The day has finally arrived! Please review the information below prior to beginning your application (link at the bottom).

Thank you for your patience as we adjusted to a virtual format! PLEASE View the program descriptions for your child on our Pk-12 Student Programs page PRIOR to completing your application. There is nothing quite as sad as a gifted child in a class they aren’t interested in. We also encourage you to meet your teacher through our Staff Page.

Some changes to note:

Price Reductions: All program prices have been reduced to reflect our virtual status. Because we already keep our programs at a break-even range, this means that the traditionally residential programs have seen a much greater reduction than the Day Program. Our teachers are hand-selected to work with our young students, so they do still have to be paid. Your tuition is a reflection of our attempt to provide fair wages to our employees, carefully selected materials you will need, and economically priced shipping options for those materials.

Registration Forms: Due to the volume of other summer camps and programs that are transitioning to a virtual world AND the deadlines we have set here at the university, we are temporarily moving BACK to our MACHFORMS application system. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but want to encourage you that the application is actually shorter than in previous years. We have eliminated most of the health and medication items from the application for your convenience. All programs are utilizing ONE form this year as well. You will still need to complete a separate application for each child. We will move back to CampDoc as soon as possible for future programs.

PK and Kindergarten: Your class is self-paced. You will receive access to a Google Classroom with video lessons and instructions from your teacher; however, we are NOT expecting this age group to meet through Zoom for their lessons. Parents, your participation is very important to help guide little hands through the experiments and activities in a safe manner. Your supervision is required. There will be at least one (and maybe even two) Zoom event(s) that your child can participate in so that they can meet their classmates and enjoy time together.

All Programs and Courses: As part of your tuition, you will receive a package of materials that have been carefully selected to assist with the hands-on experiments or activities that your teacher has planned for you. You will receive a schedule of events on or about June 10 (or once your registration is complete) that will provide you with the times for your Zoom lessons, your access to your Google Classroom, and other social activities that will take place during the dates for your program. Zoom lessons will be staggered for the various age groups to allow siblings of different ages to participate.

Social Events: Part of what our students love about the Karnes Center is the ability to make new friends that think like they do. We will have a variety of social events schedule through Zoom for our participants in all programs – even the Day Program. Our Dorm Directors are busy planning for your engagement, excitement, and entertainment just like they always do.

The Application

Please click the link below to open YOUR APPLICATION!

2020 Virtual Summer Programs – ALL Sessions

We are so excited to see you online this summer!!!

Karnes Programs Move to Virtual Environment

Please view the following video by our director, Dr. Heather Houston, for the latest updates on the summer programs offered by the Karnes Center this Summer.

Dr. Houston shares information about the move to virtual programming.

Please allow a few days for updates reflecting these changes to be made to our registration site. Our registration site with CampDoc and the DocNetwork company may be found at:

Program pricing has been adjusted to reflect the move to the virtual environment. Reductions are primarily derived from the cost of housing and food services for our traditionally residential programs. Therefore, some programs will not see as great a reduction as others. The price of all programs still includes the cost of all materials your child will need to successfully complete the program. This year that does include providing your child with a “program in a box” that will be shipped directly to your home. Please insure that when you register, you are providing the best address for that package to be safely received.

In addition to the non-refundable registration fee of $30.00, program costs will be as follows:

  • Day Program for Young Gifted Children: $175.00
  • Summer Gifted Studies Program: $400.00
  • Leadership Studies Program: $400.00
  • Summer Program for Academically Talented Youth: $1700.00

Scholarship applications will be available for the Summer Gifted, Leadership, and Academically Talented Youth Programs through the registration site this year. As always, scholarships are primarily need based and will be provided on a first come, first served basis. If funds remain after all need based applications have been filled, any remaining amounts may be awarded based on merit.

Eligibility requirements for programs will be adjusted to reflect the changes in intellectual and academic testing due to school and testing site closures as follows:

  1. Day Program Eligibility: Students may prove eligibility with a letter of recommendation from a pre-school, day-care, faith-based organization, or community organization teacher. (For example: a Sunday-school teacher or a guitar teacher.)
  2. Summer Gifted Studies Eligibility: Open to students who have just completed one or more of the following grades: 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th grades. Students may provide a letter of recommendation from a general education teacher, or the most recent report card indicating grades equal to or above an average of 90 or better in one or more of the following: English/Reading, Math, Science, or Social Studies/History. NWEA-MAP scores for Fall or Winter of the just completed school year are also acceptable and must be at or above the 90th percentile.
  3. Leadership Studies Program: Open to students who have completed one or more of the following grades: 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th grades. Any student wishing to learn about leadership and apply their learning toward improving their community is eligible to attend.
  4. Summer Program for Academically Talented Youth: Open to Academically advanced students who have completed one or more of the following grades: 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th grades. Eligibility for this program is based on academic prowess in a major subject area: English, Math, Science, Social Studies, etc. through consistently high achievement at or above the 90th percentile. Normally an ACT or SAT score would be required; however, report cards, teacher recommendations, and evidence of scholastic achievement may be presented in evidence of eligibility as well this year.

As usual, if a student has attended a program in the past, they are still eligible to attend that program again. If a child is transitioning to a new program, please let us know that they have attended other programs with us before so that we can review the records we already have to determine eligibility based on those records.

Please allow a few days for the registration site to reflect these changes. If you have any questions regarding eligibility, you may email the Center staff at

Sunshine After the Storm

Almost a million people throughout the southeast are without power today after the massive storms that moved through last night. Homes are not just damaged, many are simply gone, as are trees, cars, and other property. Even worse is the death toll of at least 11 people. This comes at a time when we are all already on high aleart, quarantined and sheltering at home, concerned about getting too close to our neighbors and even family members lest we pass along a deadly virus.

Yet early this morning, churches, community agencies, and individuals from all around this area are loading up equipment and heading out to be the hands of hope to those in need. Mississippi is known as the Hospitality State for a reason. We may fall on the lower end of many state by state rankings, but one thing we have learned to do, is to love one another and to stand in the gap for those in need.

We know that many of our Karnes Center Families have been affected by these storms and we want to know that you are safe. When power returns and you are able to see this message, please let us know you are okay. We miss your children and their curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking abilities. Their stories are so valuable and we’d love to collect them all. We will let you know how you can participate in this collection soon.

Although our staff is currently working remotely, we care about each one of you and want to provide updates and answers to as many questions as we can. Within the next week, we hope to know more about the status of our summer programs and whether we will hold those as usual or if adjustments will have to be made to the schedule or delivery method. Keep an eye out for announcements regarding online opportunities from the Center in the next few days and weeks.

Please let us know how we can support you during these extraordinary days. As always, your families are in our prayers.


Dr. Houston

Day of Sharing for Teachers Registration Now Open

April 17, 2020 at 9:00 AM Central Time through Zoom!

Please visit our REGISTRATION FORM to sign up for the first ever Virtual Day of Sharing! We are so excited to bring you timely information for Teaching Gifted Children in the current distance learning climate.

We know you will be empowered by our special guest speakers William Knudson (NAGC) and Tracy Inman (WKU) as well as our regular local names and faces. We will also have a moderated discussion during our lunch hour as well as our signature time for sharing your best ideas in the afternoon. If you have insightful and helpful tips for teachers in today’s world, please check that box on the registration form.

CEUs will be available for those attending a minimum of 5 hours (0.5 CEUs) for $25.00. If you select the CEU box in the registration form, we will contact you regarding how to fill out the required forms.

Registration is Required in order to join us through ZOOM on the day of this virtual event. We can’t wait to see you there!

Agenda and registration available HERE.


Our Day of Sharing for Teachers of the Gifted is changing formats this year. We will be hosting a Zoominar! More information regarding our agenda, CEUs, and registration will be forthcoming. If you teach gifted children in a resource classroom, a general education classroom, or if you are just curious about how we do this thing called gifted education, please stay tuned!! We can’t wait to see you (ONLINE) in April.

Summer Gifted Studies 2020

Summer Gifted Studies at Southern Miss is our longest running program and we are happy to announce the course line up for our 42nd year! Students from all states are welcome to attend this exciting week of learning. We use an integrated approach so that you will learn your topic from a variety of angles. Students will be asked to select their 1st and 2nd choices on their applications, which will open soon. Grade-levels are based on the courses the student is enrolled in this school year (2019-2020) before they attend. A second announcement will be made as soon as applications are open.

Please take a moment to visit our Staff Page to get to know your teachers!

Grades 4-5

Heartbeat! . Mignon Lefebvre

Can you feel the beat?  Your heart is at the center of the cardiovascular system and helps you stay active.  But how can we keep it doing its best?  Cardiology is a fascinating field that continues to generate innovation and technological improvements.  Join us to discover just how the heart keeps us moving and grooving.

SpyMaster101: Tradecraft Basics . Yolanda Banks

Don’t blow your cover! Explore the history and science of the exciting world of the Intelligence community. Cryptography and code breaking are just the beginning of understanding how to develop your alter ego. Learn from the mistakes of master spies such as Benedict Arnold and Aldrich Ames. The world of espionage continues to develop new techniques to overcome even the sneakiest of spies. Could you catch them?

Grades 5-7

Creature Comforts: Animals in Film . Katelyn Ladner

Yet again, this fifth through seventh grade course will focus on the fascinating world of cinematography.  But this year, we will have some help from our furry friends!  Come learn how animals have played a huge part in some of the best movies.  From training, to animation, to special effects, the animal kingdom is ready for the movies!

Grades 6-8

Minute Minder . Mollie Culpepper

Do you ever think about time?  How did we ever come up with the idea of hours and minutes anyway?  Come explore time with us this summer and learn about the wondrous inventions that help us know where we are in it.  Get creative and outdo H.G. Wells or even Steven Spielberg as you dream of the world yet to come!

Taking Stock . Megan Pierce

The stock market crash of 1929 is one of the most influential events in the history of the United States of America.  What caused us to lose our cool over money?  Fiscal policy is one way that we continue to judge the health of our country and ourselves.  Come see if you’ve got what it takes to make the most of an investment portfolio and send your net worth soaring!

Important Information About the Summer Gifted Studies Program:

  • Dates: July 6-11, 2020
  • Application Fee: $30.00
  • Tuition: $675.00
  • Location: The University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg Campus (Exact classroom locations are provided only to registered families.)

SPATY Courses for July 2020

We are so excited about this year’s lineup for SPATY! With wonderful instructors for each and every class, we know that you will find something to amaze you. Join us at Southern Miss this July for a view from the top!

APPsolution . John Perry

People use Android apps on phones, tablets, and watches. Have you ever wondered how that’s done? This course will show you how to write Android apps, while simultaneously acquiring skills in Kotlin, a modern, well-designed programming language that is now the preferred language for Android development! We will work in an Integrated Development Environment, design interfaces, study simple apps, learn how “modules” combine to make more sophisticated apps, and by the end you will design, implement, and install your own simple app to a device.

Piecing Together the Past . Elizabeth Greer

Have you ever wondered what it was like to live in the ancient world? Why did they bury their leaders with goods for the afterlife? Why was a Chinese emperor buried with a clay army? Why did the Greeks invent the yoyo? Our distant past is full of fascinating stories and lessons to help us understand the world we live in today. In this class, students will take an explosive journey to three of the most important civilizations in our world’s story. Through the study of Mesopotamia, Greece and Persia, and China, history will come alive, and students will have the chance to gain knowledge about the cultures and conduct independent research under the guidance of a trained historian. Students will gain a full understanding about these civilizations through the lenses of history, geography, math, science, literature, and the arts. Come take a trip to the distant past!

Judicial Triforce . Rachelle Steinhauer

As long as there has been civilization, there has been law.  But have you ever wondered just how much the concepts of law affect our lives?  In this three week study, you will take an intensive, hands on look at the importance of the law and legal concepts in the areas of literature, society and the environment in which we live.  Each of the three topics will all be taught through the lens of various areas of study including social studies, English language arts, and science and technology.  We will not only analyze famous works, newspaper articles, personal accounts, court documents and the like, but we will also hold debates, design works of art, produce original poetry, and conduct simple experiments in order to further understand the means in which the concept of law holds together the world we know today.

Maths in Motion . Tammy Sealy

Encompassing the range of math courses typically available in high school from Algebra I through Calculus and Statistics, the goal of this course is for each student to master as many mathematics concepts as their individual potential allows. Most students will complete at least one mathematics subject during the course. Diagnostic testing and individualized instruction allow students to work at their own pace and focus on material they have not previously mastered. Students must enjoy mathematics and be able to work independently to gain the most benefit from the class.

Psychology Double Header . Faith Brown & Kendal Smith

In this course, students will experience the study of psychology from two distinct perspectives, taught by two instructors with considerable experience in each area.

  • Psychology of Meaning: What makes life meaningful and how do we achieve those things? A variety of factors that cause people to see their lives as important and worthwhile will be covered in this course. The purpose of this course is to answer four predominant questions. 1) What are some of the main factors that make life meaningful? 2) What are the benefits of seeing life as meaningful? 3) What happens if people do not find meaning in a part of their lives? 4) Since meaning is so important in people’s lives, how might they strive to gain a sense of meaning?
  • Research in Animal Behavior: Wouldn’t you agree that animals do some amazing things? We will explore the intersection of biology, psychology, development, and environmental sciences to delve into the observation, measurement, and explanation of non-human species. Discussions and demonstrations from animal trainers and zookeepers from the local area, including the Award Winning Hattiesburg Zoo, will aide in our study and provide motivation and career inspiration. Practical application of research methods will take place with our feral populations here on campus.

Important Information About the Summer Program for Academically Talented Youth (SPATY):

  • Dates: July 6-25, 2020
  • Application Fee: $30.00
  • Tuition: $2700.00
  • Location: The University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg Campus (Exact classroom locations are provided only to registered families.)

Day Program for Young Gifted Students: Courses Available

We are excited to announce that the courses listed below will be available during the Day Program this summer. Please select courses based on the grade your child is CURRENTLY in this school year (2019-2020). Registration is not yet open. A separate announcement will be made when it is time to register.

PreK/K: (4-yrs old – Kindergarten )

Light Bright,  Night Night

Preschoolers will learn about the properties of light and shadow through the use of mirrors, magnifying glasses, and prisms. During the second half of the day students will learn about the habits and characteristics of nocturnal animals.

1st and 2nd Grades (Choose One)

Great Waters: This class will sail the seven seas and dive deep as they learn about submersible technologies.  What animals and treasures await you on your journey?

 Oh Captain, My Captain!:  What does it mean to be a leader?  Who would you consider a leader in your life?  Come learn the habits and responsibilities of leadership as you find the leader in yourself.

3rd Grade (Choose One)

Record Breaker:  Explore the Guinness Book of World Records and find out WHY people do such crazy things!  What makes the record holders unique and what qualities do you share that can help you set your own interesting records?

Healthy Me!:  Grrr! Was that a wild animal or just my stomach?  Have you ever wondered what all those grumbles and twinges are about?  Learn about the digestive system and the way it fuels the rest of your body.  Develop the habits of mind and body that will make you strong.

Important Information About the Day Program:

  • Dates: June 29-July 3, 2020
  • Application Fee: $30.00
  • Tuition: $200.00
  • Time: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon daily
  • Location: The University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg Campus (Exact classroom locations are provided only to registered families.)