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.)

Summer Dates Have Changed!

What a great opportunity! Since we are including more students in more of our programs, we are outgrowing our space! In order to provide room for our growth, we are going to need to adjust our schedule to take advantage of the dates when the appropriate number of rooms are available in our university housing system.

We appreciate your willingness to work with us as we make these adjustments. Thank you for continuing to support the efforts of the Center as we create new and better opportunities for your children.


  • June 29-July 3, 2020 Day Program for Young Gifted Children
  • July 6 – 25, 2020 Summer Program for Academically Talented Youth
  • July 6 – 11, 2020 Summer Gifted Studies Program
  • July 13 – 18, 2020 Leadership Studies Program

Course offerings are being finalized and will be available soon. We will make a new announcement as soon as registration is open. Please follow this site to make sure you receive the notifications you need.

Parenting Gifted Children Workshop Series Starts Today

Parents of gifted and high-ability students are welcome to join us today for the first of three workshops centered around helping gifted children succeed.

All workshops are held in room 120 of Walker Science Building on the Hattiesburg Campus and online through Registration is required for online attendance.

To view topics and to register, please click on the “Resources for Parents” tab in our menu.

We can’t wait to see you here!

Happy Thanksgiving!

The work of the Center would not be possible without the contributions of so many of you. From the families who seize the opportunities available to them, to the teachers who give of their time and their knowledge, the counselors who watch over the children and see to their well-being, the university community that opens its arms to serve, the Hattiesburg community that helps us spread the word, and those who give financially to support our students in need, we thank you.

From the bottom of our hearts, we give thanks for all of you and know that without you we would not have the wonderful opportunities to serve that we thrive on. Be blessed in this season and throughout the upcoming new year, knowing that you are part of something bigger than yourselves – something that grows with each gift, each volunteer, each lesson, and each smile on a child’s face. Thank you for making what we do possible.

“From the fruit of their mouths people’s stomachs are filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.”

Proverbs 18:20

NAGC Bound!

We are so excited to be heading for the National Association for Gifted Children Conference in Albuquerque, NM later this week! We will provide updates on FB, twitter, and right here, so please follow us everywhere you can.

We promise to share all the wonderful insights we gain on the state of gifted education, advocacy, and best practices. Look for us in the Vendor Area as well!

There is still time to register for the conference!

Welcome to the Karnes 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.

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. You can reach our university site, which contains static information about each of our programs, by visiting On THIS page, you will find the ever-changing 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.