Governor's School


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Gov School 2008 in front of the National Constitution Center

I attended the Pennsylvania Governor's Schools of Excellence in Information, Society & Technology in the summer of 2008 at Drexel in Philadelphia.


Governor's Schools

The Governor's Schools are free summer programs paid for by the PA state government for high school students. They have them in a variety of topics at a variety of colleges in the state. Tuition as well as room and board are paid for by the state - the entire program is at no cost to the student.

Why I want to attend

Unofficial - not part of the application

I've always loved technology. (I think this website can attest!) I am at the crossroads now with GridView. Over the past month I had to learn how to manage a Linux server and tune it for performance. I'm still not at 100%.

But I am also interested in the social effects of technology. I ordered an XO Laptop (with my own $$) to play with its user interface and think about the impact it will have on the developing world.

I also like meeting with people in my age group who share my passion. This program will bring together the top 50 soon-to-be-high-school-seniors for an intensive 5 week program. I can't wait for it to start!

What do you expect to get out of our program academically and socially?

  • Academically: Advanced MySQL, proper project management techniques, moderate to advanced Linux server administration, or something totally different!
  • Socially: Meeting people who share my interests and spending time with them on projects and making contacts for future work

What are some of your hobbies

  • Computers: primarily web design, PHP, MySQL, project management
  • Walking
  • Hanging out with friends in a productive way (Tecker 911)
  • Successfully completing beautiful, intelligent design work







  • Object-Oriented System Analysis and Design
  • Information Ethics
  • Database Design and Management
  • Interaction Design
  • Project Management
  • Networking and Distributed Computing
  • System Development


  • Advanced Networking and Distributed Computing
  • Digital Media
  • Advanced Software Development
  • Developing Data-Intensive Systems for the World Wide Web
  • Developing Interactive Systems
  • Linux System Administration
  • Developing Interactive, Animated Web Graphics
  • Managing Semi-structured Data: XML and Related Technologies
  • Information and Society: Security, Privacy, Access and Freedom

What I Learned/Review

This is a rough entry about my thoughts after I finished Gov School. I began to polish it - but I abandoned it.

Myers Hall Courtyard
Graduating Gov School

In the summer of 2008, I attended the Pennsylvania Governor's Schools of Excellence in Information, Society & Technology at Drexel University in Philadelphia. The Governor's Schools are free 5-week summer programs paid for by the Pennsylvania state government. They are open to rising high school seniors, and in some programs, rising high school juniors. There are 8 subject areas, each one held at a different universities and colleges throughout the state. Tuition, as well as room and board, is paid for by the state. The entire program is at no cost to the student. Admission is very competitive because, unlike most for-profit summer camps that tend to accept anyone willing to pay, there is no financial barrier to entry.

The program was a great experience to learn what college will be like, since we lived almost like college students for 5 weeks. We attended classes, lived in the dormitories, and ate almost 105 straight meals in the college cafeteria. Living in Myers Hall, the dorm, was lots of fun. You could just keep your door open and someone would stop by wanting to talk or go somewhere. One aspect that was not like college, were that the rules were very onerous. For example, we could only travel outside Myers Hall with a buddy, and then only in a small specified area, and only from 4-7PM. There were also a lot of activities that they made us attend. I liked some of them like Dorney Park, but not others like the Phillies Game. Perhaps I had approached them with the wrong attitude; perhaps I did not like being forced to attend.

Still, I met a lot of great people who are now my friends. The program was designed so that we would spend a lot of time together. This was because if the partner rule and activities I described above. (don’t like para)

I was initially surprised when only half of the students only had some programming experience. In addition, less than 5 were good at PHP, the language I program in. Although I often made fun of Java, I recognized code styles other than PHP. I learned new algorithms, like Backtrack, which are good in any language. This program helped broaden my view point.

One of my main goals was to improve my project management skills while working on my ITP project. Initially, I took control and ran the project. But Sam, one of the tech staff, pulled me aside and explained to me that I can't do everything even though I may be the one most skilled or I could do it fastest myself. This let me realize that what he said was exactly true. I could do everything myself, I would never have the time. I had to learn to trust my team. This was not easy since none of them had programmed PHP before and half had never programmed. Scalability matters. Still, I am proud of my project Videre.

But above all, I learned how to look at things from someone else's perspective. Although others perspectives may not be correct, you must learn where they come from and deduce why they are that way. For example, at the program one student though that George W. Bush is doing a great job. I personally do not agree in the slightest; but where does his opinion come from? He believes that it is America's job to liberate people from dictators; an idea that my World Cultures teacher mocked. Combining these things, especially during our visit to SAP Americas in Newtown Square, I saw how successful businesses don't just rely on 1 person to lead. They set up successful processes This is the most important thing I learned which I can use. There is no 1 person which tries to run everything; instead they set up an organic process by which others can add value (from their unique perspectives). This is something I can try for Tecker 911; I need to find more passionate people, document our editing, uploading, and release process and then pass the show off when I go off to college. As GridView grows, I can't do everything, I must trust the work others do, even if I could do it better.

This key point of scalable process was not taught in a class at Gov School, it was part of living in a University where this sort of process is extremely evident. The actual Gov School program was run like this as well. For food, just put in a catering request with Sodexho. Want an activity day, just task 2 of your staff with planning it, and leave them alone! Overall Gov School was a great experience, one which I would be willing to repeat (ie by working for the program). The fact that the program was free, and that cost was not a barrier for people to attend was even better. My parents were happy with the program, because they believe that their tax money is going somewhere! I'd like to thank the people of the state of PA for providing me with such an experience; I'll be sure to repay it be building business which contribute taxes back to the state.

Should I make this document more positive or more of my raw thoughts?


See Gov School set on Flickr

Closing Thoughts

Rendell wants to cut all PA Gov Schools from the budget. --ThePlaz 18:28, 23 February 2009 (EST) I think that this will negatively impact PA in the long-term future. These programs are essential to create people with the high tech skills needed to do the jobs of the future. PA needs to attract these high paying jobs. I think PA will eventually earn back the cost and more in employment tax revenue and the program is essential to keep PA competitive.

I also think that they could ask families to pay some of the cost - based on that family's income. IE Free to low income citizens