Stephanie Anderson has dreamed of space for years. Last month, she found herself sitting in the Great Refractor at the Center for Astrophysics where one of her role models, Avi Loeb, the Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science, was once pictured. The trip was part of her summer class “The Life and Death of Stars.”
Anderson, along with twin sister, Lauren; Téa Trevarthen; and Carys “Megat” Tulk are current students in Harvard’s seven-week-long summer Secondary School Program. The four are all from Scotland and were introduced to the program by Who Cares? Scotland, a Glasgow organization focused on providing support and opportunities for youth who have experiences with the country’s foster care system, known in Scotland simply as the care system.
The 17-year-old Anderson twins lived in foster care when they were young children, then lived with their grandmother. They heard about the collaboration between Harvard and Who Cares? through school and decided to apply.
“One thing [Who Cares] highlighted to us at the interview stage before any of us had been accepted was, ‘You can still be part of the charity,’” said Stephanie. “They’re a great support.”
Who Cares? Scotland began partnering with the Harvard program in 2010. In the 12 years since, the organization has sent 25 students to Cambridge as participants on scholarships provided by fundraising.
The process is rigorous. Students must first apply through Who Cares? and obtain personal references. Candidates are shortlisted and go through a round of interviews. If they are selected, they then go through the standard application process, which includes writing a personal statement. Who Cares? also provides information sessions with prior participants to answer questions and assuage anxieties before the students depart.