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Regional Talent Centers

The Cooke Foundation collaborates with regional talent centers to conduct outreach and recruitment for the Young Scholars Program and also provide avenues for above-level testing. While applicants are not required to be talent center program participants to apply to the Young Scholars Program, it is strongly encouraged for applicants to enroll in the talent search with their regional talent center for additional educational benefits.

There are four regional talent centers that the Foundation collaborates with formally every year for the Young Scholars Program:

  • Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth (CTY)
  • Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP)
  • Northwestern University Center for Talent Development (CTD)
  • Center for Bright Kids (CBK)


Which talent center do I contact?

Generally, the talent centers correspond to the regions of the United States as noted below. For your specific state, please visit our talent center map to find your assigned regional talent center. 

East and West Coast states
Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth (CTY)
(410) 735-6270 or
Southern states
Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIP)
Devin Patterson
Midwestern states
Northwestern University Center for Talent Development (CTD)
Tammie Stewart
Rocky Mountain states
Center for Bright Kids (CBK)
(303) 428-2634 or

What is the talent search?

The regional talent centers conduct annual talent searches to seek out and acknowledge academically talented students who exhibit high academic strengths and need further educational challenge. Students can participate in the talent search by taking an above-level test.


 What is above-level testing?

High-ability students tend to score very highly on grade-level tests like state assessments. Above-level testing is an important tool for assessing the educational needs of academically talented students who may need further challenges.

One of our regional talent center partners, Duke University Talent Identification Program provides a helpful handout explaining the importance of above-level testing for high-achieving students. Download the handout as a PDF here.

Students and families who participate in the talent search can receive benefits like educational guidance, recognition for their abilities, qualification for advanced level programming, and access to other scholarships. 

In addition, the 7th-8th grade talent searches are particularly helpful for pre-college planning as the SAT and ACT are used to evaluate students. By participating in the talent search during these grades, students get an early glimpse at the important college entrance exams in a low-stakes setting as the test scores cannot be seen by colleges or universities. Studies show that taking the SAT or ACT more than once or twice can increase scores.

If you have questions about applying to the Young Scholars Program and participating in above-level testing, please click on the state in which you reside, and you will be directed to the contact information for the regional talent center best able to assist you.

Talent centers also provide testing and resources for students younger than 7th grade. The Cooke Foundation provides outreach grants to the talent centers to support testing and identification of low-income students who are high-achieving and gifted. Fee waivers for testing are available to qualified applicants. 


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Información en Español:
El Programa Young Scholars

Webinars for students, families, and educators

Join us for a live webinar on eligibility requirements, selection criteria, and key dates. Cooke Foundation staff will answer attendee questions and share best practices and tips for the application process. Several dates and times are available:

Register for Upcoming Webinars

Information for families

English: Program Flyer | Application Guidelines

Español: Folleto | Pautas de la Solicitud

한국어: 브로셔 | 신청 가이드 라인