Dear ATDP community,

It’s time to celebrate 40 years of the Academic Talent Development Program (ATDP)! In our roles as Faculty Director and the newest Program Director, it is our honor to introduce this commemorative brochure that spotlights ATDP’s rich history and provides a glimpse into our current projects and future plans.

We hope you enjoy perusing the enclosed timeline, which is organized by four themes that represent the core mission and values of the work we do (see below).

A remarkable anniversary

It is timely to celebrate 40 years on the heels of what was arguably the most difficult year the program has endured. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the spring, usually a time of fast-paced activity and finalizing plans, instead became a time of uncertainty and unsettling quiet. Urgency followed as we had to cancel our on-site program, plan an online program, and proceed with enrollment, placement, teacher professional development, student orientation, and finally, offering courses—all in eight weeks.

The hard work paid off, as more than 1400 students participated in remote ATDP courses last summer and summer evaluations indicated an overwhelmingly positive experience.

Academic talent development by choice, not chance

Forty years ago, ATDP was founded as the UC Berkeley Gifted Program, one of the Talent Search centers intended to improve the education of intellectually gifted students, in keeping with the vision of Julian Stanley, who had recently opened the Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University. As a public university, UC Berkeley’s mission is broader and the program moved from a talent search model to a talent development model, as reflected in the current name. Now, talent development is one of the major frameworks in gifted education with the development of potential into talent as central to these programs as the identification of talent.

There are still many hurdles facing gifted education and talent development programs. Students with the potential for outstanding performance are still not included in the concept of a “free and appropriate public education.” There are limited federal resources devoted to gifted education, and funding for these types of programs is dependent on state appropriations, leaving programs like ATDP to pick up the slack for the lack of programming in public schools. And gifted and talented education programs still do not reflect the demographic diversity of the country, as students of color and students from low-income backgrounds continue to be underrepresented.

As ATDP looks forward to another 40 years, it is our fondest hope that the talent development model becomes more common in gifted education and in public education. In 1998, Lauren Sosniak wrote, “Part of our work as educators is to understand how to create conditions that allow ever larger portions of our youth to work toward the development of talent irrespective of where and to whom they were born.” Programs like ATDP can only serve a fraction of the students with potential, but all of us, as citizens, can insist that academic talent development should be available to ALL students.

Thank you for being a part of our journey. Here’s to ATDP at 40!

Frank C. Worrell
Faculty Director

Christine Gerchow
Program Director





Growing Access
& Equity

We want to enable all highly motivated and prepared students to pursue their academic passions, regardless of background. We will redouble our efforts, even in the leanest of economic times, to provide support and opportunities to students in underserved communities.

Learning for
Falling in Love

We’ve always united teachers who are passionate about their subject with students who love to learn. We will preserve our high standards for rigorous and engaging curricula, guided by live instruction in active classrooms, whether physical or virtual.


As part of the Graduate School of Education at a tier one research university, the ATDP learning environment has provided countless opportunities for gifted education research. We will continue to offer students and families the chance to participate in growing this body of knowledge.


ATDP courses aren’t just about the curriculum. Every summer, students come from far and wide to share their interests with one another, work in class together, and make new friends. We will support, encourage, and explore ways to connect ATDP students, faculty, and staff.


Having recently retired from teaching at Lowell High School in San Francisco, Anne Wallach proposes a summer program for gifted students to Graduate School of Education (GSE) Interim Dean James Guthrie.Wallach cites a lack of academic summer opportunities for teens. Guthrie agrees to try the experiment if a minimum of fifty students can be recruited.


The UC Berkeley Gifted Program accepts 282 students from 66 communities throughout California for its first summer, far more than Guthrie’s original minimum. Above, students line up for a talent search recognition event on campus; the program’s first participants came primarily from this group, and were admitted based on SAT score in keeping with the Talent Search model.

Anne Wallach serves as the Gifted Program manager during the summer. Even in its first year, she insists that a portion of the program’s income go to financial assistance for students in need.

Some of the program’s very first courses—History of Science and Problem Solving with Computer Assistance—are unique offerings that would never be seen again. Many others, however, are academic staples that would continue for many years: Algebra I, Algebra II, and Marine Biology.


Dr. Bernard Gifford becomes Dean of the GSE, the first African American dean at UC Berkeley.Gifford reviews GSE programs to ensure alignment with Berkeley’s mission as a public institution, and turns his focus to the Gifted Program. It is Gifford’s priority to reconceptualize the program in a way that promotes diversity, and ensures equity and access for all academically eligible students.


The program expands its natural science courses, offering an astronomy course and—for the first time—an Advanced Placement curriculum in biology.

During the program, time is reserved for “Wednesday Excursions,” optional activities and lunchtime recreation. This would evolve into ATDP’s ongoing Explorations classes and workshops. Among the first offerings: a timely investigation of Orwell’s 1984.


Cal undergrad Lloyd Nebres joins the program staff as an office clerk and database administrator. He would go on to serve many roles, including graphic designer, mentor, and instructor.

The Younger Students Program (YSP) begins, serving ages 7-10, at Washington Elementary in Berkeley.


The need for support staff grows with the popularity of the program. Carole Swain, left, becomes the first full-time program director.

Yoshiko Tagami joins the staff as a student worker. She would later serve as a full-time staff member for many years before retiring in 2007.


Nancy Mellor, center left, brings 30 students from the central valley to attend the program, a tradition that would continue for years to come. Known as the Coalinga-Huron House, it would later expand to become the annual CHA House, including Avenal as well.

The legendary Flossie Lewis, a teacher from Lowell High, joins the program as an instructor. Over the next 20 years, Flossie would teach writing, poetry, and drama in courses for both younger and older students. Left, Flossie leads a dance number in her 1992 elementary class The Melodrama and the Music Hall.


Nina Gabelko brings her expertise from coordinating outreach efforts including the GSE’s School-Univer-sity Partnerships for Educational Renewal (SUPER) and joins ATDP as its new executive director. Her priority is to establish a self-sustaining program that includes a financial aid fund, in-line with Gifford’s vision of equity, inclusion, and access. She continues to serve as director for 22 years.

Elise Lustig creates the ever-popular Human Anatomy course for younger students.

Micah Sabraw creates Rocky Reefs and Tide Pools, beginning a long tradition of marine science courses for kindergarteners.

Carol Ponzio joins the Elementary Division as an instructor. She would go on to lead Sea Studies and Rainforests for many years.


The Gifted Program is renamed the Academic Talent Development Program (ATDP) to better align with Gifford and Gabelko’s more inclusive vision for the program and the students it serves.

Carrie Brown joins the program staff. She still remains today as the assistant director, setting the record for longest-serving ATDP employee!

Husband of Nina, Anatoly Gabelko begins teaching Russian language courses. He would go on to offer Latin and German courses as well.

As a graduate student, Frank C. Worrell begins teaching at ATDP. As professor, Dr. Worrell would go on to serve as ATDP’s Faculty Director, and many of his graduate students would continue to teach, work, and conduct research at ATDP. From working as a counselor, site administrator, and psychology instructor, to running the GSE’s School Psychology program, Dr. Worrell’s eminence in gifted education research would result in many publications and accolades, and in 2020 he would be elected the 2022 President of the American Psychological Association (APA).


Berkeley High School math teacher Philippe Henri spends his first summer with the program leading the Geometry course. He would become the first instructor to reach 25 years of service with ATDP.

ATDP’s longest-running writing course, The Writing Process, begins with 22 students enrolled.


Sue Magidson creates Foundations of Algebra, one of ATDP’s longest-running enrichment math courses. Video recordings of the class are used for math education research.


Professor Lauren Sosniak, whose focus is teacher training and curriculum development, visits and studies ATDP over the summer. Her partnership with Nina Gabelko begins a long-running thread of research.

Laura Schooley first offers Myths & Legends for 1st Graders. Among others, Greek mythology is a subject she would continue to teach through 2014.


First-Year Japanese is first offered and begins a long tradition of Japanese language classes at ATDP.


The Older Student Program and Younger Student Program are renamed to the Secondary Division and Elementary Division.

Gary Kitajo joins as instructor for The Practice of Law, teaching the course every summer through the present day.

Former ATDP student Gary Hsueh joins the staff while an undergraduate at Cal, focusing on expanding the Explorations program.

Adena Young enrolls in Foundations of Algebra as a 7th grader. She would continue at ATDP as a TA, mathematics instructor, department chair, interim director, and graduate researcher focused on mathematics education. ATDP students would participate in research leading to her doctoral dissertation: Explorations of metacognition among academically talented middle and high school students, which would be published in Gifted Child Quarterly in 2018.


On a young internet, ATDP publishes the first version of its website.

Steve Kirby joins ATDP, creating the popular course Those Wonderful Simple Machines! Kirby—pictured assisting with instructor evaluations using cutting-edge tech—would go on to serve as the Assistant Site Supervisor for the Elementary Division for many years, manning the iconic red gate at Washington School.

Instructor Bob Fabini creates the popular Fluid Physics course for 4th grade students.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien intro-duces the Berkeley Pledge, an initiative aimed at supporting low-income students in Bay Area schools. ATDP plays a key role, with Program Director Nina Gabelko publishing proceedings from conferences and collaborations.


Cal English major Candace Grant joins the program staff and serves as the editor of the weekly newsletter for several summers to come.

Lloyd Nebres introduces The Internet Classroom (TIC), an interdisciplinary computer science course that would cultivate a long-standing community of alumni, TAs, and even future ATDP instructors whose connections were forged through online technologies. Today, it continues to be offered as Elements of Web Design.


As a student, Cynthia Nie first joins ATDP for Introduction to Computers and the Internet. She would go on to TA for Lloyd Nebres, inherit his instructor position for TIC, and today serves among the program office staff.


Having worked as a colleague with Dr. Worrell at Penn State, Dr. Beverly Vandiver begins visiting ATDP for many summers to come. Known affectionately as “Dr. V,” she works as Secondary Division Counselor and would later also teach statistics and psychology courses.

SD instructor Edan Dekel begins a years-long run of impressively diverse teaching: each year he led three classes—sometimes four!—in subjects such as writing, Latin, Greek, philosophy, comparative religion, and symbolism.

The Elementary Division student body hits a record high of 988.


Laura Shefler joins the program as a study lab mentor. She would go on to teach several courses including literature, creative writing, and public speaking, and she still serves as an ATDP instructor today!

The Elementary Division moves from Harding Elementary in El Cerrito to the larger Washington Elementary in Point Richmond.


ED instructor Heather MacLeod begins teaching Authors' Corner, and has done so every year to this day!


Stevie Jeung enrolls in TIC as an 8th Grader. She would pursue a prolific career at ATDP: as TA , a writing instructor, a program counselor, and a graduate student under Dr. Frank Worrell. Today, Dr. Jeung serves as a pivotal member of the ATDP office staff.

This photo from Introduction to Engineering—taught by Brian Cooley—features student Abraham Liao, who would later join ATDP as a computer science instructor and office staff member.

Yet another former student, Casey Cheung, joins the ATDP office staff, continuing the legacy of expanding Explorations offerings on campus.


Richard Kleine joins ATDP as an Elementary Division instructor. For many years, he taught a math course and a writing course at the same time!

SD instructor Alex James begins offering a variety of philosophy and writing courses.


Lydia Butler creates Mathmagic!, an algebra course for 1st Graders.


Instructor Junko Hosoi takes the lead for Japanese language courses at ATDP, teaching many cohorts of first-year students, and helping to bring in fellow language teachers that allows students to continue to advance their learning.


We remember program founder Anne Wallach: September 23, 1912–October 3, 2005.


The Secondary Division student body hits a record high of 1140.


Having worked with ATDP in the past, ED Site Administrator Lisa Levi officially assumes her lead role.

Herlinda Tin joins the ATDP office staff. She would go on to pursue a doctorate degree in clinical psychology, and is now working in science education for children.


Every Child’s Right: Academic Talent Development by Choice, Not Chance by Lauren Sosniak and Nina Gabelko is published. The book is commonly referred to as ATDP’s manifesto, coming out two years following the unfortunate loss of Sosniak to a battle with cancer.


Instructor and graduate student Colleen Lewis creates the ED course Creating Music, Movies & Games with Computers, and its students and families help her gather data for the nascent field of computer science education research. (Dr. Lewis is now a professor at the University of Illinois.)

The ATDP office staff welcome Erin Donohue who, among many other critical contributions, would single-handedly rework the office’s email account into a shining beacon of inbox organization.


Friends, colleagues, and former students & TAs attend a retirement party for Lloyd Nebres at the 2010 CHA House.

Samuel Pierce joins the summer program as co-instructor for TIC. He would go on to join the ATDP office staff that fall, providing IT, database, and visual design services, as well as continuing to serve as instructor.


With a science survey class filled with students from Singapore Girls’ School, ATDP establishes its first international partnership in what would become the Global Programs. Several more partnerships are added over the following years, including a long-running program with CFM Educational Services (pictured).

Dr. Worrell and Dr. Young publish a chapter on gifted students in urban settings in the book Handbook for Counselors Serving Students with Gifts and Talents.

ATDP staff and faculty gather in Tolman Hall for Nina Gabelko’s retirement party. Dr. Young begins a 6-month stint as interim ATDP Director.


The ATDP Main Office moves from its long-standing home on Tolman Hall’s third floor to the ground floor of University Hall. Demolition of Tolman Hall would begin in 2018.

Mildred Flores joins the ATDP staff, quickly becoming the point person for Spanish-speaking applicants, helping families navigate the application process, reviving the Elementary Division newsletter, and having very strong opinions on all ATDP design decisions.

Christine Gerchow, right, a doctoral student working with Dr. Worrell, joins ATDP as SD Counselor.

Dr. Young returns to full-time practice and Dr. Worrell begins serving as both Program and Faculty Director.


The first official ATDP program t-shirt is produced and distributed to students.


Former student and CHA House member Ricardo Gonzalez reboots the central valley program under the name Rising Scholars Academy. Left, Gonzalez assists pre-algebra students in 1989. Gonzalez started as an ATDP student in 1986, and would continue to serve as an ATDP Advisory Committee member and Tech Support Coordinator for remote learning.


ATDP becomes accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) as a Supplemental Educational Program. Former ATDP instructor Kelly Mogilefsky is central in organizing ATDP’s application and acceptance.

Using data from ATDP, Stevie Jeung collaborates with Anne Frank Webb (of Penn State) and Dr. Vandiver to ask the question: Does completing an enriched writing course improve writing self-efficacy of talented secondary students? Their paper is published in the Gifted Child Quarterly.


Dr. Lisa Kala, formerly Assistant Dean and lead of the GSE’s outreach center, joins ATDP as its Program Director. Her invaluable experience helps ATDP navigate tumultuous times for campus budgets and operations.

Instructor and TA alumni of The Internet Classroom assemble memories and stories into a book to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the course and its impact. Pictured, course creator Lloyd Nebres joins the book launch party remotely from retirement in Hawaii.


The first cohort of ATDP’s Distinguished Scholars are conferred awards for enrollment in five or more years of the Secondary Division. These rising high school seniors are recognized during SD orientation.


Berkeley Way West officially opens in the northwest corner of campus to replace Tolman Hall and serve as the new home of the Graduate School of Education (as well as the School of Public Health and the Psychology Department). The building features gender-neutral restrooms and a robotic cafe!

Dr. Worrell publishes the book Talent Development as a Framework for Gifted Education with co-editors Paula Olszewski-Kubilius of Northwestern’s Center for Talent Development and Rena Subotnik of the American Psychological Association.


ATDP staff and faculty work to submit the first Secondary Division courses to be approved to meet UC A-G subject requirements. Many ATDP courses and grades are now directly reportable on the UC application.

Dr. Worrell publishes the book The Psychology of High Performance with co-editors Rena Subotnik of the American Psychological Association and Paula Olszewski-Kubilius of Northwestern’s Center for Talent Development.


On March 16, UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ directs all faculty and staff to work remotely in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Through a planned handoff of the director’s chair, Dr. Christine Gerchow becomes the new program director under very un-planned circumstances.

In less than a month and while working from home, the ATDP staff revise and roll out a plan to hold courses online, a first for the program.

First Online Program Metrics

  • Student body: 1,418
  • Courses offered: 53
  • Financial aid awarded: $47,255

"I kept hearing [my child] say 'look how cool this is!'"

"Amazing what they could deliver online, [...they] did a fantastic job of converting the [class]."

It was so refreshing in comparison to [her] learning experience at her school, and showed me it was possible to do online learning in a successful way."

"This should be a model for online learning at school."


ATDP will hold an online program in summer 2021.
Applications are open now!

Secondary Division:
June 21 - July 30, 2021

Elementary Division:
July 12 - 30, 2021

No matter how many years you have been with us, thank you for being a part of our 40 year journey and we hope you will come along for more into the future! If you would like to see the formal 40th Anniversary brochure which this timeline page was modeled after, a PDF copy is available here.

We also invite you to use the Padlet below to share any stories, photos, memories and more!

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