spending time with my pets. I am looking forward to living in Boston and visiting the wonderful museums and historic sites in the area.

Hannah Hammond

The SIG People's Court and Get Theatrical!

Hello SIG families! My name is Hannah Hammond and I am very excited to be working with SIG for the first time this summer. I am a Theater Teacher hailing from Westwood, MA. In May of 2013 I graduated from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte and I'm licensed to teach in both North Carolina and Massachusetts. I'm very excited to be working with students this summer in "The SIG People's Court" and in "Get Theatrical!" I'm looking forward to a wonderful summer!

Alexandra Humphreys

Advertising Smarts; Cracking Codes: Patterns and Probability; Speaking, Writing and Empowering!

Alex Humphreys is an experienced elementary school teacher who lives just outside of Boston. During the school year she works as a fourth grade teacher in Lawrence, MA. She has a Masters in Elementary Education from Lesley University and her B.A. from Colby College. Alex loves traveling, art and playing tennis.

Wendy Phillips

Online Design: Untangling the Web and Algebraic Expressions

My name is Wendy Phillips. I am a computer programmer turned math teacher. I spent the last eight years teaching 8th grade math and algebra in Newburyport, but will be embarking on a new adventure in the fall as a 5-12 math curriculum coordinator for Wakefield Public Schools. I developed and coached a math team in Newburyport and really enjoyed working with students who enjoyed being challenged and challenged me right back. That's what prompted me to come to SIG! I'm a mother of 3 and enjoy reading, jogging/walking and spending time with my kids.

Molly Sardella

AI: Animal Intelligence at Your Service; What's Your Point; Dinosaurs: Fact, Fiction and Fossils

This is Molly Sardella's third year with SIG. She worked with SIG BUA as an instructor last year and the year before at SIG Fairfield University. She is a certified elementary teacher, and has a Master of Arts in teaching from Quinnipiac University as well as a Bachelors of Science from Northeastern University. During the past five school years, Molly has worked in public schools as a teacher intern, tutor, reading instructor, and third grade classroom teacher. In the fall, she will be teaching third grade in Lawrence. In her spare time, Molly loves cooking and trying new foods and playing with DJ, her energetic and lovable dog. She first joined SIG as a way to keep busy over summer vacation, but has stayed because of the people. Meeting and getting to know staff and students from all over the country (and world!) is what Molly loves most about SIG.

Gerard Tannetta

Eureka! Inventive Minds at Work! and Spying: Secrets, Surveillance and Science

Gerard Tannetta has been an instructor at SIG for the last six years. He enjoys the summer program as it lets students explore their own interest and very unique subjects. The subjects he teaches this year are inventing and spying. During the year he works as a history teacher in a public school just north of Boston. Gerard enjoys reading, playing guitar, and spending time with his wife, dog, and cat. He likes to go on road trips and has visited many historical places, especially on the east coast. He is planning on spending a few weeks in Virginia after the camp ends and before the school year starts.

Meet the Program Assistants!

These program assitants are with your children for the majority of the day. Learn more about them and what brought them to SIG!
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Chrisitan Austin

Eureka! Inventive Minds at Work!; Fun with Newtonian Physics; Planetary Science: Putting the 'U' in Universe; Art Alley

I am a rising senior at Boston College studying applied psychology and mathematics. In my free time I enjoy drumming, soccer, ultimate frisbee and hiking. I'm also an avid board game enthusiast with a special love for Cribbage. This is my first summer with the SIG, and I'm extremely excited to be working with such a talented and diverse group of students.

Tessa Evoy

Rocks, Minerals, and Crystals: Earth's Treasures; Building Blocks of Engineering; The SIG People's Court; Sports Stop

I'm going into my senior year of Boston University as a History major. I mostly study American History, but am also very interested in the history of religion and focused on that last semester. SIG has given me the opportunity to see teachers in their element and explore different styles of teaching within the classroom. This is important for me because I am leaning toward teaching in the future and SIG is pushing me further in that direction. When I'm not at SIG I've loved watching the World Cup this summer and spending my time reading at the beach. This is my first summer in America in a number of years, as my family has been living in London until recently moving back to the Boston area. Though it's been hot SIG is making it a good one and I'm looking forward to the next two weeks!

Whitney Kleinert

Anticipating Algebra; Recreational Geometry; The Curious Chemist; Sports Stop

Whitney moved here from Georgia to pursue her PhD in School Psychology. Currently, she is a fourth year graduate student at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Whitney joined SIG because she grew up as a gifted student and wanted to "pay it forward" by working with this fun population at camp as an adult. When Whitney is not working on research or schoolwork, she enjoys traveling with her husband, doting on her two cats, and running.

Kathleen Moran (KJ)

Anticipating Algebra; Magic Carpet Expeditions; The Detective: Master of Mysteries; Get Theatrical!

KJ Moran, Program Assistant, is pleased to be joining SIG this summer. After serving with City Year D.C. for a year, KJ joined SIG in order to keep sharing her passion for learning with children. During her time at City Year, KJ tutored and mentored in a third-grade classroom at Ketcham Elementary School in Anacostia, co-coordinated the after-school program there, and developed a spring break social justice camp for high school students. A rising freshman at the College of William & Mary, KJ is also the co-founder of the Justice Theatre Company in Milton, where she currently serves as producer.

Natascha Richterich

AI: Animal Intelligence at Your Service; Science of the Superman; Algebraic Expressions; Get Theatrical

Hi! My name is Natascha, and this is my second summer at SIG BUA. I am from South Boston, and I’m a rising junior at New York University. I am an education major, and work with first graders in Manhattan during the school year. I discovered my passion for teaching and empowering children when I began to teach Kempo Karate as a Sensei a few years ago. I absolutely love history, and hope to teach it someday! I also love animals; I have three crazy dogs of my own and have been a vegetarian my whole life. Outside of SIG, I am usually reading, watching movies, playing with my dogs, or hanging out with friends and family in Boston or NYC. I am looking forward to three great weeks at SIG this summer!

Azeema Shaikh

Simple Machines, Complex Designs; Cracking Codes: Patterns and Probability; The Curious Chemist; Sports Stop

Hi my name is Azeema, I'm currently a student at Wheelock College, in hopes to graduating in the Spring of 2015 with a bachelors in Human Growth Development with a focus in Counseling Psychology as well as Early Childhood Education. I joined the Sig family last summer because I wanted to enhance my teaching abilities and to also have the opportunity to work with students from all over the world. I had a great experience last year, which is why I decided to come back this year. During my free time, I enjoy spending time with friends and family and getting involved with community work.

Kristine Thorton (Tina)

Online Design: Untangling the Web; Recreational Geometry; Rain Forests: Tropical Treasures; Art Alley

My name is Tina Thornton. I am from Baltimore, Maryland and I just graduated from Boston University this past May. I will be teaching math at the high school level next school year. Throughout college I did a lot of volunteer work in the public schools around Boston. My passion for education is what led me to SIG. I was a camp counselor at SIG Yale University last summer and am excited to be in my city of Boston this year for BU Academy!

Jeremy Weprich

Advertising Smarts; What's Your Point?; Speaking, Writing, Empowering!; Sports Stop

My name is Jeremy Weprich and I'm a first-year Program Assistant at SIG and proud student at Boston University, although I call Indianapolis home. I am a rising senior in BU's College of Arts and Sciences where I study both sociology and Spanish literature, as well as being a member of the Kilachand Honors College. After teaching English and Spanish at a bilingual primary school while studying abroad in Madrid, Spain this past spring semester, I was eager to jump back in the classroom at SIG. When I'm not studying and teaching, you'll find me writing music at my piano, working in the Boston University Office of Undergraduate Admissions, wandering Boston in search of the city's best restaurants, and making preliminary plans for my upcoming life after college graduation.

Fatema Zaidi

Storm Chasers: Understanding the Science of Weather; Spying: Secrets, Surveillance and Science; Dinosaurs: Fact, Fiction, and Fossils; Art Alley

I'm a rising junior at Boston college studying elementary education and applied psychology and human development. Working with children has and always will be my passion, which is why I chose to work at SIG as a program assistant. The campers have already taught me so much in my first week and their love of learning is an inspiration for me. In my near future I hope to work as an elementary school teacher in an urban setting (possibly Boston!), and I'm always looking for ways to work towards education reform and a better future for my students and our children.