Welcome: About the Center

Welcome to the Center!

Welcome to The Frances A. Karnes Center for Gifted Studies. This center was founded by Dr. Karnes in order to meet the needs of gifted students, their parents, teachers, and community members. We strive to provide access to learning experiences that engage and inspire students not just in Mississippi, but throughout the nation.

The Center for Gifted Studies was established in 1979 through the efforts of Dr. Frances A. Karnes to bring the educational needs of gifted students in Mississippi to the forefront of educational policy development through advocacy, research, and provision of services for high-ability students. Twenty years later, Dr. Karnes’s “tireless, unwavering determination” had galvanized the Center’s reputation as a consistent front runner in the development of enrichment and talent development programs.  The Center was renamed in her honor in 1999.

Today the Center flourishes as it strives to reach its vision of becoming one of the Southeast’s most prominent and effective homes for Gifted Studies. This vision is paired with our mission to strengthen gifted education in Mississippi, throughout the nation, and globally by continuing to uphold four stringent performance standards:

  • Thoughtful collaborative planning in conjunction with the School of Education to ensure the continuation of a cadre of teachers of the gifted throughout the state
  • Effective programming that expands the University’s connection with hundreds of students and their families each year such as the Saturday, Summer, and Leadership Studies Programs, and the Summer Program for Academically Talented Youth offered in collaboration with Duke University;
  • Ongoing research that encompasses the development of best practices for gifted planning, programming, teaching, and outreach supported through numerous federal grants;
  • Outreach to teachers through the Annual Day of Sharing and Professional Learning Seminars that provide access to the most advanced teaching methods, and to Parent and Community Advocacy support systems that provide guidance for the social-emotional and vocational needs of gifted students and their families.

In this, our fortieth year, we have taken residence in a different location on our beautiful campus. The day our shingle and dedication plaque were moved was the day our new location began to feel like home. Not only do we have a new physical location, but this site is our new online home as well.

Where To Find Things

In the past we used our University site to provide information similar to what you will find here. That site is currently under construction. Once it is complete, it will contain only the basic, unchanging information regarding our general activities. On this site, however, you will find the ever-changing, vibrant array of information related to programs for students in pre-school through rising high-school seniors, professional development for teachers, parent workshops, community events, and all the graduate education programs provided through our connection with The University of Southern Mississippi.

If you are interested in enrolling your child in one of our programs, please click on PK-12 Student Programs to the left to read descriptions of currently offered courses, then visit our enrollment portal through CampDoc. While the programs are offered at similar times each year, new courses are added frequently to keep your child interested and engaged in learning.

We want to keep you updated! Please click the follow button at the bottom left (highlighted in bright blue) to receive automatic updates. Thank you for your support of Gifted Education and Gifted Individuals!

Image at left: Hattiesburg Hall is one of the dorms we use in the summer. The courtyard between Hattiesburg and Mississippi Halls was recently renovated with new plant life. We thought it was exemplary of the feel of our summer programs which combine rigorous educational experiences in a beautifully soothing environment.

Center Personnel:

Dr. Heather Houston, Director

Dr. Houston received her Ph.D. in Gifted Education under the tutelege of Dr. Frances A. Karnes. After teaching gifted program classes and Advanced English for middle grades for over a decade, Dr. Houston returned to the Center and is working to expand the Center’s reach through research, advocacy, and innovative program design.