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A Mentor to Gifted Students Steps Down

The Institute for Educational Advancement offers high school sholarships for gifted students. 

Every spring, seventh graders across the United States apply for a Caroline D. Bradley (CDB) Scholarship. The four-year scholarship enables students to attend the high school of their choice. Between 25 and 30 seventh graders are chosen annually by the Institute for Educational Advancement (IEA), which administers the program. After 18 years at the Institute, Bonnie Raskin, the CDB Scholarship program director, is retiring.

“Watching kids mature and develop is what motivates me and my peers at IEA,” Raskin told me during a recent interview via video.

The IEA, which is based in Pasadena, California, is a nonprofit organization. Its goal is to meet the needs of gifted students across the country. For generations of CDB Scholars, Raskin has served as an invaluable advisor and role model. She, in turn, is proud of the students who are able to find an academic path they truly love.

“It takes a lot of resilience to try something new,” Raskin said. She sees value in starting out as a “generalist rather than a specialist,” and embracing exploration.


In her spare time, student mentor Bonnie Raskin helps shelter dogs find homes. 


Before joining the IEA, Raskin was a television producer. She said that the role helped her strengthen her communication skills.

“You have an opportunity to do lots of different things in your lifetime,” Raskin told me. “You can take skills from one place and apply them to another.”

Raskin is also an animal lover. In her spare time, she works with Wags and Walks, a dog-rescue group that helps shelter dogs find homes.

Raskin hopes that more students will apply to the CDB Scholarship, which opens doors for gifted students and helps them flourish. For seventh graders interested in applying, applications are due on April 10, 2024.

Top photo courtesy of the Institute for Educational Advancement; bottom photo courtesy of Bonnie Raskin