Summer Institute for the Gifted

BUA Campus Week 1 Newsletter

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Message from the Director

The excitement is abundant here at SIG BUA! The classrooms are abuzz with various activities. Energy levels are high and there are many smiles to be shared. In just one week we have seen how vinegar and baking soda, when mixed, can enlarge a plastic bag until it pops, created our own navigational maps, made blood soup, learned how to analyze footprints, made up our own codes and cracked them, created self portraits, built structures out of marshmallows and toothpicks and engaged in many other fun experiments. We are excited to see that campers are happily forming friendships with their classmates and bonding with their counselors and instructors. Everyone here at SIG BUA is looking forward to the next two weeks! I, myself, am excited to be working with such an intelligent and motivated staff and such energetic and engaged campers. Working at SIG provides me an opportunity to work with a younger student population. During the academic year I work in Student Affairs and teach a marathon training class at Boston University. As a passionate runner myself, I like to participate in various levels of racing, from 5 Ks to ultra marathons. Most recently I challenged myself to train for a 50 mile ultra marathon, successfully completing it in eleven hours and eleven minutes. 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 Battaligno

Who's In The Main Office?

Montague Williams - Assistant Director

Montague returns as Assistant Director after serving in the same role last year. Before moving to the Boston area, Montague served as the ReThink! Program Coordinator for the Kansas City Urban Youth Center. There, he developed a project-based learning curriculum through the lens of Gardner’s of Multiple Intelligence theory. The curriculum emphasized individualized learning strategy and focused on the creation of a youth-run community garden, which went on to win the National Garden Association’s youth garden grant as well as first place among all 25 projects funded by University of Missouri’s “Eating from the Garden” Program. He is currently a tenure-track professor at Eastern Nazarene College in the Department of Philosophy and Religion and is completing his PhD here at Boston University. Montague and his wife live in Quincy, Massachusetts and enjoy visiting the various cities along the east coast. He especially likes trying out local restaurants along the way. If you have a suggestion, he’ll be happy to take it.

Kadian Simmonds - Office Manager

Kadian is joining SIG for the fifth 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 graduated with her Masters Degree in Elementary and Special Education from Wheelock College. She received her Bachelors in Sociology and African American Studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is a classroom teacher during the school year, but 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!

Susan Abeles

Susan (apparently) grew up in Princeton, NJ but left for other flavors and fragrances following her first two years of university studies in Wisconsin. She spent the subsequent two years studying in the south of France, then migrated to Toronto and then 18 years later went to Jerusalem for a year's sabbatical and stayed for twelve. "As said 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 several summers at SIG sites both in Princeton and in Boston. She just commemorated the third anniversary of her return to the States, where she identifies as a "legal alien" (some of her students' status.)

Passionate about animals and nature, travel and diverse cultures, writing and the visual arts, teaching courses at SIG is a gift. "Working with your children is a joyful experience and I wish the same for them."

Susan teaches Koalas, Kangaroos, and Crocodiles, To The Rescue: There's a Superhero in Everyone! and Art Alley.

Matthew Acker

Hello. My name is Matthew J Acker. I am a full time educator in New Hampshire at a regional school teaching 1st through 8th grade. I have my BFA in sculpture and still produce work regularly. I have my Masters in Art Education. This is my second year with SIG and truly enjoy the system they employ. In my free time I work on creating art and showing it

Matthew teaches The Funny Business of Humor, Architectural Solutions and Art Alley.

Kristin Baltrusaitis

This is Kristin's fourth year as an instructor at SIG BUA. Kristin attended Lehigh Univeristy, where she earned a BS degree in Biochemistry. Following college, she joined the NYC Teaching Fellows program and taught high school mathematics in Brooklyn, NY, while earning a masters degree in Secondary Mathematics Education. Currently, she teaches chemistry and biology at Fontbonne Academy in Milton, MA, and is earning a graduate degree in Biostatistics from Boston University. In her free time, Kristin enjoys running, baking cupcakes, and hiking with her puggle, Rita.

Kristin teaches Anticipating Algebra and Algebraic Expressions.

Margareth Chan

Hi, my name is Margareth Chan and I was born and raised in Brazil. Though I was born in Brazil, my parents are originally from China. I speak four different languages including Portuguese, Chinese, and English. I also continue to improve my Spanish. I graduated from UMass Boston as a PE teacher and at Lesley University as a Foreign Language teacher. When I am not teaching, I go to my Zumba classes, which is a form of a Latin dancing. It helps me to relax and stay fit at the same time. At this present time, I’m having a wonderful summer working at SIG, Sport Stop, and I always look forward to seeing my students.

Leo Ciaramitaro

With plenty of knowledge of jazz, rock, world and Latin rhythms, Leo Ciaramitaro is an eclectic and multi-talented musician. A Gloucester, Massachusetts native, his interest leans towards jazz and improvisational music, but he enjoys playing drums and percussion in all genres including pop, rock, and country.

He graduated with a B.M. from Berklee College of Music in Boston, and this year earned a Master of Music Degree, as part of the Modern American Music Program at Longy School Of Music at Bard College.

He has shared the stage with Chubby Checker and Frankie Avalon, and has been on three national tours of the Broadway shows Kiss Me Kate, Grease, and Footloose. Leo teaches private drum lessons for beginner to advanced students, and plays with many different bands and musicians all throughout the Northeast.

Leo teaches Surround Sound: Music In Our Everyday Lives and Get Theatrical.

Christina Cirame

This is my first year at SIG, and I am excited to be a part of such a great summer program. I am instructing Simple Machines, Complex Designs, which is a lot of fun! I currently live in Medford, MA. I teach kindergarten part time in for Lexington Public Schools and also work part time in an afterschool program at my school. I graduated with a Masters in Early Childhood Education in 2011. Working with young children has always been my dream and I enjoy teaching them everyday.

When school is not in session I work for my father in the homemade ice cream business. I have an ice cream shop named after me in Cambridge which he ran throughout my childhood but has since sold. My favorite ice cream is Oreo Cookie.

In my free time I enjoy taking weekend trips up north to New Hampshire and Maine all year round. My family has a house on a small island in Maine which is where I love to go to relax, unplug and spend time with family.

Michelle Cooper

I hold certification in Chemistry, Biology and Middle Grade Science from Massachusetts and work during the school year as a Chemistry teacher in south central Massachusetts. I have moved around quite a bit, having worked also in Alabama, Kentucky and Maine. I have 9 years experience working in the classroom with Grades 8-12; however, I love "just having fun doing science" with students over the summer outside of the classroom experience. Before becoming a teacher, I worked as a researcher for Washington University School of Medicine, Biochemistry, 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'el. 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.

Michelle teaches DNA: Your Unique Code and The Curious Chemist.

Neil Holloway

This is my first year with the SIG program. I co-teach our Sport Stop class. During the school year I am a Physical Education teacher at the West Somerville Neighborhood School. There I teach kids in grades K-8 about the benefits of living a healthy and active lifestyle. I also coach Varsity basketball at The International School of Boston. Before becoming a teacher I received my BA in Elementary Education at St Michaels College and my graduate degree in Physical Education at the University of Northern Colorado. While not at school I enjoy playing various sports like basketball, tennis and flag football. I live in Cambridge with my wife Nancy, our two year old son Milo and our dog Axel.

Alexandra Humphreys

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.

Alex teaches Cracking Codes: Patterns and Probability, Speaking, Writing and Empowering and What's Your Point

Kelly Misol

Kelly Misol joins us in her second year at SIG. She teaches Biology of Me, Rocks, Minerals, and Crystals, and Navigating Your Way Through Life. Ms. Misol has 12 years teaching experience and is a middle school teacher in New Jersey specializing in all core subjects. Ms. Misol is a natural motivator who instills confidence in all her students and creates a warm community in her classroom. She is a graduate of The College of New Jersey and obtained a Bachelor's Degree in English and a Master's Degree in Education.

Ms. Misol was born in Caracas, Venezuela and came to the states at a young age. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring new cultures, languages, food, dancing, traveling, and outdoor activities. Most of all she works hard to transform the classroom into a life changing experience!

Molly Sardella

Hello! I am originally from southwestern Connecticut, and first came to Boston to go to college at Northeastern University. I also attended Quinnipiac University in CT for my teaching degree. This is my second year with SIG (last year I was at the Fairfield University Campus.) In my free time, I love cooking, reading, playing with my dog, and taking walks around the city. I am having so much fun with all my campers in What's the Chance?, Lessons from the Wild Things, and Expanding Your Universe! I love working at SIG because it never feels like work at all, we just have so much fun learning together. I can't wait to see what everyone makes for their final projects.

Molly teaches What's The Chance?, Lessons from the Wild Things: How to Write and Illustrate Your Own Book!, and Expanding the Universe!

Gerard Tannetta

Gerard is excited to return for his fifth year at SIG. This year he is teaching classes about engineering, spying, and detective work. Gerard lives in Lowell with his wife, dog, and cat. Gerard has his bachelor's degree in history from UMass-Lowell and his master's degree in education from UMass-Boston. During the school year, Gerard teaches history in Melrose and has done so for the last six years. Gerard enjoys reading, discovering new places, teaching his dog new tricks, playing guitar, and swimming while the weather is hot.

Gerard teaches Building Blocks of Engineering, The Detective: Master of Mysteries, and Spying: Secrets, Surveillance and Science.

Jared Troilo

Jared is a professional actor and singer. Originally from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, Jared graduated from The Boston Conservatory with a degree in musical theater. Since then, Jared has performed extensively in New York City, Boston, and internationally. Most recently, Jared finished up a long run as 'Joseph' in "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat", at the Palace Theater, in Manchester NH. He has performed around the globe as the lead singer for Silversea Cruise Line, and has also had the distinct honor of being a special guest vocalist with the Boston Pops, under the direction of Keith Lockhart. This fall, Jared will be starring as Captain Crewe in the brand new musical version of "A Little Princess", at the Strand Theater in Dorchester, MA. When not on stage, Jared teaches voice and acting privately to both children and adults in the greater Boston area. When not performing or teaching, Jared can be found at Fenway Park. Go Sox!

Jared teaches Get Theatrical.

Matthew Wilson

During my career I have worked as an environmental consultant focusing on environmental due diligence investigations and remediation of hazardous materials. A strong working knowledge of several scientific disciplines is essential to perform my duties. Additionally, the skill and insight of a detective are needed to analyze the facts in order to solve the problem at hand. These professional skills directly relate the kind of learning happening at SIG and I am very excited to be part of the team this year.

While my professional experiences have been satisfying, I aspire to leave the private consulting industry to work full time in education. I have an endless curiosity of the world around me and always enjoy discovering new things. I am motivated by a desire to pass on my knowledge and excitement of science to younger generations. To this end I hope to teach Earth Science in a Boston area school this coming school year.

In my spare time I volunteer with the Mystic River Watershed Association as a Citizen Scientist in their Baseline Monitoring Program. The program provides long-term monitoring of water quality conditions in the watershed vital to the protection and improvement of the Mystic River and its tributaries. Also I am involved with the Mystic River Rugby Club of Malden, MA as a former player, current club officer, and youth rugby coach during the summer.

Matthew teaches Under the Sea: Diving into Marine Science.

Meet the Program Assistants

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Lidy Edmond

Lidy Edmond is a rising senior at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Go Minutemen! Lidy is studying to obtain a B.A. in sociology, with a minor in education. She is very excited to have the opportunity to work with SIG this summer.She is hoping to pursue a career in education. She is fluent in Haitian-Creole and also speaks a little French. In her free time she loves to write poetry and dance.

Christopher Haidul

Hi! My name is Christopher Haidul. I going into junior year at Rutgers University in New Jersey. I live in Canton and graduated from Canton High School in June of 2011. One of my favorite things to do is play sports! I have been playing sports all my life. My two favorite sports would be cross country and lacrosse. I was a senior captain of my cross country team in high school. I have been playing lacrosse since 5th grade. I am looking into joining the Rutgers Club Lacrosse team at some point. If I am not playing sports, I usually spend time with my family, meet up with my friends, read and play games to keep my brain active or go to the gym. It is something I look forward to everyday, something I can come home with stories about and it is a place to find inspiration. This is my second year year at SIG and I am loving every second of it! I could not wait to come back this year and see familiar faces and meet new friends. I know it is going to be a great year and I am very excited to be a part of it again.

Ella Hathaway

I live in Newton Massachusetts and I have lived there my whole life. I just graduated from Boston University Academy earlier this summer, taking college courses at BU for the past two years. In the fall, I look forward to attending Hobart and William Smith Colleges in upstate New York. I hope to major in Classics or History. In the past year and a half I have volunteered at a local YMCA in the childcare room and that experience is definitely handy for this SIG session.

Julia Kelsey

Hi! My name is Julia Kelsey and I am from Walpole, MA. This is my first year with SIG and I am very excited to be working with SIG students. I am currently a junior at Wheelock College where I major in Human Growth and Development (Children, Families, and Culture) as well as Elementary Education. Last year I worked with pre-school students the entire year and this spring I look forward to starting my student teaching at a nearby elementary school. In my spare time during the school year I love to go shopping and hang out with my friends. During the summer time I try to always be at the beach during my spare time. I am so excited to be a PA and I cannot wait to get to spend the next three weeks with my SIG campers!

Sarah Madoff

Hi! My name is Sarah and I’m from Brookline. I attended Devotion School and Brookline High School, where I ran track and cross country and spent a lot of my time in the ceramics studio. I am currently studying Biology at Georgetown University. Living in D.C. has been a very exciting experience so far, especially with the election last November! I’ve always had a passion for science, and I spent last summer working in a microbiology lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. I love to travel, and in June I spent two weeks in Morocco with my family. I speak French and a little bit of Spanish and Chinese, and I really enjoy learning new languages and learning about different cultures. When I was younger I attended SIG at Amherst College for three years, and I’m so excited to be back this year as a PA!

Aleesha Pierre-Jules

Hello! My name is Aleesha Pierre- Jules and this is my first year working for SIG. I am a recent graduate of Wheelock College where I received my Teaching Degree in Early Childhood Education and a Bachelors Degree in Humanities. In the Fall I am continuing my educational journey by attending graduate school at Purdue University. There I will work to obtain a Masters Degree in School Counseling. My favorite subjects include mathematics, history, and humanities. Outside of academia I participate in a number of activities. I volunteer as a pop warner cheerleading coach. I am a Sunday school teacher. I also work as a mentor/group leader in a Saturday program for young girls ages 6 to 14 where I lead workshops on various topics of self-esteem, self-worth, and future ambitions. I am extremely excited to be apart of this summer program and can’t wait to start making many memories.

Natascha Richterich

Hi! My name is Natascha, and I am a Program Assistant for Engineering, Algebraic Expressions, Spying, and Sports Stop. This is my first summer with SIG, and I’m having a great time! I am from South Boston, Massachusetts, and will be returning to New York University for my second year of college in the fall. I am an education major, and work with struggling elementary students 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, at the karate dojo, playing with my dogs, baking treats, or hanging out with friends and family in the city. I am looking forward to three great weeks at SIG this summer!

Azeema Shaikh

Azeema joins us in her first year at SIG with the classes Biology of Me, Koalas Kangaroos and Crocodiles: Discovering the Land Down Under, Expanding the Universe along with Art Alley. Azeema grew up in Weston MA, however is currently living in the city of Somerville, MA. Azeema is a student at Wheelock College currently studying Early Childhood education as well as Human Growth Development with a focus in Counseling Psychology. She loves working with all kids who come from various backgrounds and enjoys learning about different cultures and ethnicities. In her spare time she enjoys lending a hand to the community by doing service, and spending with family. She is really excited to work with your children at SIG this year.

Ashley Zanghi

My name is Ashley Zanghi. I grew up in Southern Connecticut and moved to Boston to attend college. I received my Bachelors of Science in Psychology and Child and Adolescent Studies from Lasell College. I recently received my Masters of Education degree in school Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Boston, where I won and award for academic excellence. This coming year, I will be completing my specialist’s degree through UMass Boston as a school psychology intern in the Brookline public Schools. I have worked as a Resident Teacher at summer camps for many years. Outside of SIG, I enjoy playing the piano, trying new restaurants, going to the library and running.

We Look Forward To A Great Program!

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