A trip of a lifetime for Inverurie student Katie

An Inverurie Academy Student is getting a taste of American university life by spending the summer studying at Harvard.
Katie will attend the prestigious Harvard University Summer School (Pic: Matthew Mcgoldrick)Katie will attend the prestigious Harvard University Summer School (Pic: Matthew Mcgoldrick)
Katie will attend the prestigious Harvard University Summer School (Pic: Matthew Mcgoldrick)

Katie Gibbs will join three other Care Experienced students from Scotland at the world-renowned university and live on the campus.

The group are taking part in its seven-week programme where they will study two university-level courses, live with other students from around the world and take part in typical campus life.

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Using her musical talents, Katie, 17, can play 5 instruments and is planning on studying musical theatre and intermediate French during the summer.

She said: “I’m looking forward to going to Harvard because it is an amazing opportunity and I know I will gain so much from the experience.

“I am most excited about getting to meet new people. I’ve already had an email from one of my professors, which is making this even more real and I can’t wait to get started.

“As well as that, I’ve never been to America before so I’m looking forward to exploring the place and of course, being able to actually study at Harvard, which is crazy to me.”

The trip is being organised by Who Cares? Scotland as each of the students are Care Experienced. The charity believes that all Care Experienced people – those who are or have been in care such as children’s homes, foster care or who are looked after by relatives or at home with social work involvement – should be able to follow their academic dreams regardless of the challenges many Care Experienced people face during education, such as placement moves and school changes.

To help with this the charity has been running its Harvard Summer School Sponsorship initiative since 2010 and has supported 26 Care Experienced people to attend.

Louise Hunter, Chief Executive at Who Cares? Scotland, said: “Everyone knows of Harvard University and the reputation that goes alongside it. By being able to give Care Experienced people the opportunity to study there allows them to discover just how much they are capable of and while also broadening their horizons.

“Going to Harvard is a dream for many students but it can seem unrealistic for many Care Experienced people. We know there are often barriers in being the best student possible for Care Experienced people which are out of their control.

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"It’s great that in recent years there are new initiatives to help Care Experienced people achieve their academic goals such as the Care Experienced student bursary and minimum entry requirements for further education institutions.

“I look forward to hearing all about the experiences of our students this summer.”

Ensuring the students are well supported once in America, the charity works in collaboration with the Director of Harvard University Summer school.

Bill Holinger, Director of Harvard Summer School, said: “Young scholars from Who Cares? Scotland have been coming to Harvard Summer School and taking college courses for well over a decade now, and we are so glad to have them here.”