Highfliers Lauren and Andi celebrate after Harvard experience

Tuesday 22 October 2019

Harvard Summer School scholars Andi Stannard (L), and Lauren Tenn-Mills (R)

To go back to school over the summer break while your friends are at work, away on holiday or simply relaxing during the warmer months is one thing. However, to head to a new country, and complete an intensive study programme at one of the world’s most prestigious universities is something else altogether.

That is exactly what Lauren Tenn-Mills, and Andi Stannard did when they attended a seven-week residential stay at Harvard University’s Summer School Programme earlier this year. Brilliantly both Andi and Lauren each achieved the full credits for the courses they were studying, all while learning to live independently, and make new friends at the university campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts north of Boston.

Lauren and Andi both attended the Harvard Summer School Programme thanks to the support of Who Cares? Scotland, local authorities, and SQA.

This is the tenth year Who Cares? Scotland has sent students to Harvard for the summer, giving care experienced young people the opportunity to sample student life at an Ivy League university.

Speaking about their time on campus, Lauren said: “This summer has been the best; I don’t think anything will top it! I have come away with new friends from all around the world, with all eight credits achieved in my studies, and a greater understanding of how to live independently. What more could I have wanted?”

Lauren added, “Being away this summer has helped me to grow so much more confident in terms of how I carry myself, and how I speak to others. I have left Harvard with a better understanding of who I am, what I want for my future, and a plan of how I’m going to get there.”


All about Harvard with Andi from Who Cares? Scotland on Vimeo.


Talking about her experience, Andi spoke about the challenges she faced while at Harvard, saying: “I did feel a bit overwhelmed at times. The courses I studied – Organismic Biology, and Evolutionary Biology – were both really tough, but I got really good advice from my tutors, and the peer-support I received from other people on the course was essential in getting my head round what was expected of me.”

Andi continues, “The classes were hard, and I did feel homesick from time to time, but I have had an amazing experience at Harvard. I have made so many new friends, and done things I never thought I would do. The whole time there was more challenging but more rewarding that I could ever have expected.”

Duncan Dunlop, Chief Executive of Who Cares? Scotland congratulated them on what they have accomplished, saying: “Everyone in Scotland should feel proud of Andi and Lauren. They have shown immense commitment and determination, completing an academic term at the same university as eight former American Presidents. Their achievement is testament to what can happen when young people are supported and championed by the adults around them. 

Duncan continued: “We created the Harvard programme with the knowledge that Care Experienced people have the same aspirations and goals as everyone else. I hope that SQA’s involvement inspires other Corporate Parents to dream big for young people, and I hope that Andi and Lauren’s achievements inspire other Care Experienced people to apply in the future.”

Fiona Robertson, SQA Chief Executive, said: “We are incredibly proud of what both Andi and Lauren have achieved. As a corporate parent, it’s right of us to celebrate their accomplishments, and I very much hope that their experiences will inspire the next Harvard attendees.”

Applications for the Who Cares? Scotland Harvard Summer School 2020 scholarships open at the beginning of November 2019. We encourage anyone who knows a Care-Experienced young person who would be interested in this opportunity to check out www.whocaresscotland.org