“What makes Summer Springboard programs different from the rest?” We get this question a lot from prospective parents and students. And we love answering it. We know that when it comes to summer programs, there are a lot of options out there. But what makes Summer Springboard stand out? Read further as we explore this question, and a few others, with  our Campus Directors Megan Hsu, UC Berkeley Campus Director, and Dianne Nolan, Yale University Campus Director.

Tell us a bit about yourself. What do you like to do in your free time? Do you have any hobbies?

Dianne: I am a positive, fun loving inquisitive person, married to my highschool sweetheart Mark, mother of three sons, and professionally an educator, mentor and collegiate radio analyst. In my free time, you can find me buried in a book, writing a screenplay, jogging, arranging family gatherings and exploring the world. I am a lifelong learner and get a kick out of meeting new people, hence belong to various groups and organizations.

Megan: I am a high school special education math teacher during the school year. What I enjoy most about teaching is building meaningful connections with my students and their families. Outside of work, I love doing escape rooms. When I have some free time, I try to schedule a room with my team. I also enjoy crocheting and baking for birthdays and holidays.


What is your educational background? If you could go back and study something different, what would it be?

Dianne: I received my undergraduate degree at Rowan University majoring in Health and Physical Education, and immediately moved on to West Virginia University, serving as a teaching assistant, earning an MS in Physical Education with a concentration in psychology. In anticipation of changing careers, I continued my formal education at Fairfield University with a MA in corporate and political communications. If I could turn back time, I am more inclined to go to Law School with a concentration in political and media relations.

Megan: I got my BA in Communication and my MA in Education from Stanford University.
I also have a Single Subject mathematics teaching credential and an Education Specialist credential in moderate/severe. I enjoy learning new things and since completing my degrees, have also taken classes in Independent Educational Consulting, Actuarial Science, Finance, and Accounting. If I went back to school, I would get an MBA and EdD.


How important to the college admissions process is knowing yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, what you like and don’t like?

Dianne: It is extremely important to have a strong sense of self as each University has its own personality and is a unique community. Each offers something different and goes about its business its own way. Charting your collegiate course is all about finding the right fit, a place that is challenging yet comfortable depending  on your personality, values, goals and ‘likes and dislikes”

Megan: It is so important in the college admissions process, as well as in the job search process, to understand your strengths and challenges so that you can identify what path will be your best fit. Every college campus has a unique vibe, student population, environment and culture. Students who know themselves well can identify what type of campus environment fits best with their personality. It is not always about getting into the
highest ranked college. If you are happy and comfortable where you are, you will get the most out of your experience.


What is your favorite part about the Yale/Berkeley campus?

Dianne: Everything is special! The Yale Campus is unique, rich with  tradition yet top notch in technology and facilities. Living in one of the residential colleges during our stay, enjoying the courtyard, butteries and rooms make for an engaging experience. I enjoy working out at Payne Whitney Gym, visiting the Art Gallery, and exploring Chapel Street.

Megan: Berkeley is such a wonderful city with a unique culture and vibrant community of people. I love Berkeley’s shops and restaurants and the easy access from campus.


What inspired you to be Yale/Berkeley campus director?

Dianne: The Program, The Students, and the Yale Experience. Last summer was a life changing experience for me. Being a part of a program that offers students the opportunity to grow as young adults was extremely rewarding. I totally enjoyed our weekend trips and activities with the staff and students. Living at the college and getting
to know the students was special and we left as life long friends. I am a Yale
Junkie and hooked by being surrounded by greatness.

Megan: I have always found the summer camp environment to be such a unique and enjoyable experience. In college, I spent two summers as a residential counselor and last year, I had the privilege of as a Camp Director at a project-based learning camp for elementary students. When I heard about Summer Springboard, I was drawn to its unique program features and its focus on each student exploring their own personality and interests. I am looking forward to working with and learning with each student and staff member at camp this summer.


What do you think sets Summer Springboard apart from other pre-college summer programs?

Dianne: The quality and content of the programming including the accomplished instructors,and speakers along with the personal touch sets Summer Springboard apart from other programs. Each student is offered a unique course of study and the opportunity to explore their intended major in college taught by outstanding professionals. Additionally the emphasis on individual growth such as  “True You”  away from the classroom serves our students well. The programming in the evenings is fun and
the students are able to bond with each other.

Megan: In the years I have worked as a teacher, tutor and mentor, I have never seen a program like Summer Springboard. I believe so much in self-reflection and self-exploration, practicing it in my own life and encouraging my students to get to know themselves on a deeper level. The True You component of Summer Springboard adds real value to an already enriching experience.


Why do you think a summer program like Summer Springboard is valuable?

Dianne: Charting your collegiate course is challenging and often a difficult task. Summer Springboard affords students the opportunity to explore, learn, and seek guidance, side by side with students and staff from around the globe. The sharing of ideas while  participating in hands on projects is priceless. It allows for individual growth, opening  the
eyes, ears, mind and heart to different views. I often hear from former students, how much they appreciate their Summer Springboard experience and the positive effect it has upon their lives.

Megan: So much of students’ lives today is prescribed and arranged for them. There are standards to meet and a predetermined path to follow. However, it is so important to find your passion. Those who live the most fulfilling lives are those who are able to do what they are most passionate about. Passion isn’t prescribed; it is cultivated through enriching experiences and exploration. Summer Springboard values the process of getting to know yourself and discovering your passion. This is what we need more of in education.


What will Summer Springboard students take away from program once they return home?

Dianne: They will go home with a clearer picture of their future. The academic experience provides hands on experience in their intended major, their participation in the True You program allows for individual growth and living at Yale in the residential college, with SSB students and staff is an experience that stays with you for a lifetime. It is a two week experience to be surrounded by greatness.

Megan: Students will leave Summer Springboard with wonderful memories, new friends, and a stronger sense of who they are and who they want to be. They will leave with connections to others who shared this unique experience–others whom they can reach out to as resources and support in the future. It is people who make our experiences so meaningful. I urge all students to make genuine connections with other students, residential staff and instructors during their time at Summer Springboard. These are connections that can extend beyond the summer. (I can attest to this, as I still keep in touch with other counselors and campers at the summer camp I worked at over 10 years ago. It is incredible to have seen these campers go from middle schoolers to now young adults who have graduated from college.)