Project Launch Continues for Fifth Year

three girls smiling for the camera
Tuesday, April 10, 2018

For Immediate Release

Katy Munger

(919) 668-9153

DURHAM, NC—Thanks to a major grant of $150,000 by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, the Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) will be able to continue its groundbreaking Project Launch program for a fifth consecutive cycle.

Project Launch allows high-ability, low-income students to enroll in TIP’s academic programming for gifted students at no cost to their families and evaluates the impact of various academic interventions on their educational success. Project Launch scholars are given access to a variety of special educational opportunities, including TIP’s CRISIS summer program for fifth and sixth graders, mentored online courses, above-grade level testing to better evaluate each student’s academic strengths, a book club, and special email notifications to parents that provide advice on how to support their children’s efforts in school. These are new educational opportunities for most Project Launch students—and they have proved they can perform well when taking advantage of them. For example, 70% of Project Launch students participating in TIP’s CRISIS program last summer were away from their homes and families for the first time (vs. 49% for non-Project Launch participants), yet Project Launch students were rated by their instructors as highly as their non-participating peers on academic performance.

Over its four years thus far, Project Launch has enrolled over 1,300 high-ability, low-income students and an additional 3,500 families have received research-based advice and support. Many students have remained engaged with Project Launch through their middle and early high school years, allowing TIP to measure the longer term impact of the program’s interventions.

Greater Impact

Project Launch does more than enrich the lives of individual students. It is also contributing to an empirical understanding of how academic support services can influence a low-income gifted student’s academic success. The program evaluates the relative and cumulative impacts of various academic interventions and tracks whether combinations of services can provide greater benefits to students, compared to individual interventions alone.

“Serving more high ability, low-income scholars is a priority for TIP,” Duke TIP Executive Director Shawna Young said. “So we very much appreciate the support of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. We also hope the data we are gathering through Project Launch will lead to more effective support services for all low-income students in the U.S. school system.”

About the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation: The Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Since 2000, the foundation has awarded $175 million in scholarships to more than 2,300 students from 8th grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive counseling and other support services. The foundation has also provided over $97 million in grants to organizations that serve such students. Please visit for more information.

About Duke TIP: The Duke University Talent Identification Program (Duke TIP) is a nonprofit organization that has served over 2.9 million academically talented students in grades four through twelve since 1980. Each year, Duke TIP enrolls nearly one hundred thousand new students in its talent searches. TIP also offers accelerated face-to-face and online educational programs to more than thirteen thousand students each year. In addition, TIP researches the educational, emotional, and social factors impacting the lives of gifted children, then shares this research and related advice with educators, parents, and the greater gifted community. 

For more information about the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, please visit For more information about Duke TIP, please visit