Recap: a broad review of ACE 2011

300 elite Chinese students came together to interact with officials and students from 30 of the finest education institutions in the world. Here, foreign officials and American students pose with Ameson staff.


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here is nothing similar to the   Ameson Chinese Elite (ACE) program anywhere in the world. Much more than a college fair, the program invites world-leading scholars and admissions officers from the world's finest universities to interact with 300 carefully screened Chinese high school students that represent the best and brightest in the nation.

The program is run on a strictly not-for-profit basis – student tuition costs, housing and food are covered by the Ameson Foundation, while in many cases, visiting officials from overseas enjoy travel and lodging subsidies as well.

Here is a slideshow recap of the 2011 version of the program:

Key points of ACE 2011

ACE 2011 took place from July 25-31 at Beijing No. 4 High School, one of the most prestigious public beacon high schools in China (becacon schools serve as model schools for others to emulate). The following were the key aspects of the 2011 program:

  • Chinese students: 300 of the best-performing high school students in mainland China were nominated by their respective high schools to attend the event. Screening criteria included student grades, leadership abilities, English abilities, and level of interest for pursuing undergraduate study at an elite overseas university.
  • American students: six American students were selected (using similar criteria that was used to select Chinese students) to serve as cultural ambassadors and also to add their ideas to panel discussions. Students who attended came from some of America's most prestigious institutions: Cody Coleman from MIT; Matt Griffith from Sidwell Friends; Angela Liu from the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology; Ian Giles from the Bullis School; James WIlby from the Lovett School; Andrea Leonard from the Lawrenceville School.

  • Overseas education officials: attendees came from a total of 30 different foreign universities and high schools. They included: Mr. Alan D. Bersin: Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security for International Affairs; former Secretary of Education for California, former Superintendant of San Diego City Schools; member of Overseers of Harvard University; Ms. Doris Davis, former Associate Provost of Cornell University; Dr. Richard Barnes, Professor, University of Cambridge; Douglas L. Christiansen, Ph.D. Vice Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions; Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Higher Education, Vanderbilt University; Ms. Milena Mareva, Associate Director of Admissions, Wellesley College; Ms. Dayna Niwa Krakower, Admissions Counselor, Stanford University; Ms. Patricia Wasyliw, Assistant Dean and Study Abroad Advisor, Cornell University; Dr. Vu Tran, Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools, UCLA; Mr. Daniel Grayson, Assistant Director, Office of Undergraduate Admissions, Tufts University; Dr. Jonathan Burdick, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, University of Rochester; Ms. Christine Van Gieson, Associate Dean for Enrollment, University of California Santa Barbara; Ms. Mae W. Brown, Assistant Vice Chancellor, University of California San Diego; Mr. Alan Zheng and Ms. Shirley Xu, Shanghai representatives for the University of Warwick; Dr. Tom Bruce, Director of Teaching, University of Edinburgh; Prof. Roger Crouch, Head of School of Engineering and Computing Sciences, Durham University; Dr. Lalit Kumar Goel, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Nanyang Technological University; Dr. Mary Frances Bryja, Director of College Counseling, The Bullis School; Mr. Tim Hanson, AP History teacher, The Bullis School.

  • Program schedule: each morning featured a pair of lectures in the main auditorium on such topics as: Innovation (Prof. Richard Barnes); American Educational Development (Dr. Douglas L. Christiansen); What it means to be a College-Educated Person in the 21st Century (Dr. Alan Bersin). Afternoon sessions included cultural exchanges and social activities, while evening sessions saw recruting officials meeting with smaller groups of students to inform about study options at their respective universities. 
  • Panel discussions: there were a total of four panel discussions during the second half of the program featuring six student speakers (a mix of American and Chinese students) and one overseas educator serving as a moderator. Panel discussion topics were: "Education for All; "New Energy: is Nuclear Energy Safe?"; "The Fight Against Poverty"; "Peacekeeping, Conflict Prevention, Fighting Terrorism."

Feedback from foreign guests

Dr. Lalit Kumar Goel, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Nanyang Technological University: "Chinese are probably one of the largest foreign groups in our university, this bodes well because they are some of the brightest in the world. I've been coming to ACE for the last 4 years, 2008 was my first time. Based on my interaction, I find these are indeed the best students from China, most of them can speak very good english, which is not very common, particularly at that level. I believe that ACE is doing the right thing by getting the best students to come here. I think this is a very effective environment. I think we have established a very firm agreement between the two parties and we would like it to continue."

Dr. Vu Tran, Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools, UCLA: "This is my third year attending ACE, I have always been impressed with the quality of students overall. The most important is that they have very inquisitive minds asking questions, which is important in developing their skills and knowledge for the future. My impression is the great majority have a lot of potential. I think that with determination and help, they have potential to be great leaders of the future."

Ms. Mae W. Brown, Assistant Vice Chancellor, University of California San Diego: "The students are absolutely excellent, from the nature of the questions they ask the quality of their interaction, their attentiveness to our talks, I’m looking to see more of them in my campus."

Ms. Christine Van Gieson, Associate Dean for Enrollment, University of California Santa Barbara: "The quality of students are absolutely super. They’ve been asking intense questions, they seem so lively and interested, I’ve been really impressed. Most surprising is that they seem very tenacious, curious and interested. We’ve been talking a lot about the UC in general, not one campus in particular, I hope we’ve fostered some level of interest. The opportunity for them to meet with those already interested has been fantastic."

Dr. Jonathan Burdick, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, University of Rochester: "This is my second year attending ACE. The students I see at ACE are just excellent. I’m happy to see a bunch of them applying and coming to Rochester. This is a great way to meet high level students if you want to have productive summer trip."
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