Samendra Prasad, one of the University at Buffalo's Gifted Math Program high-achieving 2013 graduates, will enter his freshman year at the University of Virginia with seven years of college-level math education already under his belt.
His accelerated progress is just another success story in the GMP, a graduate school of education program that has been helping students in grades 7-12 get a head start in their college careers since 1979.
The program offers qualified high school students the ability to earn up to 16 college math credits by the time they graduate.
"Students in our program really learn what it means to engage in mathematics," said Deborah A. Moore-Russo, co-director of the program and assistant professor in the department of learning and instruction. "They are given numerous opportunities to reason about and reflect on key mathematical ideas. They learn how seemingly different concepts are connected and how single concepts are often represented in a variety of manners."
The rewards of the program reach beyond accelerated study and mentored research, according to Moore-Russo. The program encourages students to think independently and learn how to communicate their ideas more effectively.
Prasad's involvement in the GMP began in 2006. Since then, he has accumulated college credit and distinguished himself among his peers.
"The early years of GMP credit helped populate his college transcript," said Dheerendra Prasad, Samendra's father. "They were worth every penny since now Sam will ride free through one of the top public universities in the U.S."
Prasad will attend the University of Virginia as a Rodman Scholar and recipient of the Jefferson Scholarship.
"I cannot stress enough how much this helped my applications," Prasad said. "It provided proof of a studious lifestyle and an excellent talking point."
Anne Izydorczak, Ph.D., GMP administrator, said the program helps students to learn what it's like to grapple with problems. "Their thinking skills, time management skills, study and reading skills are all developed."
"In a sea of faces listing their AP exams and SAT scores, I was able to talk to interviewers about my experiences with college-level courses," Prasad said.
"This is a rigorous curriculum well beyond what is offered in high schools," Izydorczak said. "Most (students) rise to the challenge and come away with an understanding of their own capabilities and a sense of accomplishment."