Services for Students & Families

Gifted Boys Conference

(7th-grade boys only)

February 13, 2015

Conference Schedule
9:30 - 10:00 a.m. Registration
10:15 - 11:00 a.m. Leadership
Dr. Milan Sevak, Simmons School, SMU
11:15 a.m. - 12 Noon Breakout Session*
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. Complimentary Box Lunch
1 - 1:50 p.m. Breakout Session*
The Gifted Boys Conference is offered through the Gifted Students Institute (click here for the GSI home page). Registration and and Breakout Session choices must be received by February 4.

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Milan Sevak
Clinical Assistant Professor & Program Director for Educational Leadership

Milan Sevak has served in school and district roles in a variety of settings.  Most recently, Milan worked as Assistant Superintendent of Strategic Leadership in Dallas ISD, where he led the District’s efforts to reform teacher evaluation, compensation, and support systems.  Previously, he also served as a Division Assistant Superintendent and was responsible for student outcomes for 41 schools with 30,000 students.  
Prior to joining Dallas ISD, Milan worked as Deputy Chief of School Performance in the Chicago Public Schools, Special Assistant to the Superintendent in Austin ISD, and Director of Instruction & Assessment for Leadership Public Schools (a charter management organization in the San Francisco Bay Area). He has taught middle and high school students in Richmond (CA), New York City, and India.

Throughout his career, Milan has trained and/or coached hundreds of school and district leaders on instructional leadership, effective teams, strategic planning, and data-driven decision-making.  In collaboration with others, he has secured millions of dollars in foundation and state grants to facilitate district reform efforts and has presented nationally on his work.  His dissertation focused on how superintendents create and lead their senior leadership teams using a multi-case study analysis.  

Milan received a B.A. from the University of Chicago, an M.B.A. from Northwestern University, and an M.Ed. and Ed.D. from Harvard University.

Breakout Sessions for 2015 

Psychology of Success
Ann Batenburg, Ph.D., Clinical Assistant Professor, Education, SMU
Which Mindset are you? A fixed mindset believes in natural ability, that one is born with a certain amount of talent or intelligence, and one can do little to change it. A growth mindset believes that one can always change one’s basic ability. This presentation will explain the mindsets and their consequences.

Exploring the Power of Music in Our Lives – Music Therapy and Beyond
Robert E. Krout, EdD, MT-BC. Professor and Director of Music Therapy, Meadows School of the Arts - SMU
Music surrounds us everyday and can influence us even before we are born. It can also have a major impact on our health and happiness. This session will briefly examine:
•  Where did music come from and is it uniquely human;
•  How music affects brain function and stimulates the emotions;
•  How music can bring people together in a myriad of ways;
•  How we can use music in our daily lives;
•  The discipline and profession of music therapy.

Mars A New Frontier
Kurt Chankaya— Aerodynamics Engineer, Member of the Mars SocietyHave you wondered what possible new frontiers may open up in the future?  Come for a discussion on the exploration of Space, and in particular, Mars.  We’ll talk about the past and ongoing robotic explorations of Mars, and some of the challenges and possibilities of how human exploration could be done in the near future.  We’ll also discuss the natural resources available on Mars, and how these could support a human colony living and thriving on a new frontier.

*Meadows Museum
Meadows Museum Docents

Travel through 1000 years of Spanish history on a guided tour of the Meadows Museum. One of the largest collections of Spanish art outside of Spain, the Meadows Museum is home to many great masters such as Goya, Ribera, Velazquez, Picasso, El Greco, Miro, Rodin, and Giacometti. Come see our collection of Spanish masters in a new light!

Photography As An Art Form and A Career?
Jim Olvera, Professional Photograper
Come find out how the art of photography can be used to communicate personality, sell products, and see the world in a different way.  This award winning photographer will show you how to turn a passion into a career.

From Clinician to Scientist
Mu Huang, SMU Integrative Physiology Lab
Are you interested in sports, health care or research?  This session will explore what it takes to be a sports physical therapist and how that can lead to being a scientific researcher.

He Said/She Said
Abigail Pruitt, Ed.D., Clinical Associate Professor, Education, SMU
Have you ever wondered whether men and women are speaking the same language?  Do we ask the same questions?  Do we discuss the same topics? Do we speak and listen in the same manner? In the field of linguistics, the study of language, researchers examine and analyze conversations in order to investigate these sorts of questions.  In this break-out session, we will discuss your own observations about language and explore some of the research findings on the similarities and differences between men and women in language and communication.

*This session will require extra walking time. Backpacks/bags and food items will not be allowed at this session.

Conference Location

The Gifted Boys Conference will be held on the SMU campus.  A map (click here to link to SMU's online map site), parking directions, and confirmation letter will be faxed to the participant's school within two days of receiving the registration.  Space is limited; please make reservations early. 


Click here for the bus parking and student drop off map. For those driving cars, click here for a visitor parking map.

Conference Fee

The conference registration fee per person is $45. The registration fee for boys who are eligible for the free or reduced-price lunch program is only $10. The Conference is limited to 7th-grade boys and their teachers/sponsors, but each teacher who registers five boys will receive a free registration.  Breakfast is NOT provided, and the light lunch (included in the registration fee) is not served until 12:15.


Complete a registration form and Breakout Session form for each boy and adult attending (copy the form as needed).  All boys must be accompanied by either a teacher or a parent, and there must be at least one sponsor for every ten boys. Due to space limitations, the conference is limited to seventh-grade boys and their sponsors. Notice that the form requires a Guardian's signature.  

Registration deadline is February 4, 2015.

Please mail all of the registrations for any one group of boys sponsored by the same adult together in one packet with a check or purchase order payable to SMU/GSI.  Requests for refunds must be received seven days before the lecture/workshop; otherwise no refund will be made.  Cancellation prior to one week will be refunded less a $15 handling fee; a check for the balance will be mailed in 3 to 4 weeks. Registrations and payment information must be sent to:

Gifted Students Institute
Southern Methodist University
PO Box 750383
Dallas TX  75275-0383

Click here for a PDF registration form. Click here for a sponsoring teacher registration form.

Contact Information

Phone: 214-768-4383
Fax: 214-768-3147